Sunday, February 28, 2010


    Michigan Dairy Goat Society!

MDGS is our state dairy goat society.  Our family has been a member of this society for about 4 years now.  Every spring we attend the Spring Goat Day held it the State University where there are several seminars on goat health, management, youth activities and more.  Last year I entered a short story, research paper and poem in the writing contest and goat cheese and macaroni and cheese (made with goat milk and goat cheese) in the cooking contests.  I got 1st or 2nd with all of them.

This year I am entering in the Michigan Dairy Goat Society Youth Representative competition.  I sent in a list of accomplishments/resume and just had my interview today.  We'll find out the results in just less than 2 weeks.  I can't wait!  I thought the interview went very well, and just so you all know, I mentioned my blog.  :)

No more babies to report yet...but we are waiting on a few!  Have a great rest of your weekend!


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Alrighty, Candie kidded with twin does yesterday ready for some pictures?  They (the babies) weren't exactly what I had in mind, but I'm actually quite happy with how they turned out.  As you may remember, Candie is an Nubian/LaMancha cross and she was bred with an Alpine.

SS:  Amy's Pride AR Heartbreaker
                   S: Alpine Valley Prestissimo
2010 Kids:
                   D: Autumn-Acres Sweet Candace
 DD:Autumn-Acres Miss Mandessia

The first doe was very Alpine looking....I'm keeping her.
The second was very Nubian looking, but her ears were only as long as an Alpines ears.
Here they are together!  The Nubian is actually really nice, but I really want to stay away from the Nubians since we are sticking with Alpines and LaManchas.
So that's pretty much the jist of it here.  Other than lots of snow, nothing else is new around here! :)  We've been getting fresh snow almost every day around here.  The snow is really wet, so it's making roads turn into ice.  Makes me love trucks more and more! 

Friday, February 26, 2010


Just letting you all know....Cammy delivered a nice big single doe yesterday.  Being a 2 year old and in good condition I was displeased with her for only having a single, but what can I do?  :D  Oh well, can't do anything about it now.  Anyway, so our boy/girl ratio is doing great....8 girls and 5 boys.  We have a total of 13 kids and have had 7 does freshen (not so great ratio, lol).

SS:  CH Pearl Valley Golden Ace *B
                   S: Granted-Wishes PVA Ridiculous
2010 Kids:
                   D: The Camillia
 DD:The Asher-Acres Rose Hannah
I think Candie is going to go ready for some pictures.  These babies are going to be funky!  Their mother is a Nubian/Lamancha cross and because our Lamancha buck was out of commission when Candie was in heat....she got bred to and Alpine!  So yeah, I can't wait to see what these all look like. :D

Today is also Abigail's 15th birthday!  Gettin' old!  :D  Happy birthday girl, I love you!


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Just a few things I wanted to quick mention....

1. A few giveaways!  The first one is over @ Down On the Farm!  Click HERE for more info!
   The second one is over at Sharing His Love. Check 'er out HERE!  Both very neat giveaways!

2. I totally forgot to post the lines of the kids born here they are!

Hannah's kids:
SS:  CH Pearl Valley Golden Ace *B
                   S: Granted-Wishes PVA Ridiculous
2010 Kids:
                   D:The Asher-Acres Rose Hannah
 DD:Autumn-Acres Kitty Nibbles

Gala's kids:
SS:  Amy's Pride AR Heartbreaker
                   S: Alpine Valley Prestissimo
2010 Kids:
                   D:The Galactorehea
 DD:Autumn-Acres T Gatlin
Alithia's kids
SS:  Amy's Pride AR Heartbreaker
                   S: Alpine Valley Prestissimo
2010 kids
                    D:The Alithia    
DD:Autumn-Acres Kitty Nibbles
Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hannah, Gala & Alithia

Yesterday morning I was disappointed when I woke up and found about 8 inches of snow on the ground and the majority of schools closed.  Yet it was a blessing in disguise as we had three does deliver during the day.  Thankfully it wasn't that cold out, just around 30 degrees all day.

The first doe to deliver was Hannah.  At first she wasn't pushing much so Abigail and I packed all of our schoolwork up and headed out to the barn.  We only got through about 2 pages of reading "The Red Badge of Courage" when we noticed Hannah starting to really push and getting no where.  This is about when Gala's water broke. 
I decided to go in and see what was going on in Hannah.  Good thing I did, as I was just getting tail first.  
Thankfully Hannah has a HUGE birth canal and uterus so I was able to easily push it back up in there, reposition it and pull it out breech.  That one was a buck. 
The second one Abigail pulled was a lovely doe.  That was normal position breech.  Then she pulled the last one was normal position forward and it was another doe!  Nice big triplets. 
 Right as Abigail finished pulling the last one out of Hannah, Gala started giving some nice big pushes.  She wasn't getting anywhere either so I stepped in and gave a hand.  I was only getting a head and 1 front foot but after a little searching I found another front foot.  It took all the pulling I could do and all her pushing plus her nice big birth canal to pop that big guy out.  I handed him over to Dad and pulled out the other one, another huge buck!  They look like monsters compared to the other little ones!
Around 3:30 I went to go check on Alithia since I knew she was going soon too.  She had just delivered a doe kid.  I got her all cleaned up and decided to quick pull the rest since I didn't want to drag it on any longer than I had to.  I figured she'd only have twins since though she was big, she's not very long and therefore those babies would stick out more to the sides. :)  Plus the baby wasn't exactly all that small either.  I went in, pulled another.....nice sized doe!  Got her cleaned up and went back to her stall for a last check to make sure she was done and there I found a tiny little...doe!  Cute as could be and already enjoying the world.  :)  I carried them all inside and got the share the exciting news of triplet does!  I think that's a first on our farm!
 So all in all, we had 3 does deliver and had 8 kids, 3 boys and 5 girls.  We are now at 6 does freshened and 12 kids (5 boys and 7 girls).  They are still all inside in the pool, but I think they are going out pretty soon.  Probably after their 10:00 feeding.

 Here's a video of me pulling Hannah's first kid.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I apoligize....

I have some serious apologizing to do here on my blog.  I few days ago I posted about losing at our FFA regional competition.  While I still feel that things were not judged accurately, there was no reason for me to blow up like that. 

Psalm 37:8
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Ecclesiastics 7:9
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

James 1:20
For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
I should have said "hey, we did what we could, we tried our best.  Can't expect more than that.  Next thing."

Now, I am deeply sorry that I was so upset.  I am trying (with God's help) to conquer my quick temper and fast tongue (or fingers in this case). 

Ephesians 4:31
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Colossians 3:8
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

I have repented and now ask for your forgiveness.  And please pray for me as I try to become a meek and patient child of God.

In Christ,

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I was awarded this by Kade over @ the loser 

I know I have mentioned Teens For Orphans before, and I'm going to mention it again.  :)  Head on over to to learn more about this awesome opportunity for teens to get involved!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Regionals and Dixie!

Two things for a post this morning :)

First of all, our FFA Regional competition was yesterday.  It didn't go nearly as well as we had hoped.  The presentation went quite well, questions went pretty well and so we figured we'd do pretty good.  We'd been getting reports that there were a few really really good teams but some not so great at all (like as in, they didn't have it memorized, etc.) so we were accepting the fact that we wouldn't make it to state but still were hoping for gold since it had gone pretty well.  We got up there at recieved LAST place.  I was rather upset.  The judges had made me kinda upset in the first place not seeming to be interested in the least and hardly asking us any questions.  The questions were rather random and few of them were related to questions we'd recieved before (so in other words, hardly having anything to do with the topic) so it was rather frustrating.  I tell ya, when I've put this much work into something like that, I would at least like to see some interest in it from the judges.  KWIM?  Anyway, I would really like to know what they thought was so horrible since none of what they said on their comment cards made sense.  For example, they said we didn't show enough data.  Seriously?  We have so much data and facts on there that we were afraid there was too much.  Grrr....anyway.  I don't really know what happened there.  Very disappointing.  Anyway, after all that ranting....I'll say, I'm proud of my team and am going to miss working with them all!  You are all awesome!!!!

Second, Dixie kidded yesterday with a huge buck kid!  I was just about ready to leave for the careers center when Elizabeth came in saying she had about a foot of mucous.  So, Abigail headed out and took care of everything.  She called me about 20 min. later, "the head is huge, and all I can get a hold on is the feet."  I told her to make sure it was positioned correctly and just pull.  He was a monster.  :)  Great lookin' guy though, so we're thinking about selling him as a buck. 

His pedigree:

SS: Amy's Pride AR Heartbreaker
                   S: Alpine Valley Prestissimo
2010 Kid:
                   D:Golden Rule My Dixie Darling
 DD:Autumn-Acres T Gatlin 2*M

Sorry there are no pictures, maybe I'll be able to get some more up soon.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tea' Kidded!

Monday night I noticed Tea' (short for Mattea and pronounced Tay-yah) beginning to act kinda strange so I told everyone to keep an eye on her while we went off to Ag Issues practice.  I didn't think she'd really go that night, but thought it'd be safe to watch anyway.  Nothing happened but she was definitely going to be delivering soon.

All day we kept an eye on her and I was sure I was going to miss her while I went to the careers center.  Nope, she was still about the same when I came back.  Nothing all evening, so I went to bed setting my alarm for 1:00 in the morning.  When I went out to check on her then her water broke so I put the timer on for 45 minutes and laid down on the couch.  I ummm, slept through the timer and someone turned if off so I woke up at 3:30.  I pretty much ran all the way out to the barn and found a darling little buck kid just born.  He was kinda clean, but still very wet.  I grabbed all the towels from out in the barn and headed back to the house with my arms full of towels and baby.  Abigail was sleeping on the other couch so I woke her up and simply said "time to get to work" and went back out since I knew she was going to have another.  I stimulated a few contractions and out popped the other one and I didn't even have to check to see if it was a girl.  She was about 1/2 the size of the buck kid (obviously very girlish).  Then the bumbling idiot who brought the buck kid inside (yes, that is yours truly) had also managed to take pretty much all the towels inside so I only had a little few to wrap 'er up and take her for a frigid run into the house.  We got them all cleaned up and milked mamma as quickly as possible so as to get into the warm house ASAP (it's cold outside!).  Now they've eaten and are attempting to stand in a slippery pool filled with shavings.  Getting close!

Girl on the left, boy on the right,
Girl on the right, boy on the left.  Rags surrounding. :)

Okay, I'm going to start doing something that I've never done the pedigree of each of the kids. goes!

SS: Amy's Pride AR Heartbreaker
                   S: Alpine Valley Prestissimo
2010 Kids:
                   D:Golden Rule The Mattea
 DD:Granted-Wishes WS-CHM Misfit

Enjoy the crazy stories! :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Award post

Well, here's another award post.  I know, getting boring.  I've got a fun tag in here though. :)

Jenna over at Feminine Farmgirl has awarded me with the Sunshine Award!

The award is for those who put a little Sunshine in my day.  There are several of those blog that I see an update and I get excited!  I'm only going to choose 5.....but know that there are many blog that I enjoy following!

1. Eldarwen
2. Jenna
3. Adam
4. Amy

5. Katie

#1 Your favorite color.

My favorite color usually is green.  There are several shades of green that I like....a light green all the way to forest green.  I also really like blues too.

#2 Your favorite branch of the military.

My favorite is the Marine Corp.  They are the ones that get in there and get the job done.  Being a WW2 history lover, watching what those Marines did is amazing.  They might have all been getting plowed down, but they just get back up and go again. 

#3 What is you dream vehicle.

Honestly, I'd love a truck.  F250 Super Duty would work. :)  Oh, and I'd prefer the color red.

#4 Hats of choice if any.

I'm not a big hat person but occasionally I'll wear a camo hat....

#5  What’s the last movie you watched?

Chariots of Fire

#6 Have you ever had a pet?

Tough question.  Depends what you call pets.  I've owned my own livestock since I was 5 years old (no joke, I bought a steer and a doe kid when I was 5) and treated them like my pets.  Then of course I live on a farm and love all my babies out there....but as for cats/dogs/small animal pets....very few.

#7 What is your favorite movie or TV show character?

Dickie Jones playing Dick West on Range Rider (old TV show from the 1950s)

#8 Do you have any firearms?

Yep!  I have a 20 gauge single shot Remington shotgun. 

#9 Favorite 2 quotes?

Well, I'm not a huge quote person, but here are 2 I like. 

"You can praise the Lord by peeling a spud if you peel it to perfection." (Chariot's of Fire)

"We'll praise Him when we win, and we'll praise Him when we lose." (Facing the Giants)

#10 Have you had a MRE?

I've never had one.  I'd love to try it and see how our armed forces are faring.  :)

 If you want to do this tag....please do it!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Honey Kidded!

Well the first kid of the year is on the ground!  Coming totally unexpected because of a mix-up in breeding dates (all thanks to the mother Honey) this little lady was a wonderful surprise!  She looks to have some wonderful traits in her (she's wide as a boat!) and just as healthy has can be.  BTW, since she came as a surprise, we totally missed the birth, so no amazing videos this time around.  Give us a few days and I bet you'll be seeing some.  We've got a bunch due within the next couple weeks!

The puppies have been moved outside and the pool is the perfect place for little Miss No Current Name.  
 Just cute as a button!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's the Real Love?

Being Valentines Day, I am naturally going to do a post on the topic of love.  To begin with....

What is love?
Love is one of those puzzling things that has everyone in it's control.  In the novels, it kills the girls, drives the men to insanity.  In real life, it pulls a family together, unites two hearts as one, draws people to their Creator, helps show compassion, and much more!  Love is powerful!

Definition of Love:
 Worlds common Definition:
"A general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like), love is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy); as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, love is commonly contrasted with lust; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is commonly contrasted with friendship, although other definitions of the word love may be applied to close friendships in certain contexts."*

God's Definition:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)  Two terms used frequently in the bible are Agape and Phileo. 

Agape love is "charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional.  It is a parental love, seen as creating goodness in the world; it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for one another. *

Phileo love is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as "brotherly love."*

(Interesting side note:  Two other words used for love in the Greek language were eros (sexual love) and storge (child-to-parent love) and neither of these were ever used in the New Testament) *

The Science on "Love"?
As many know....the sex drive is strong.  Let's take a quick look at animals.  I have heard a story of a ram that was in a penned one evening with about 60 ewes all in heat (I believe they had all been taken in with hormones) and that ram serviced nearly ever one of those 60 ewes but was found dead in the morning.  That sex drive had driven him to his death.  Have you ever seen a buck cross the street right in front of you?  They rarely stop and look to see what's on the road, they just dash across the road in hot pursuit of that doe in estrus. 

Go to humans....the sex drive is strong here too.  I've seen families broken because of that drive.  A individual sees someone that is more attractive to them and heads for them leaving the family behind.  We've all seen it.  We all know it's wrong....but it keeps happening. 

Now you are probably wondering....what on earth does the sex drive have to do with love?  Well.....guess what?!  Too many people mix this drive up with love.  Including scientits.  In fact...these scientists say they've got it all figured out.  They say it's all chemical. 

Attachment comes from Oxytocin and Vassopressin.  Lust comes from Testosterone and Estrogen.  Attraction (which includes loss of sleep and appetite, increased heart rate, and other physical side effects are caused by Dopomine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin, and Nerve Growth.* 

Can you believe it?  I mean they've got it all figured out!  Just like the Big's just happens.  We just ARE this way.  True.  But not in the way they think.

The True Origin of Love:
As Christians we know where love comes from.  We love Him, because He first loved us.(1 John 4:19) God created us to be a friend to Him, to worship Him, ultimately, to love Him.  He is full of love and since He created us in His image...we have the amazing ability to love, be loved and desire love.  It's not a chemical basis, it's God-based.  We love because God created us with that ability.  We desire love because God created us that way.

The Greatest Love:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17) 

God showed His love first by creating us!  Without His love, we wouldn't even be here.  Then He showed His wonderous saving love by sending his beloved Son to this evil world to die in our stead.  What love!  What beautiful, pure love!

I do hope that everyone that reads this feels loved today.  I most certainly do.  I have a Wonderful God, an amazing family, and great friends.  I'm sure some of you may not feel the love of family and friends (and for that, I am very sorry) yet you will always have God there.  Praise His Holy name!

In Christ,


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Award and Puppies!

Two things today:

#1. Jenna over @ Where the Heart Remains has awarded me with the Encouraging Blog Award!  Thank you so much Jenna!  I have really enjoyed following Jenna's blog and she is such a sweet girl and has an amazing eye for photography! 

I think all of my followers deserve this I'm going to give it to the first 4 people who comment on this post!

#2.  I took a video of our puppies yesterday.  They are 4 weeks old now and just starting to really come alive.  Check it out!

God Bless!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ag Issues!

As several of you may know, I am involved in FFA and have been involved in several competitions though this awesome youth organization.  This year, I was part of an AWESOME Agriculture Issues team.  Our Issue that we addressed was the Use of Antibiotics in Livestock Animals.  Some people want to ban the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics ( antibiotics used as growth promotion, feed efficiency, or routine disease prevention ) while farmers want the ability to use these so they can be more competitive, getting their livestock to market others. 

Last night was our first competition, at district level.  We got a gold award and placed 1st!  We were all really excited at how it went and are looking forward to our next competition in 2 weeks at regionals!

The way Ag Issues works:
The team must act out a skit showing both sides of an agricultural issue.  Our skit's setting was at a county fair, two different vendors set up near each other with different view points on this issue.  A senator walks in and asks for their opinions and this begins the discussion.  I am acting as a vet, and we have a farmer as well.

This is Michigan Farm Bureau's table.  They are against the passage of this bill.  (Just FYI, the bill is in the Senate right now and if you want to check it's S-619)


This is "The Food Revolution" booth....which is for the passage of the bill.

This was us getting ready last night....

And our awesome team!  I'm on the far left and Abigail is on the far right.  

Keep your eyes open for some interesting updates to come on our Ag Issue!  :)  I might be talking about it every once in a while about it on here.

Have a great evening all!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Brother/Sister Week!

I am one of those people who has a facebook page and this week is Brother/Sister week!  Everyone is changing their profile pictures to pics of them and their siblings and it's just kinda fun. 

I decided to do a post on all of my siblings.  As you know, my siblings change from time to time, but I'm going to go on what I have right now.

A picture of all of us (plus Myah, a foster girl from a year ago).
 Rebekah, Rachel and I sleeping out in the "fort". 
 All of us with our dairy cows/heifers.
 Ben, Elizabeth, Rebekah and Rachel at the county fair!

On to just a few words about each of my siblings:

 Abigail (14, almost 15) is my closest, sweetest, most amazing and beautiful friend in the world.  She and I have always been extremely close and I am so thankful for the relationship we have! 
 Rachel (14) is quickly growing up, it's amazing how much she has grown and improved since she was adopted!  She is a great hard worker and enjoys spending time with all of her siblings.
 Rebekah (13) is a beautiful girl quickly growing up!  We were just listening to some old tapes that we made when we were really little (like as in, she was 5) and it was amazing how much she has grown up since then! 
 Elizabeth (8) is about the sweetest little sister you can get.  When I was gone over the weekend, I came back to so many hugs that I think it was worth going away just to get all the lovin' when I got back!  :)  It's so much fun to watch her grow up into a beautiful girl!
 Ben (5) is a bundle of energy, fun, excitement and cuteness all wrapped into one package!  He's all boy but still gets along great with his sisters.  What a sweet little guy he is!  Having some other guys around in the house has helped him too and he's becoming quite a nice little man. :)
 Josh and Jon and two sweet little boys.  I always love the hugs I get from them every day.  What would I do without them?!?!  Even admist the cars/trucks flying across the floor ever day, I am still so glad they can be in our home.  They will be missed when they leave.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a and 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

Hebrews 13:1
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.

In Christ,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Prayer

I recieved a comment the other day on my post requesting prayer for the two boys going in for surgery. 

"Forget prayer and god and be grateful there are dentists to help.  It is you and your family, plus the dentist that will help the boys.  Everything will go well because you are there."

I just wanted to address this comment because it bothered me that someone out there didn't have the comfort of believing in the power of prayer.  Here are just a few verses out of the Bible that talk about this very topic. 

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).  
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

"…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  (Ephesians 6:18a). 

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  
As you can see, God desires us to come to Him with our requests, the same way a parents wants their child to come to them with their requests.  Yet, I can't make a person believe it, you have to believe it for yourself.

While we're on the topic of prayer.....Rachel is going in for surgery today to reconstruct her eardrum.  She has always had hearing problems and has had a few ear surgeries before today though this is the most serious.  Please pray that the surgery goes well, she recovers quickly and that this helps her hearing problems.

In Christ,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Green & White Hog Show

So is everyone ready for an update from my Green and White Hog show?  This was my first experience of a hog only show and it was a great experience! 

On Friday afternoon right after school all 21 of use students plus 2 teachers loaded up all of our hogs, gear, clothes, etc into the bus and we headed up to Lansing (which was about an hour and half ride).  When we got there, we bedded pens, filled feeders and waited 'till we could unload hogs.  There was quite a wait since they could only unload one trailer at a time.  At 6:00 there was a showmanship clinic which was very educational.  Then I went and washed my hog and changed into my show clothes.  I showed probably around 8:30 p.m.  I didn't place in my class, but I wasn't very disappointed seeing as how I've worked very little with my hog.  We don't have the facilities to work with our hogs in the winter at school.  We got to our hotel around 9:00 and finally fell asleep around 2:00ish.  Yikes!  Still trying to get back on a normal sleeping routine from that.  Had some awesome roommates though....had lots of fun. :)

This is me showing in Showmanship.  I'm in the orange shirt.

 Saturday morning we were woken up to the news that one of our advisers had gone to the hospital in the middle of the night with kidney stones.  Since he was our bus driver and our other adviser didn't have her CDL, she had to shuttle us 5 at a time in the ag truck back to the show arena.  I was in the first group and we got all of the hogs fed and watered before everyone else arrived.  Just as the second group came, we discovered that our QuizBowl team was up first and not all of our teammates were there.  We made the quick decision to switch one team member and headed in.  We were still all in our chore clothes and rather rattled so we probably didn't give a very good first impression.  However, we still managed to pull out of that first heat and had to go in for the second.  Sadly, we were beat by a very young boy who was very smart and quick at it.  Oh well, we were the only team out of 6 or so from the center that made it into the second heat.  

At 12:30 market classes started.  They started with futurity classes which my hog was in.  They only picked like 3 hogs from each class of 12 or so and mine didn't get chosen.  Then my whole family arrived so that kept me busy while I watched a few more classes before mine.  I was in class 8 and actually got placed 7th!  There were probably 12 hogs in the class and they only place the top 8.  

Me in Market Class.  Again in orange shirt.
I got penned!  Surprising for me 'cause I think my hog was pretty ugly.  :P
 After I was done with my market classes, my family headed home and I found out that had placed 7th with my essay!  I was pretty pumped.  That was out of all of the seniors at the show.  Then we all watched a few more classes and the last kids showed in class 21.  One of those kids had the best hog out of all the ones that we brought and he actually placed first in his class!  It was pretty cool.  

Preston with the 1st place hog (in the white shirt).

We finally left the show around 6:30.  What a weekend!  Filled with lots of adventure, excitement, etc as usual.  I'm so looking forward to showing my hog at fair and I'm hoping to go to Green and White again next year.  My plan is to breed my gilt again once she is ready to breed again and have August babies (which is when you want them for Green and White).  Then I want to take Elizabeth (she loves hogs) and go up there and show. big dreams. :D
I though I'd post my essay if anyone was interested.  I knew very little about this topic when I started and found it very interesting.  Hope you do as well!


 Contract Grower: One Way to Save the Family Farm
What is a contract grower?  Why are they used?  What are their jobs and responsibilities?  How does one become a contract grower and why would this job be appealing?  What is in this job that makes worthwhile to grow hogs on a contract?  What is more profitable, a "wean-to-finish grower" or a "grow-to-finish grower"?  All of these are important questions to ask when looking into the contract business. 

          First, what exactly is a contract grower?  The contract grower concept began in the late 1970's with the founders of the company now known as the  Murphy-Brown, LLC.  They describe the contract growers as follows:

"[A]Contract grower is a term that refers to a private landowner and independent farmer who has entered into a contractual business arrangement with our company to produce livestock for the company."
The producer will pay the grower for their care of the livestock, usually once they have been sent to market. 
          A large scale producer must remain big to be competitive in today's hog market.  A common slogan is, "Get big or get out".  Few producers can keep the facilities to house and care for as many hogs as are needed.  For this reason, they contract out hogs to small farmers, which often may be a small floundering family farm that needs something with a steady pay to keep afloat.  "Recent National Agricultural Statistics Services data indicates that nearly 40 percent of the U.S. swine inventory is owned by large producers, but is raised by contract growers under a production contract."(Virginia Tech)
          So what exactly is a contract grower's jobs and responsibilities?  Each farm may vary in their requirements.  For example, Heimerl Farms in Ohio ask that you meet with an supervisor from their farm to inspect and approve locations and building plans.  Murphy-Brown LLC suggests that the grower will meet "local, state and federal legal, regulatory and permitting requirements", "technical and animal care requirements of their farm", "daily management" and "financing for construction and operation of the farm". (Murphy-Brown LLC, contract)
          How then, does one become a contract grower?  Again, this may vary from farm to farm.  Contacting a local producer is the first step to becoming a contract grower.  In most cases your first job will be to do legal work and build facilities to house the livestock.
          Growing hogs on a contract is an interesting, exciting way to raise livestock in a large quantity without facing all of the costs.  Typically, the producer will provide all livestock, feed, transportation to and from the growers farm, veterinary services, production consultation to make sure that the animals are properly cared for and a stable payment (based on contract terms) to the grower.  All of this places little risk in the growers hands and gives him/her the opportunity for a predictable, hands-on job.  Perhaps a family is looking for a way to keep the family farm in good working order, or a single person is just looking for a way to keep out of the office.  In a time where large organizations are making it more difficult to operate a small family business off of your farm and be financially successful, this may be your way to keep up the family farming traditions. 
          The next big decision is to decided what type of contract grower  to be.  Should a small farmer become a "wean-to-finish grower" or a "grow-to-finish" grower?  What exactly are the differences and what are pros and cons of each?
          A "wean-to-finish grower" is a nursery, grower and finisher barn all in one.  While this may be more work for the contract grower, there is reduced stress and therefore, better feed conversion (FC), higher average daily gain (ADG), a lower mortality rate, fewer injuries and reduced sickness.  This is quickly becoming a more popular way of raising hogs as the hog production becomes more competitive and many producers  may require this type of contract. 
          A "grow-to-finish grower" is still the most popular way of raising hogs on a contract.  While there may be more stress on the hogs (and therefore poorer FC, lower ADG, higher mortality and more injuries and illness), there is much less work for the contract grower.  This is more appealing to the grower as (s)he may not be able to commit as much time as is needed in a "wean-to-finish grower".
          At a time where pork prices are low, producers are doing their best to continue raising and selling their livestock in the most efficient ways possible.  Raising to the occasion and doing the out-of-ordinary may be the most likely way to secure a contract.   While more work may be involved, more money can be made. Raising hogs in a "wean-to-finish grower" seems to be the more profitable way of raising hogs as a contract grower.  

Virginia Cooperative Extension
Murphey-Brown, LLC
Heimerl Farms
Factory Hog Farming: The Big Picture
Murphy Family Farms