Subway, Antibiotics, Consumers, Farmers, and Understanding

Dear Subway, Consumers and Ag Community,

Subway,
Do you Understand that all meat is inspected and checked for antibiotic residue?

Do you Understand that if antibiotic residue is found the meat is rejected well before coming to your store?

Do you Understand that denying antibiotics to a sick animal can result in death?

Consumers,
While the use of antibiotics in the meat you eat can sound scary:

Do you Understand that there is no residue of antibiotics allowed in the meat you consume?

Do you Understand that antibiotics are expensive and that farmers only use them when needed to improve the health of the animal or prevent its death?

Do you Understand that this decision by Subway really doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of products they sell, because there was never any antibiotics in the products they sell in the first place?

Agricultural Community:
Do you Understand that Subway caved to pressures from outside groups and that of consumers to make this decision and that it’s nothing personal against you?

Do you Understand that a growing number of consumers are demanding antibiotic free meats for one reason or another?

Do you Understand that this means that animals who have to be administered antibiotics will merely have to be separated from the others and sold to a different market than Subway?

Do you Understand that you need to listen to, more than talk to, your consumers so that you are knowledgable about their concerns and what products they want?

Subway, Consumers, and Ag Community:

Do you all Understand that listening to each other, and developing a mutual understanding of each others concerns, knowledge and desires are the key to our future?

If you have said no or are unsure of any of the answers to the questions above, I encourage you to talk directly to Subway, Talk to directly Consumers, Talk directly to Farmers who raise your meats, and listen, learn and Understand.

Thank you,
Boucher Farms

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Top 10 Ways Warrior Dash and Farming Are Alike.

This weekend We ran in our 4th Warrior Dash with our group appropriately named “Just A Little Dirty!”

  For those of you unfamiliar with Warrior Dash, it is a 5k run (or jog in our case) with obstacles and a lot of mud mixed throughout, especially this year.

  
This month (June/15) we have had abnormal amounts of rain, rain and more rain.  This made the parking areas (a hay field) for the event a muddy mess (to no fault of the promoter or venue).  Now it wasn’t that we and other participants weren’t warned of this and told by the promoters to “carpool and drive 4×4 vehicles” there leaving small cars at home, but for some a Prius may be all they have.  At any rate, it wasnt a good place for “grocery getters” to be. 

As for the race itself, it was a blast and one of the most challenging to date. There were new obstacles, plenty of mud, huge and fast water slides, cargo nets to climb over, walls to climb to test your skills, and plenty of mud to crawl over and swim through.  Oh and barbed wire and fire…yes, real barbed wire and fire. 

(Play the video to see the water slide part of an obstacle named Goliath.)   

       While these obstacles may be considered extreme for most, I got to thinking about the barbed wire, getting stuck, the obstacles, the hard work and life skills it takes to complete the race, and of course the mud, and how it relates to the farm.  So here are the top 10 ways the Warrior Dash and Farming are Alike!  

 Top 10 Ways That Warrior Dash and Farming Are Alike:
1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm, usually has a better experience, and doesn’t get stuck in the mud.  
2. 4×4’s are a necessity, small cars belong on concrete.

3. You pay a lot of money to play in the /dirt mud. Quit complaining.  
4. It’s always going to be too wet, too cold, too hot, etc. Suck it up buttercup and enjoy it!

 5. Mother Nature can be a cruel cruel creature, learn to adjust to her. She is in charge at all times. 
6. Large amounts of rain and repeated rains aren’t your friend.

7. Weather it be a tractor or a car, every vehicle has its limit on how much mud it can handle, and so does its drivers. Mud is real.

8. No matter how hard the task, Never Give Up.  
9. Roll with the punches. You and those in charge can do everything right and still have everything go horribly wrong. 

10. (last but not least) Help others in need. When your neighbor is stuck, get out and help them. Karma is real.

Big thank yous out to Warrior Dash and all those who made this event possible.  It continues to challenge us and bring our group together by creating life long memories!  
I’ll leave you with a few more pics and one more way Warrior Dash and Farming are alike.

11.  After a hard days work, stop, sit back, enjoy what you have accomplished and have a beverage of choice,  you earned it! 

 
Extra pics:

   

  

  

  

  
  

  

  

  

  

  

  

    

Friday Farm Flicks 3/27/15

it’s been quite a while since I have posted, since December 5th actually. But just as spring brings change to our environment it brings change to The Farmers Story too!  As spring arrives so does the planting season, aka #plant15 on social media.   With that I thought I would share some photos from the winter and beyond to get the season started off right!

Let’s first go back to this fall, #harvest14.  This pic was taken on the last day of harvest and is very special to me.  This is a pic of 3 generations of Boucher Farms working together for the first time harvesting corn.  In the pic, my oldest child (BF generation #5) takes the wheel of our combine (with me sitting beside her) harvesting corn while simultaneously unloading corn “on the go” into the auger cart and tractor driven by her grandfather (BF generation #3)  while I (BF generation #4) take the pic.  While it wasn’t the first time she drove the combine under my watchful eye, it was her first time unloading while combining which was a big step for her, making for a proud Dad and Grandpa!  I mean, how many 10yr olds can handle a combine in stride?   I was grinning ear to ear for a few days straight!  Great Job Miss H.!!

The next picture brings us to post harvest plowing.  This pic shows our John Deere 9510R 4 wheel drive tractor pulling our Case IH 870 disk chisel/ripper. This tool allows us to mechanically till and loosen the soils in preparation for the following year.  

 This pic shows an alternative method of tilling to the mechanical one above.  These plants are called Tilliage Radishes.  They are a type of cover crop that allows farmers to loosen the soil, help prevent soil erosion, help needed nutrients remain in the soils and also help deter weeds and other pests in our fields. These radishes were flown on as seeds over top of our growing soybean field before harvest.  I dug these up to see how they were progressing and many of them were already about 12″ long, which is around the same depth that we mechanically till the soil, and having similar effects.

   

Christmas came and went but not without a first for our family. This year we spent part of Christmas Day on a Florida beach, near my inlaws winter home.  While Christmas isn’t the same without the cold and snow, we didn’t miss it either!

  On our way home from FL we stopped in Nashville TN.  Upon a visit to downtown Nashville we found a cowboy boot store with the most boots we have ever seen in one place! 

January brought us back to reality and the cold and snow of IL.  The pic below shows us unloading soybeans we grew for a seed company, who will clean them, check them for top quality, package them and sell them to other farmers to grow in 2015.  We will be growing more seed beans for them again this season, so more farmers can utilize the seeds we grow in 2016!  

This is a pic of the sweep auger inside the grain bin where the seed beans were stored.  The sweep augers its atop the bins floor and helps bring the beans from threshes of the bin to the center where there is a hole in the floor where another auger catches them and draws them outside of the bin and eventually into a truck.

What good is a Friday Farm Flick post without some country sunrise and sunset  pics from our farm?  Enjoy!

 

  

   

  

In closing I’ll leave you with a little St. Patrick’s Day Ag Humor.   

  Have a great weekend and check back often! As spring arrives and the farming seasons gets busier, I’ll post more blog entries to keep you up to date on what’s going on in the country!  

Keeping it Cool

A short and sweet post for you this morning. I found this pic on its corresponding Facebook Page this morning and I have to say, with all the recent events we hear about on the news, the admins behind it just won the internet.

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May we all take this advice to heart. In the end, Our race shouldn’t matter, our Sexual preference shouldn’t matter, our Religious beliefs shouldn’t matter, in fact none of our differences should matter. Only LOVE & RESPECT for each other matters in the end.

As we go throughout our day today, may we put our differences aside and decide to move forward, together.

Country Sunrises

If you have been following me on social media, you may know that I post a few sunrise and sunset pics from time to time. Some are edited to enhance their natural beauty while some are left in their natural state. Either way, these pics have generally been a big hit on my farms Facebook Page as well as Instagram and Twitter. So I thought I would put a few of them up here for everyone to enjoy.

Also, don’t forget, if you would like to follow me on social media please click on the site you prefer on the right of this page.

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Check back for more country sunrise and sunset pics in the future! No two are ever alike, and no two will ever be the same!

Thank you for stopping by and God Bless!

Matt

Just What Do Farmers Do in the Winter Anyhow?

We’ve all been there.  Your on a warm weathered road trip, a vacation or just out to see a distant relative.  Along the way you see a grain farmer (like myself) out in his fields, working the ground, tending to his crops, or harvesting.  Basically doing what farmers do.  While you are watching that farmer for that small moment of time, the thought runs through your head,  What do they do in the winter?

 

“What do you do in the winter?” is the number one question I, as a farmer, have ever been asked over the years.  It’s usually followed by the joking assumption that we sit in the house and watch Oprah, Springer and Maury all day.  However, Nothing can be further from the truth.

Yes,  we work hard in the warmer months of the year, but what about the winter?  What exactly does a farmer who cant be in his fields and cant tend to crops due to the freezing cold conditions do all winter?

 A lot!

  Alright, so you may have saw that general response coming.  So let me be more specific.    In the winter, a grain farmer usually:

1.Hauls away the previous years crop from his grain bins to be sold at the elevator..

2. Works tirelessly on paperwork, closing out the year before and beginning the new year.

3. Attends meetings offered by Agricultural based companies in efforts to learn to be better at his/her job.

4.  Completes all of the maintenance needed on his/her equipment to make sure its ready for the following year.

The list can go on and on.

For the moment, lets talk about  #4 Maintenance.  Why?  Because its something we can all relate to.

If you own a vehicle, there is no doubt that at one time or another you may have had a breakdown or a flat tire.  Things happen, but a general maintenance plan can help with that.  Every 3000 miles or so, your car will need an Oil Change and maybe a new air filter.  Every 50,000 or so miles it may need new tires, brakes or something else. If this maintenance isn’t completed in a timely manner chances are the vehicle wont last too long without having mechanical issues when you need it the most.   Farm equipment is no different   They need the same type of maintenance that your vehicle does, just on a larger scale.  While a late model car may need its 4 quarts of oil changed every 3000 miles (for around $25-$45 at your local dealer).  A tractor can run over 100-500 hours (depending on the model) before its 5-15 gallons of oil need to be changed (for $200 or more in the farmers shop).  A cars tires may last 50,000 miles and cost $150 each while a tractors tires may last 4000 hours and cost upwards of $1500 each to replace (often having 6-8 tires).  As you can imagine, this takes time.  Especially if you have to do this type of maintenance when you need the vehicle or tractor the most.

So what do farmers do in the winter?  A large part of it is maintenance, especially preventative maintenance.  Every winter, at one time or another, virtually every piece of farm equipment we have is brought into our farm shop to be checked over.  First we start just outside the shop door, blowing all of the dust and crop debris off of the machine with an air hose.  Next, as in the case of this tractor, its brought into the shop for an oil change.

Hoods up, lets get to work!

Hoods up, lets get to work!  (When you see it…comment as to what it is)

Under our John Deere 6310.  Getting ready to drain the oil into a bucket for it to be recycled.

Under our John Deere 6310. Getting ready to drain the oil into a bucket for it to be recycled.

Throughout my tractor maintenance ritual, I treat the tractor much like a mechanic would your car.  Like, checking air pressure in the tires, checking the antifreeze and other fluid levels and so on.  After the oil is changed, fluids checked, air pressures checked, and more, its time to for a wash, some touch up paint and a wax before it leaves the shop. (Look for a future post explaining more about what we do)

All of this is done to maintain our farm equipment so it can be the best it can be.  We hope the machines we use have long and breakdown free lives, just as you do your vehicle.  This type of preventative maintenance along with many other responsibilities are what keeps many farmers like me busy throughout the year, especially in the winter months.   So if you ever wonder what farmers do in the winter, simply stop by and knock on the farm shop door.  Chances are, you’ll find a farmer inside.

The Sweet Taste of #Ethanol?

It’s going to be beautiful day in late July. The morning is cool and dewey, but we know it’s going to heat up and get humid. So we get up early, get out a bunch of bowls, 1 quart ziplock bags, my Moms newly sharpened paring knives, a few 5 gallon buckets, a turkey fryer filled with water and a pick up truck. It’s Sweet Corn freezing day on the farm.
It’s been a tradition for as far as I can remember. Getting up early, picking a pick-up bed full of sweet corn, cleaning it, cooking it (boiling it in the turkey fryer if you were wondering), cooling it, cutting it off the cob, filling the bags, taste testing (for quality reasons of course 😉 ) and finally freezing it for future meals throughout the year. It’s a lot of work but it’s so worth it. The funny thing is, I’ve never had one bite of sweet corn taste like Gas, well Ethanol anyway.

Wait what? There is Ethanol in the Sweet Corn we eat?
No, there is no type of Corn that tastes like any fuel product either, but here’s a fact you may not know.

Ethanol is not made from Sweet Corn

This cartoon came across my FB feed yesterday.

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At first sight, I chuckled, but after reading a few comments below it. I felt compelled to address it. The Mom in the cartoon is relating sweet corn consumption and hunger to Ethanol use. The fact is, Ethanol is NOT made from Sweet Corn at all. It is NOT made from the same Corn you buy in your produce isle or farmers market to have at your next meal.

Ethanol is in fact made from #2 yellow dent corn. Never heard of it? Sure you have, if you have ever seen a field of corn while driving down the interstate, more than likely it’s a field of #2 Yellow Dent Corn, more commonly known as field corn. In fact there was about 90million acres of it planted across our nations heartland this past spring. However, you won’t find any of it in your local produce section. Why? Let’s just say that although very few people actually like it, it really does’t taste very good.

While Sweet Corn is largely grown for direct human consumption, Field Corn (#2 yellow dent) is mainly grown for some food production, livestock feed, and to be turned into countless other things, including Ethanol, which gets mixed into our nations gasoline supplies. It can be argued that Ethanol helps reduce our nations dependence on foreign oil and increases the octane level of our gasoline all while making each gallon of gas about 20 cents cheaper than straight gas. But that’s not my point.

What does this all mean? It means that the kid in this cartoon can feel free to eat his ear of Sweet Corn without guilt. It means the price you pay for Sweet Corn at the store and the supply there of are not affected directly by Ethanol because it doesn’t come from Sweet Corn at all. It means that my family and I can go to the gas station, purchase E10, E15, or E85 mixed gasoline and still be able to freeze our pick-up load of Sweet Corn every year.

Why? Because Ethanol Does Not Come From Sweet Corn

Want to learn more about Ethanol? Click here for some Ethanol Facts.

Want to know if your vehicle can run on E85? ( Flex Fuel Vehicle). Click here.

The Funny Farm, and Greener Grass

Who remembers the Movie “Funny Farm‘?  It was released in 1988 (a major drought year for the entire Midwest) and quickly became a huge hit at the theaters bringing in over 25 million dollars.  To this day, 24 years later, it can still be seen from time to time on TV. The premise of the movie loosely revolves around the theory that

“The Grass Is Always Greener On the Other Side of the Fence until you have to mow it”

Heres the basic Story line: Andy and Elizabeth are sick of life in the city, and decide to move to the country. Buying a home near a picturesque town, then soon discover (to their horror) that things are done differently in the country. They must deal with all of the local characters, the local animals, as well as any skeletons in the closet. Written by Murray Chapman

Like I said, this movie, starring Chevy Chase, was released 24 years ago. Surely, due to the fast paced world we live in, people would have outgrown the “Grass is Greener” mentality and moved on to something else right?  Nope.  We all like to have something better than what we have, and when looking at what we want, its human nature to only look at the good parts that come along with it, effectively ignoring the unpleasant parts.  That mentality rings true in this movie, today, and certainly will well into the future.

Today, I ran across a link on Facebook containing a news report about flies in the country side.  A farmer who had been there long before any suburbanites had spread some manure on his field. (As I’m sure he always has). Yet spreading the manure was not seen as a good thing by those who moved in near the farm.

To quote the article;

People who live on Karner Drive say the spreading of manure on a nearby farm has made life unbearable and created a health hazard.

Disclaimer: The use of manure is highly regulated by various agencies and is not a health hazard.  In fact manure is a quality organic fertilizer.

Whats the farmers take on this:

The farmer, John O’Loughlin told us he was there first and if you move next to a farm, you should expect to have flies.

According to the article, the City says:

this problem may lead to a new ordinance.

So who is in the right here?  The farmer who has been there forever and has the right to do as he has done for years, or the newbies who moved to the area to “Live in the Country”?  Should there be a new ordinance against something that has been going on for years before others moved into the area?  You decide.  Meanwhile, in my opinion this sign sums it all up.

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In closing,  I (as well as many others in the country) have no problem with someone moving to the countryside. In fact, I encourage it.  However, I hope they take the time to know why the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  If they don’t, they just might be moving into a “Funny Farm”