Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anything a Boy Can Do A Girl Can Do.......As Well.

A few days ago we had a fellow cattle breeder and friend stop by for coffee.  It's always nice to have these visits.  During our visit we talked about how long and cold the winter had been, when we thought we would get on the land to plant the crops and how the new calves were developing.  Along with the discussion of crops and pasture and moisture the topic of land and what it was renting for or selling for in our area came up.
Now your probably wondering what this has to do with boys and girls and their abilities.  Our friend made the comment that they had rented a piece of land for a number of years, land that had at one time belonged to his grandfather.  The land had recently come up for sale and they made an offer.  The offer wasn't accepted and they decided not to offer more.  That's fair enough, farming does have to be looked at as a business.  But then he added "If I had a son  that was interested in farming instead of a daughter, there is no way we would have let someone else get that land".  Wait a minute, did I just hear correctly?  Now I know that his daughter isn't interested in making farming her career but why should it make a difference if it's your son or daughter.

Our daughters Crystal and Stacy have played a role in our farming enterprise from day one.   
The each owned their own cattle before they reached their first birthdays.  They were by our sides daily helping out where they could.  Now that they have grown up and are not living at home they still continue to own cattle, help with marketing and advertising and with Stacy being closer she often spends her weekends and holiday time helping with work at the farm or at the show and sales. 

Crystal also plans her Thanksgiving holiday to come to one of the Canadian shows with us.

We never treated our daughters differently than if we had 2 sons.  OK maybe we did.  I don't know if we would have wanted our sons to be out feeding hay in their Carhart coveralls with pink rollers in the hair, because they had a ballet recital to go to later that morning.  Rob certainly is stronger and has abilities that me and the girls don't have.  We might do the job differently or take a little longer, but the job does get done, and we always gave the girls all the opportunity to learn and be a part of the farm.
Our farming operation is not large.  We own 60 purebred cows and 185 acres of land along with some rented land.  It's not enough to sustain 2 or 3 families but it is ours and what we are building today is for our children............our daughters.  We hope that they will continue to play a role in Agriculture and even more specifically High Country Cattle.  It was never a thought that we wouldn't pass on what we had built to the next generation just because they were female.

We're proud that they have their careers, that they love fashion, fine dining, shopping and all the things that girls usually love.  But we also love that they will walk through the muck and grab on to a slimy new born calf, drive a tractor, or haul a load of cattle to the pasture.   
If Agriculture and the family farm is going to be sustainable we need both our sons and daughters to want to continue in this field and we need to support them any way that we can. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Treasure Hunt

A few years back we thought that we would try to find a Simmental heifer in the US and flush her to HC Power Drive 88H as there was no qualified semen available to come to Canada.  We contacted a fellow that had some Power Drive semen for sale, (better get the semen before you buy the heifer).  After visiting with him for a while he said" Why don't you just buy the semen and flush one of your donors to him?"  We explained the situation with the semen not being qualified for Canada.  He suggested we contact his semen distributor.  After several phone calls we discovered a reasonable amount of semen that was available to come to Canada.  Jackpot!  Within a few weeks we had secured the remaining amount of semen that was Canadian qualified.  Fast forward a few years and we now have several outstanding HC Power Drive daughters in our herd. 

HC Power Drive 88H

We're looking forward to flushing our new donor's  CAJS Elegant Force W24 to him in the near future.  There was Power Drive semen sold in the Denver 2011 sale that brought $800/straw.

In the spring of 2010 I suggested to Rob that we buy a few straws of PVF-BF Black JokerS36.  

Again an older Black Simmental bull but one that is leaving some tremendous daughters, and 2 of our best bull  calves this year are Joker sons.

RJY First Date 1W - Black Joker Daughter

We checked our inventory and had 4 straws in the tank.  We thought that was enough for our smaller herd.  And there was lots of semen available so we didn't make the purchase.  Again fast forward to the spring of 2011.  We were browsing through he AI catalogs deciding on which sires to use this year.  We added Black Joker to the list.  When we phoned in our order we were surprised to hear that Joker was sold out and we were about the 10th person to call looking for some.  Now what?  Again we started our search on the web and began making some calls.  The treasure hunt had started again.  I'm not sure who has been looking out for us, but again we were able to find 30 straws of Black Joker........qualified for Canada.............the last in existence.  Jackpot! 

Through lots of phone calls and some very cooperative staff at the semen distribution centre our semen arrived 18 hours prior to breeding 3 of our donors, SS Ebony's Dreamdate SS27, CAJS Elegant Force W24, and CDY Signature Black 2N. Nothing like cutting it close. We now have 33 Black Joker Embryo's, a few were implated fresh, a few will be the start of Crystal's US Simmental herd, and the rest we'll just have to see what happens with them. It's nice to know you can get lucky once in a while.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Road Trip - Learning Day.

Sorry for the long time between blog but things have been really busy around here for the last few weeks.  Since the last posting we have:
  • Finished calving
  • Sold all the bulls
  • Bought a bull ( which can be a long process)
  • Bought a new tractor (old one died)
  • Replaced our furnace ( A very cold Friday night until the service man arrived)
  • Have almost 1/2 the herd bred on the first cycle
  • Set up 4 cows for transplant (April 14)
  • And delivered all but one bull.
These were just the things that we squeezed into our days along with our full time jobs and all of the wonderful winter weather we have had this year.

Yesterday was delivery day for 3 of the bulls in central Alberta.  Since I wasn't able to attend our bull sale day in Red Deer I decided to  leave all of my laundry and house cleaning for a day and tag along with Rob.  Our frist stop was at Moose Farms.  We were greeted by Jerry and his daughter Emily (8).  While the guys got to discussing calving and markets, Emily gave me a tour of the farm. 

First stop the chicken house where we found her brothers hens and the one she caught in the local Chicken Scramble, next we were of to see Granny her first cow who had calved that morning.  Then there was the pen of cows that had either lost a calf or dad just doesn't like anymore.  You certainly can learn a lot about a farm by talking with the kids.  Emily had to go to school the day of the sale, but seemed to approve of Grandpa's choice, SLY Overdrive 5X

Similar truck to the one at the Hogg Farm
Next we headed south east to the Hogg Farm.  They have been in the Agriculture business for 107 years.  At the gate we were meet with a 1936 truck with Hogg Bros. painted on the side.

Here we met Presley (7).  Presley was playing outside with her stuffed sheep
and was having a hard time keeping him clean.  By the time we had a good visit in the sunshine on the front porch Presley had used a roll or two of toilet paper to clean him up.  When we went to unload RJY Austin 9X, she came along as she is the gate keeper and responsible for watching it when the big guys need to go into the pasture.

Further south we travelled again to the Hannah Farm.  This is another well established farm family.  Dad was ready to cut back and lighten the work load, but son Wade is enthusiastic about the cattle business and has added 100 cows to the operation.  Thus the need for a few new bulls this spring. SLY PowerPlus 2X should be a good addition to their program.

We ended our day with a great Canada AAA steak dinner on the way home.  We seen some new country, had great visits with each of our purchasers and learned a bit about the people that purchased our bulls.  It was a great day building new relationships with both the younger and older  members of each family.  Thank you for supporting our program and having confidence in our cattle.