Saturday, August 16, 2014

Finding the Differences


It is amazing to me the vast geographic differences we have in our country. We truly do live in America the Beautiful.  These differences were brought to our attention again on July 23rd when our farm was honored to be included in the Where’s the Beef tour for the National Association of Extension Agents.
Carla Gilmore Welcoming the tour attendees
 It was so nice to meet people involved in agriculture from all over our great country.  A total of 19 states were represented on the tour. 
Tables all ready for lunch
Gizmo Angus was the lunch stop, Ronnie and I along with Carla and Jacob cooked up some Beef Brisket, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans, Rolls and sweet Tea and topped if off with some banana pudding for desert. 
We asked some of our local FFA youth (Mitchell Singleton, Trever Singleton, Haley Weaver and Courtney Weekley) to help us out with serving the meal along with my good friend Barbara Reynolds they did a wonderful job getting everyone fed. 
Thankful for great FFA programs and willing FFA members!

After lunch attendees loaded up on trailers for a quick tour of the farm. Ronnie drove one of the tractors while Mike manned the other Jacob and I were the tour guides on the wagons.  
Mitchell handled the overflow
One of the things that was of great interest to a number of folks from the northern states was the shade screens located in our pastures. 

 Many of these folks had never seen shade screens before, and wanted to take pictures.  I started thinking about our trip to Montana several years back, when I saw my first calving shed, and yes I took pictures.  
We don’t have much need for calving sheds in Florida but they sure don’t have much need for shade screens in Montana.  The vast differences we have in environment and how each of us adapts to our individual environments is a testament to the tenacity of the farmer.  It is also a testament to the adaptability of our cattle.  One of the things I talked about on the tour was that we purchased cattle as embryos from Montana, we have also purchased cattle from out west.  The ET calves develop right along with the rest of our cattle you can’t tell much difference between western bred vs. Florida bred.  We have found that older cattle need some time to acclimate to their new and warmer environment. 

Over the years we have traveled to a number of farms and gone on various tours, we have never failed to learn something that will be beneficial to our operation.  No matter where we have gone we have always found that the people in production agriculture share so many of the same core values.  

No matter the differences in how we approach this industry the one constant we have found is the people.  The people that have chosen agriculture as a way of life are the salt of the earth.  I am so thankful that God has given us the opportunity to spend each day working and caring for His land.  Wherever your day takes you and however it ends, chances are it began with a farmer.




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Farm Sign

Well it has been a long time coming but we have finally put up and new farm sign.  I wish I had taken a picture of the old sign to show how it had faded out over the years but as usual I didn't think of it till the old sign had already been replaced with the new.  I tried my best to get the grandbabies to pose for me in front of the new sign it must have something to do with being two and 1/2 but the picture with the twins didn't work out all that well.  The first picture I actually got both the girls I just couldn't get them both on the same side of the old water tank.

The second photo Sydney had decided she wanted to come and see the camera.
Then Ella decided she wanted to do flips!
This project gave me a whole new respect for photographers!  Anyway we have a new farm sign and we have two really cute granddaughters that obviously could care less! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I am a farmer.

Hello, my name is Carla, Mrs. Debbie has mentioned me a few times in her past posts and I wanted to introduce myself. I am the daughter-in-law. The birther of the grand-babies. The city girl as my MIL has called me. I want to start writing some entries for our blog and it won't always be about cows, but about agriculture in general, about farmers, maybe even some recipes. Things I have learned while embracing this farm life. I wanted to give you a little insight about me first, so when you read my future post, you will understand where I may be coming from. 

 I didn't grow-up on a farm or knowing much about agriculture. I didn't participate in 4H or FFA.  I did, however, marry into a farming family. A cattle raising family. A family that has multiply generations of 4H and FFA. I married a farmer. 

 Now for those that have known me for many, many years, know I wanted out of this small town. I wanted a city life. I wanted to live in Birmingham or Atlanta or Jacksonville. I wanted to work for an advertising firm. I was determined that once I graduated from college I was moving. Well I moved out of my small town, Cantonment, FL, and went north about 12 miles to an even smaller town, Molino.  I got married roughly one month after my college graduation to a man that has a family business and a farm locally. A man that wasn't leaving his small town for a city.

For nearly nine years I have been a member of farm family. At the beginning of our relationship, and really for the first 6 or so years of our marriage, I wasn't all that involved in the farm. I would go out to the farm sometimes to check cows with Jacob, but to me I was looking at the same cow over and over. They were all big, they all smelled and they were all black. It wasn't until about 3.5 years ago that I started taking an interest. We got involved in our local Young Farmers and Ranchers program and then we had our babies. Twin girls. I decided then that I needed to embrace the agriculture life. I knew I wanted the girls to grow up on the farm. For them to love and appreciate agriculture, and to respect their elders, the animals, the weather, and the land. So now I embrace agriculture. 

Over the past year and half Jacob and I have served on the Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Group for the state. It has opened my eyes to so much in farming and ranching. I am excited about it now. I have started spending more and more time at our farm learning about AIing, palpating, genetics, what makes one cow more appealing then another and so much more. 

That is just a snapshot of who I am and how I got to where I am.. I did not grow up on a farm, but now, I am a farmer. 

I look forward to learning more and sharing it with you. Until then I leave you with this:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gizmo 2014 Pathfinders

I went out to the mailbox today and found something exciting from the Angus association, the 2014 Pathfinder Report.  Last year after over twenty years of breeding Angus cattle we had our first two cows receive the prestigious title of Pathfinder.  This year we are able to claim three!  You might ask why this is so special.  Following are the guidelines utilized in determining Pathfinder status:

1.       To qualify initially, a cow must have produced at least three calves with an average weaning ratio of 105 and these calves must have been evaluated with at least nine other herd mates.

2.       Beginning with her first calf, all calves must have been recorded in AHIR.  No irregular weanings or calves by commercial sires are used in this analysis.

3.       A weaning weight must have been processed on a calf born after June 30, 2012.

4.       A cow must have had her first calf at an age equal to or less than the average age of the herd at first calving, plus 30 days.

5.       To qualify for subsequent listings in the report, she must maintain a regular calving interval, which is determined as follows:

                 30                 + 365 = Maximum Calving Interval
               Number of Calving Intervals

The three cows from the Gizmo herd are:

RB Bridget 831 C11 5X25   Reg#16099987

This is a cow we purchased as a bred heifer back in 2007.  We already owned a maternal sister RB Bridget 658 C11 111 and had been watching the old C11 cow do everything right for a number of years.  This was a different twist to the genetic line that we felt was going to work really well.  We haven't regretted the purchase, her 2012 bull calf out of OCC Juneau 807J is currently being used as the clean up bull on our 2012 heifers.  Her first heifer calf out of our 6149 bull 1046 is doing a nice job for us.  She has a super nice Final Answer bull calf on her side right now and was AI'd back to SAV Pioneer 7301.  This is a powerful cow family that we will continue to use in our program.

Gizmo Pride 525 065 0125   Reg#15394906 

A cow bred in our program, and one we are really proud of. This cow has produced 6 calves with an average weaning ratio of 105.  Needless to say she is a nice cow. Now you might ask does she pass on this phenomenal maternal ability to her progeny.  This cow has taken AI everytime she was bred AI, every calf is solid and her daughters seem to be performing just like their mamma.  Let me introduce you to her first daughter!

Gizmo Pride 811 525 430  Reg#16358620

Every year it seems that one calf catches my eye, 811 was that calf in 2008 she was the first heifer calf out of the 525 cow.

Gizmo Pride 811 525 830 prior to weaning

811 has now qualified for Pathfinder status on her third calf!  Needless to say we are very proud of this cow family and their performance. The first calf out of 811 Gizmo Pride 1007 811 8005 was calved when 811 was 23 months old and ratioed 114 at weaning. I really think you’re going to see more of this cow family make it to this elite status! 

The dam of 525 Fink Pride 065 6198 LB 
Reg  13847351   was not what I would call a pretty cow.  She was what I would call a darn good one.  In twelve years in our program she had 10 calves and was flushed twice, the first flush gave us 14 viable embryos out of our herd bull Coleman EXT 6149 Reg# 15730734.  On her second flush we were rewarded with 32 viable embryos out of SAV Final Answer 0035 Reg# 13592905
  We have 44 eggs out of this cow that is like gold in the bank!  We are going to be able to keep this line of cattle going for some time.  When you discover something that works you want to use more of it.  This may very well be the year we decide to flush 525.  We currently have three 525 daughters working in the herd we are finding they all are very much like their mamma breeding AI the first time then making a super nice cow.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is Agriculture Sustainable

My husband and I just returned from the NCBA (Nation Cattlemen's Beef Association) convention in Nashville Tennessee.  The buzz word for the convention was sustainability and what the definition means to the future of the cattle industry.  In ecology, sustainability is how biological systems endure and remain diverse and productive.  While I was contemplating my theories concerning sustainability, I receiveda a phone call from my daughter-in-law.  She was catching me up on some of the things I had missed during our absence, one was that our son Jacob had spoken during a public forum at the Escambia County Commissioners meeting.  This wasn't a suprise to me; Jacob has been working since the 4-H youth voted to see the Langley Bell 4-H center to insure that these young people receive what they were promised.  This conversation made me think even more about my new buzz word.  Farm and Ranch families comprise two percent of the U.S. population.  Twenty one million American workers (15% of total U.S. workforce) produce, process, and sell the nation's food and fiber.  Two percent provide for the nutritional needs of our great country.

In a letter to the editor Grover C. Robinson, IV Escambia County Commissioner District 4 stated "The Extension Service, a joint participation by Escambia County and University of Florida under IFAS, provides significant services to the community, both the traditional ag as well as other environmental services for the greater community.  The challenges are, while our traditional agriculture based in the northern two-thirds of this county, the other services provided create benefits to the 80 percent of the population that lives below Nine Mile Road."

I certainly don't disagree with commissioner Robinson's view on the challenges or the percentage of population served.  These numbers are very much in line with the previously mentioned percentages of 2% farmers/ranchers and 15% additional workforce that provide food and fiber for the rest of us.  So back to my buzz word, how do we sustain agriculture for future generations?  Are we going to ignore the few because they are the minority?  I don't know about you,but I like to eat!  Folks, we need young people to step into production agriculture if we are to be sustainable.  We need facilities that can be utilized to teach young people how to care for cattle, chickens, pigs, goats and sheep.  the Stefani Road facility has much to offer the youth of Escambia County.  Heck when I was a kid it would hae been a great location for a large animal program.  However, that was when I was a 4-H member back in the early 70's.  It might have even worked when my son's were in 4-H in the late 80's and early 90', but this property now sits in the middle of a residential area it is not the right location for a large animal program.  I have no issue with the new building to be constructed on Stefani Road.  This building has been part of the plan since the original MOU which indicated that The Escambia County Commission would contribute $1.5 million in local option sales tax for a new 4-H building with the plans subject to the approval of the Extension Service.  The issue is not the building but that Extension Service has gone over their very generous 1.5$ million dollar budget.  Now they want to tap into the funds that were promised to the youth in the same MOU for a new livestock facility.

I have been a 4-H member, a 4-H leader and have served on the Escambia County 4-H Foundation.  I believe in 4-H and the programs it provides for the youth of our county.  I also feel that the current leadership of 4-H has lost focus with regard to one sector of the youth that they are suppose to serve, the ones in that 2% that want to grow food for our nation and our world.  My husband and I both grew up south of Nine Mile Road.  We met in 4-H.  The only exposure we had to large animals was through our 4-H experience.  That experience lit the fire in us to raise cattle and become agriculture advocates.  We need facilities that can insure the fire is lit in our youth.  We need IFAS to consider the 2% and our future.  We need property and facilities in a location suitable for this education.