We're All in This Together

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I can become easily annoyed at something, especially if I don’t understand the reason behind the something. Add to that having a bad day or being tired or whatever and it just makes it worse. 

We received a phone call from a Right to Farm person requesting some information due to a complaint. I choose to believe this person was just like me. They didn’t like the situation and just wanted it fixed and fixed now.

The complaint was that we spread manure too thick and it smelled too bad in a field behind their home. I agree manure stinks and I’m not too happy when it’s in the fields surrounding my house either.

Spreading manure – natural fertilizer is a necessary good thing. Cows poop and we have to take care of it. Manure is an excellent natural fertilizer for our fields.

The Right to Farm guy came out and went over the records that we keep and went to the field with Son#2 and found no problem. We are following the rules and have done things correctly.

We follow the National Dairy F. A. R. M. rules. (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) and we have been MAEAP verified - The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program which is voluntary.

We feel strongly that we must be good stewards of this land and care givers to God’s critters.

This year has been a stellar year for setbacks and challenges. Having to take the time to put together the records, meet with the FARM person, travel to the field was all time that could/should have been used planting corn. And, it would have been nice to connect with someone lives near one of our fields.

Having said all of that, I would like to make a suggestion to anyone who has an issue with anything farm, please contact the farmer. We are more than happy to help clarify, or even correct a situation if it is within our power to do so.

For example, a few years back a small amount of manure splashed out of the manure spreader at a stop sign on an uphill corner. The person living there found our number and called us and left a message. Meanwhile, when the tractor driver made his trip back to the barn he saw the spill – until then he didn’t know about it. He called Son #2 and he and others went to the place with shavings and cleaned up the minor spill.

The neighbor called back and said they were amazed at how quickly and efficiently we took care of the problem. We told them we appreciated their communication.

We aren’t able to go door to door to all houses within smelling range of our fields but if we could, (and we’ve had this conversation with many) we would tell them we are willing to work with them and special occasions. If you are having a party or get-together, let us know and if at all possible we will avoid your area – whether it be hauling manure or working up the field. Our goal is to farm as efficiently as we can while having great relationships with our community.

While I’m at it and trying to explain a few things, here are a couple other complaints we’ve heard and other farmers have heard. Maybe I could clarify it here.

“Why do you have to wait until the evening to work in the fields? The tractor is too noisy.”

The answer: We don’t wait. Sometimes we have been busy all day long doing other things that had to be done. There are never enough hours in the day for farmers. If we have a time deadline or trying to beat the weather we will keep going even if it is late at night.

“Why do you have to be on the main roads, can’t you travel the back roads?”

Answer – we do as much as possible. Not all farmers have their fields connected in one area. When we have to travel to another field off the main farm we take the back roads when we can. Unfortunately, there are a few fields that are either on a main road or you can only get to them from a main road.

Those are just a couple.

We wished we had the opportunity to address each and every person and question when it comes to why, what, when and where with our farm. That is one reason we do farm tours.

I’m pretty sure most farmers are trying to do the best they can with their farming operations. And we all want to be a community that can live together in harmony.

We can’t fix what we don’t know – so let us know and we will do our very best to fix it.

Somethings just can’t be fixed – we will do our best to explain and try to find a solution.

We’re all in this together.