The ‘two weeks in one blog’ trend continues, and might for the next month or so. I have launched a new “Farmacy Dinner Series” and that will take all of my time and then some to pull off. My goal for the project is to:

A) Cook a feast centered around all of our meat offerings and other local farmers’ bounties. My friend, Kate, and I wrote the menu yesterday. We’ll have five appetizers, soup, salad, traditional sourdough bread, seven side dishes, and one featured steak. Oh yeah, and dessert!

B) Give my audience an in-depth look into what they are eating, how it was farmed or caught, and why it is sustainable, delicious, and nutritious.

C) Start a discussion about farming, past, present, and future. How we used to farm, where we are now, and where the future of farming should head if we want to keep any semblance of soil health. It will also include a keynote speaker from the local area who specializes in the arena of health care. When I say “health care,” I don’t mean some administrator of pharmaceuticals or completely “Western-medicine-only” doctor. These health influencers are bucking the old system and are shedding light on the health epidemic in this country and what it will really take to bring true health to the population as a whole.

If you are reading this and you live near Cedar Rapids or Des Moines, please check out the event. Bring a spouse, a friend or family member or anybody you love. I promise you will walk away pleasantly full of food and knowledge! Here is the Eventbrite link for more details.

Did anybody see the huge beef recall from a Cargill plant this week? I have so many thoughts and emotions regarding these recalls. My first reaction is anger that this happens…often. And then I ask, “does anybody care?” I’m sure the dozens of sick consumers and the family of the deceased are utterly outraged, but does anybody else really care? The fact that this happens over and over, with no explanation, really, is unacceptable. If the USDA and FSIS are here to protect us, then they are really bad at their jobs. Let’s cut the regulators some slack and maybe we blame it on the processors. I mean, somebody has to process all of these confinement animals and feed the world. They have to run hard and fast to keep up. The workers are underpaid and overworked and probably hate their jobs. Seems like a recipe for disaster. Let’s cut the processors some slack and maybe we blame it on the producers. These feedlots are a breeding ground for disease and despair. An unhealthy environment, with an unhealthy feed ration, and a barrage of antibiotics, hormones, and other artificial and chemical stimulants to keep the four-legged animals alive. Oh yeah, let’s not leave out our 2-legged friends: the chicken and turkey. They get to be mass-produced in the same or worse conditions as their four-legged friends.

I hate to say I told you so, but….I told you so. Remember a few blogs back when I was flying over the Carolinas and I saw all those hog and chicken confinements and their manure lagoons? They were precariously close to rivers and streams. Well, throw a hurricane and multiple feet of rainwater at it and see what happens. I saw some aerial photos of the disaster. I have no words and you won’t either.

On the farm, we had a good couple weeks. That hurricane forced high pressure over the Midwest for almost 10 days. As cliché as it sounds, we truly make hay when the sun shines. That may sound like a given on any farm, but not necessarily for us. We usually don’t risk the weather chances of getting rain on our hay so we cut and wrap all of our forage. I’ve documented the process in the past but the quick version is: Mow one day, rake, bale, wrap the next. Wait two weeks and the bales are perfectly fermented and ready to use. Cabbage into sauerkraut…and cattle like sauerkraut! So we mowed 125 acres of our last crop, which I had known was going to be a huge undertaking. The great part about a week of sunshine is we were able to skip the wrapping and fermenting part. That’s almost half the workload and a bonus is we can leave them in the field for a bit to cure. Next week as it dries up and we have more time, we can take a few days and move them to concrete, stack them three high, and leave them for primo feed in the dead of winter. That is always the best feeling as a farmer: Going into winter with more than enough high-quality feed.

The other good news is that our fall-bred heifers are starting to calve. We have four on the ground and 11 more to go. Not a big herd, but really good quality stock and it will be great to mix-up the calving load by starting a fall herd. That also keeps us in beef supply more evenly throughout the year. A win-win for sure.

I think I’ll put a bow on these two weeks, even though I probably missed something, but we all have busy lives so I try to respect that.

Your Farmer,

Nick