We’re Better Than That

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When a fellow farmer has a problem whether it be sickness, accident, fire or other natural disaster we farmers jump in and fully invest ourselves to assist.

I’ve heard many times how wonderful the farming community is and that the rest of the population should take heed and learn to work together and help.

I’ve been watching some infighting with farmers because of Walmart’s choice to use milk from different producers than it previously had. Walmart’s choice has left some farmers without a market which is horrible.

But, there’s more to the story – there always is.

Some are saying Walmart is starting their own dairy and adding cows to the market – False.

They are using milk from different farmers than in the past. Walmart is using milk from three suppliers. One of the suppliers is Foremost Farms – our coop. Another thing I know about Walmart’s different milk producers is that the milk has to meet certain somatic cell count specifications.

I’m hearing that Walmart is using milk from large farms only. I’m not sure that is correct. They are purchasing milk from coops and I know our coop takes milk from all sizes of farms.

I’m hearing “boycott” Walmart and whatever you do, do not buy milk there. How hypocritical is this? If you’re a dairy farmer right now you are hurting – it doesn’t matter what size, you are. By boycotting Walmart you are boycotting fellow farmers.

When we farmers accuse and attack each other we are doing the job of anti-animal activists. They can sit back and watch as our community unravels.

There is a farmer behind every drop of milk.

I was called out about a year ago when I wrote a blog that involved almond juice. I’m pretty zealous about fooling or scaring our consumers about food choices. In the process of comparing nut juice with dairy, I became very judgmental which shed a bad light on the almond farmer. One of my followers commented that I was totally criticizing a fellow farmer. They were right. I felt physically sick and proceeded to blog about my mistake and apologize.

This is happening now in mass. Large farms are being blamed for pushing out the mom and pop farms. And CAFO – or the very misnamed factory farms are still painted as evil.

In the spirt of transparency – we are a CAFO farm. We increased our size back in 2003 – we haven’t had any large increases since then. But, we did so to support three sons coming into the farm. We are a family farm. Our farm is hurting. We are all in – don’t have time to go off the farm to bring in income from other places. We’re sweating it out and working our butts off to cut costs. It’s not a fun time and it’s a worrisome time.

The bottom line in all this low milk prices is capitalism. We just don’t want to connect a family farm with the business world – impossible to separate.

I'd prefer to be referred to as those farmers who come to the rescue of other farmers, who lend a helping hand, to fill in the needed gaps of each other.

I’m just asking that we farmers stop the back biting, in house fighting. Let’s circle the wagons and try to support all farmers.

We’re better than that.

A house divided cannot stand.



O Bill Schuette, Where Art Thou?


Once, again, Bill Schuette is a no-show.

We were at the Michigan Ag Gubernatorial Forum with the other candidates that are running for governor.

There have been several forums where the gubernatorial candidates have come together to meet the public. Events to hear what we, the public, have to say and what we need.

Yet, time after time Bill is a no-show.

Makes me wonder - why?

Is he so sure of himself he doesn’t want to waste his time meeting with us?

Does he have better things to do than meet the people he wants to serve?

Does he not want contact with us because we will ask him why or why not on his decisions?

For me, it just doesn’t make sense that he, who is trying to obtain an office that is supposed to serve us, has been absent over and over again.

If you know me, you know I support Dr. Jim Hines – take a moment and check him out here: www.hines4michigan.com

My opinion – if Bill isn’t available and present now, what makes you think he will be if elected.

O Bill Schuette, Where Art Thou?



Earthly Sabatical


A week ago, I was in the ER for about 4 ½ hours.

You know how your heart does that weird flip, flop, flutter thing and then goes back to normal? Well, mine wouldn’t quit the flip, flop, fluttering – went on for several hours for days. After a phone call to the on-call line for my doctor I was told to go to the heart center right away.

EKG, X-ray and blood tests were done. The cardio doctor came in and watched the monitor and said “Yep, there. And there, Again ….”

Apparently, my heart was stopping, stuttering and starting again.

Farmer claimed it was due to his nearby presence.

After each test was the long waiting period for results.

Finally, after 4 hours the doctor came back in and said “The first blood test came back good, but we always do a second one to be sure. We are going to send you home with a Holter monitor and have you follow up with the cardiologists.”

My response was “So, I have to wait here another hour and a half for results?”

“Yes, we just want to be sure with the blood work.”

I then replied, “How about you take my blood, I leave and if there is a problem you can call me?”

She then said, “I can’t MAKE you stay.”

I answered “Then, let’s do it that way. You take the blood, I leave and you call if necessary.”

That’s what we did, and I never received the phone call and am waiting to see the specialists. I believe I will go in, spend too much money on tests and they will tell me “Don’t worry, it’s just something that happens.”

I’ve told all this – not for concern on your part because I am believing I am totally normal – well, you know, as much as I can be.

I wanted to explain why I’m writing this.

One of the reasons I didn’t want to wait for the blood test is because I had an overwhelming, crushing desire to go home. I longed, yearned, needed to be home. I had an unexplainable, what I think would be unnatural, craving for my home.

Today as I was coming home from the store I was thinking about how grateful I was to NOT be in the hospital and how over the top my desire to be home was last week.

As I pondered, my thoughts went to the fact that this isn’t really home. Heaven is my real home, I’m just having a sabbatical here on earth.

For a flittering moment I thought I really should have this same desire for heaven. But, to tell you the truth I would fight tooth and nail to stay here on this earthly vacation.

Does that make me a bad Christian? Nope.

Is God disappointed with me? I don’t think so.

The whole thought process brought me to a request of God. I asked him to please, please give me that undeniable quench for heaven when his appointed date of my departure was scheduled in his Book of Life if I had time to think about it.

I also asked that he would give that understanding to any of my loved ones. That it was a good thing, a joyful thing.

I had one more conversation with God – “Please make sure you get my scheduled home going date right.”

Better May Not Be


This morning I saw this – the beginning of what could be a great sunrise.

Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with sunrises and sunsets.

My first thought was to wait until it got better.

I’ve seen enough sunrises to know that there could be so much more than this as the sun rose.

But, something told me to take a picture right then.

So, I went out and took the picture and felt a message in the sunrise.

Here there was a beautiful, soft sunrise beginning and I almost missed the beauty in what was because of what I thought it could be – better.

How often are we waiting for better to come along that we miss what’s right in front of us?

We look past what we have in anticipation for what could come next.

An ever playing thought that I have to harness is “When this _____________, then ___________. 

Meanwhile what was just in front of me was the better I missed while waiting for more than what I thought I had.

My goal is to enjoy what I have, what’s in front of me and if better comes along, then bonus.

Thank you, God, for good, better, best and what you have chosen for us.

Stop Scare Tactic Shopping – no Food Fear Needed


I am beyond sick and tired of the lies being spread about our food safety in the US – specifically the non-GMO rubbish that runs rampant throughout our grocery stores.

Dear Consumers –

There is a project out there and its goal is to confuse and dupe you into purchasing food products that are not GMO – for their profit.

According to an article in the Genetic Literacy Project concerning a non-GMO company - Executive Director Megan Westgate told the Wall Street Journal that it is focusing on shrinking the market for existing GMO ingredients and prevent new commercial biotech crops, which would grow the business of the organic and natural products industry. 

Now, if you want to eat non-GMO food, great. Have at it.

But, if you’re purchasing it because you think it’s safer or more healthy than GMO food then please read on.

What is GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms?  Genetic engineering, also referred to as biotechnology, allows plant breeders to take a desirable trait found in nature and transfer it from one plant or organism to the plant they want to improve, as well as make a change to an existing trait in a plant they are developing. – from gmoanswers.com.

Are GMOs bad?

If you are fearful that there is something wrong with GMOs there is no reason to purchase non-GMO products. There is no scientific proof that GMOs are harmful.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) issued a report confirming the safety of GMOs and also their compositional and nutritional equivalency with non-GMO foods – from gmoanswers.com

American Medical Association, World Health Organization, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization are other organizations that deem GMOs safe.

Recently, Genetic Literacy Project reports that GMOs provides substantial health benefits and yield increase in crops. With GMO corn there is a reduction in mycotoxins, which are toxic and carcinogenic for humans and animals.

The mycotoxins weaken the plant's "immune system" and leave it more susceptible to fungal development.  Mycotoxins remain a persistent health threat and studies have shown a correlation between mycotoxins and certain cancers.

I’ve created a cheat sheet for you if you still want non-GMO food.


These are the only GMO foods available in the US.

The following are not even available as a non-GMO, yet the slick tricky label is plastered on many items.


As a farmer we use GMO seed. We plant the seed. We walk through the fields with GMO plants. Our kids, dogs and grandkids run through the fields. Do you really think we would if we had any fear of a health issue?


People are starving.

The world is growing.

Do we want to move forward with technology and feed our communities or do we want to scare people into spending money they work so hard for on unnecessary expenses?

Here are a few other sites that explain and report much more than covered here.










Oatmeal Cake with Carmel Frosting


Preheat oven to 350 - if using a cake pan, 325 if using a cookie sheet

Soak 1 C Oats with 1 1/4 C boiling water for 20 minutes. Cover the bowl with another plate while soaking.

1/2 C softened butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar

Add and mix:
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Add and mix:
1 1/2 C flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamom
1/4 t nutmeg

Add the oatmeal and mix well.
Pour into a greased pan and bake
*10 - 12 minutes in a cookie sheet
*30 minutes in a cake pan

* I am horrible at time for baking. I watch it and take it out when done, so keep an eye on the cake while baking and don't over bake. You can tell if a cake is done if when you insert a toothpick it comes out clean.

In a sauce pan bring to a boil and boil one minute:
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
4 T shortening
1 T light corn syrup
1/2 C milk

Let it cool a bit and then add 1 t vanilla.

When the mixture starts to thicken pour over cake and carefully spread to the edges.

For the cookie sheet cake I made one and half times the recipe.


Somewhere Along the Way . . .

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When you go to the hardware store to purchase a drill you really don’t want the drill, you want the hole that the drill will create.

When you go to the grocery store to purchase a gallon of milk you don’t really want a gallon of milk, you want your thirst satisfied.

When you go to the pharmacy you don’t want the drug, you want your illness/pain relieved.

With all and the latest school shootings we say we want to keep the violence out of our schools. What we really want is responsible kids that value life; co-exist together with respect, kindness and compassion.

Somewhere in the past, along the way in life we learned about the drill, milk and medicine.

Somewhere along the way the value of life has been left behind – lost on life’s journey.

Somewhere along the way we have determined that respect must be earned. It seems the effort to receive respect has gotten harder and more arduous through the years.

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Somewhere along the way kindness has been forgotten. It was laid down when our hands were full and busy and forgotten to be picked back up.

Somewhere along the way compassion was passed to organizations that went overseas or fed the local homeless.

If our hands are full and busy showing value, respect, kindness and compassion to others there will be no room for devices that kill. Let’s start filling hearts and hands.


Lessons from the Farm


1.     Get out of bed in the morning and get going. Getting started on chores early helped keep problems at bay. “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it” –  Richard Whately

2.     Finish what you start. “It’s too hard, I’m too tired” fell on deaf ears here.There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure” – Colin Powell.

3.     Take good care of the critters. God entrusted them to us and our livelihood comes from it. Their needs come first. Feed for the cows came before the latest and greatest shoe style. “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” -  Proverbs 12:10 (NKJV)

4.     Respect and help the employees. Once again, God brought us good people. They come first. We work WITH them. Their time off comes first. “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled” – Anne M. Mulcahy

5.     If you drop it – pick it up. If you open it – close it. If you use it – replenish it. “Accountability breeds response-ability” – Steven Covey

6.     If you didn’t drop it – pick it up. If you didn’t open it – close it. If you didn’t use it – replenish it anyway.If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders” - Abigail Van Buren

7.     If there is a challenge, ask for help and learn for the next time. “Be the kind of person who dares to face life's challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them” 
- Roy T. Bennett

8.     Two half-filled 5 gallon pails are easier to carry than one full one. “Being wise is better than being strong; yes, knowledge is more important than strength” – Proverbs 24:5

9.     Spending an hour to get a calf to drink not only keeps the calf alive but helps develop perseverance.Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did” – Newt Gingrich

10.  Physically struggling to the point of exhaustion can be rewarded by the miracle of life when you finally get the calf delivered. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave” - Calvin Coolidge

11.  Working in the rain, eating dust and dirt is rewarded by seeing the new leaf of a corn plant break through the ground. “Farming is a profession of hope” – Brian Brett

To Whom It May Concern


To Whom It Concerns,

There’s a crisis going on right under our noses and many people have no idea.

Farms are selling out; farmer’s dreams are being auctioned off and livelihoods are washing away with the tears of generational farmers.

I’m not sure who will be reading this or what I really expect to happen but I need to pour out my heart so I can see straight.

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We are dairy farmers. My husband is 3rd generation and one of our four sons is hoping to continue. Hoping is the key word here.

The price we receive for our milk has been cut drastically over the last few years. It has come back a bit but well under the amount we need to break even let alone make a profit. The experts are predicting at least one more year of these farm-breaking prices.

As dairy farmers, we are used to the roller coaster prices but this dip has been deeper and longer than ever before with no relief in sight.

While our income has been slashed our production, costs are the same or more. We’ve trimmed down and cut back on everything possible.

Some reading this think “oh, that’s too bad” and never give it another thought. Some think “sell out and find another job, no big deal”.

That is comparable to telling a pro-golfer he can never pick up a golf club again, or a race car driver that he will never sit in a car seat again or a mother that she isn’t allowed to care for her children ever again.


I truly believe a farmer is created. There is a seed dropped into the heart of a farmer at the time of conception that God puts there. We were created to care for his critters and tend his land.

Who else will work from before sunup to well past sundown? How many would be willing to work in a cloud of dust and dirt all day? How many professions require being covered in manure, silage juice and cow slime?

Farmers put their animals and farm first. Vacations are what we read about and hear from others. A half day’s work is done before church on Sundays. Ball games, drives in the country, leisurely strolls in the park are foreign to farmers. Oh, there may be a rare event that just happens to fall in between making hay and harvesting corn that can be attended.

Get togethers are always worked around milking times, planting and harvest. And many a supper out has been canceled due to something breaking down at the farm.

Knuckles are bloodied from slipping wrenches, shins are bruised from a well-placed cow hoof, and stitches are the norm when working on that one dang piece of machinery that you are trying to hold together because there just isn’t enough money to replace it.


Add freezing cold temperatures and blowing snow that clogs the road before you can even get one pass done to the mix to make taking care of the farm even harder.

Everything waits for chores – Christmas morning, birthday celebrations are a couple that are put on hold until the last cow is fed or milked.

I have seen three of my four sons eat dirt, clean pieces of hay out of their eyes, cough up dust, and have disks in their backs blown. I have jumped in tractors and choppers to help keep them awake so the field can be done before the rain hits.

Months and months of work and money can be put in the ground only to not receive enough rain or too much rain and lose the whole thing.

Why are prices so low and farming so tough? What’s causing it? Personally, I’m not sure. I’ve heard that the European nations lifting their quota system and too much milk on the market are a couple.

Then let’s add in the fear mongering companies that try to scare the consumer into purchasing their high-priced products. A certain company is slapping their non-GMO sticker on everything that is placed in the grocery store whether or not it could possibly be a GMO product. And there is absolutely no scientific or medical proof that there is anything wrong with GMO foods.

Here we farmers have learned to grow food on less ground, with a smaller footprint, with higher yields and we are getting punished because someone is creating a false premise just to forward their own agenda.

Milk alternatives are slickly packaged and placed side by side with dairy. Some consumers have no idea there is no dairy in these products. I have NO problem with using other food sources for another drink but please don’t piggy back on our dairy. Don’t market that the alternative to dairy is healthier. It’s different.

We are coming from a place of discouragement, exhaustion, and depression. There is a thought that if you are honest and work hard you will be rewarded for your efforts. This is not and has not been happening for farmers in a long time.

We’re tired, sore and quite frankly some of us are scared spit less because we have no answer to the problem. We aren’t even sure what caused the problem and have no idea how to fix it.

We are praying for wisdom and guidance and some feel their prayers are falling on deaf ears.

At a time in our lives when we should be pulling back and slowing down we are working as hard as ever to fill the void that unaffordable employees could fill.

Part of me wants to do everything possible for my son to succeed as the fourth generation. Part of me wants to tell him to run – as fast and as far as he can from the farm.

But then, I realize that seed that started in his great grandfather and before has sprouted and is growing inside him.


Trusting God, seeking wisdom is our first and last hope.

If you eat, wear clothing, sit on furniture, take medicine then you have farmers to thank for that. Considering life without farmers would be non-existent, please take some time to pray for us.

If anyone reading this has any constructive, credible suggestions, please share.

While I have gotten this off my chest it is still in my heart.