Monday Inspiration

ONE//3D Printers

I’ve been moderately obsessed with 3D printers for a couple of weeks now. I’m horrible at drawing on physical paper, so it’s interesting how you can bring art to life digitally. Did you know they can even make these ‘sculptures’ out of chocolate?! Whaaat?! In love!

TWO//Asura

Ok ok, so a lot of video inspiration this week! In this case I gave into my nerdy side & seriously loved this online game trailer! No idea what the game is about, and to be honest I probably won’t go any further than admiring their trailer, but adored the graphics and creature characters!

THREE//The Canadian Farm Learning Centre

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Still exploring the site a bit & getting familiar with the courses they offer but from what I can tell so far I think it has the potential to be a great resource! When Kemptville College shut down in the Ottawa area it took a lot of opportunities away from young farmers looking to get a formal education, and as I begin looking for new avenues of education these online options open up some very welcome doors!

FOUR//Temple Grandin

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I feel like I’m so behind in watching this! I’ve known of this woman and her work in slaughter houses, and I can recognize her visually but I had no idea about her life story or was exactly that all entailed. I totally teared when she put herself in the cattle chute to calm herself, when she went through her ‘door’, when she praised her mother in raising her to manage her autism… let’s just say multiple tear moments. One of the best movies/documentaries I’ve seen in a while!

FIVE//Foodies Kill Their Food

WARNING: Do NOT watch at work or if you have a weak stomach! While I’m not a vegetarian by any means I do place a high emphasis on respecting the life of all living things. I love how this short video placed such a high importance on an animals life, but still made no excuses for the fact that they were raised to be food. Even as a farmer though, I teared up. With my chickens sent to the butcher just last week I know how hard it is to take responsibility for the decision to end an animals life & it’s not something to be taken lightly. What are the chances that I happened to watch this & the documentary on Temple Grandin at the same time?!

Who will you inspire?

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Monday Inspiration

ONE//Dairy Farmers of Canada New Logo

Dairy Farmers of Canada has taken the step in redesigning their logo in efforts to merge their business logo and the ‘100% Canadian Blue Cow’ logo. I’m going to miss the ‘Blue Cow’ but I can appreciate where they’re coming from a business stand point and I have to say, they did a good job!

TWO//BuzzFeed Vegan for 30 Days

I want to do this. Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous and why on earth would a livestock farmer ever want to become the very people trying to put them out of business. 1. I think in today’s day and age understanding is a factor that’s seriously lacking in society. 2. Nothing will ever stay the same except for the fact that things will always change.

As farmers we need to understand those to oppose us and what we do, because only when we truly understand where they’re coming from and have the ability to show that we’re trying to be empathetic so their concerns are we ever going to reach a happy medium. Who knows, maybe the world is destined to become vegan in some far off future… maybe not. But we’ll never stay ahead of the curve if we’re constantly digging in our feet and refusing to try something new. A new perspective can change everything, and when you connect with people it can make you a better farmer, a better business manager, and a better person.

THREE//Pinterest, Neutral Kitchen 

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I’ve recently been helping out with some renovations and the house has officially been gutted! Let me tell you, it’s intimidating at having such a blank slate with so much potential for things to go horribly wrong. Pinterest to the rescue!! Absolutely loving these neutral options, an awesome way to stay clean and classic! Check out more on my Pinterest page/’House’ Board!

FOUR// 2-1-4-3 Disruptive Thinking & Business Planning

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Loving Aiden Connolly’s recent article on Linkedin readdressing how we approach strategic business planning. An astounding point of view that really makes you re-evaluate how you approach goal planning. “Disruptive thinking leads to opportunities and the potential for exponential growth.” I find that this can apply to so much more than just business, but life goals overall as well! Great work!

Five//Swimmable Mermaid Tails!!

Obsession #1: Farming. Obsession #2: Mermaids. I ever win the lottery I’ll have first farm with it’s own personal mermaid grotto. True Story <3

Who will you inspire?

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Get Your Farm Animal Themed Screen Saver!

“The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday”

Maybe not the quote you see this post, but I’ve been doing a little self reflection lately. Who do I want to be in 3 years? Where do I want to be? What do I want to be good at or seen as? How am I going to get there?

So, I’ve been trying to find areas in which to improve myself and my skill set. One aspect of the answers i came up with brought me down the road of digital graphics. I love art and how it can communicate messages as well as evoke emotions at the same time, but I’ll admit, I’m not an artist. I’m mildly decent at recreating art but when creating my own pieces, somewhere between brain & pen the visual I originally have gets lost in translation and doesn’t come out…. well let’s be gentle and say clearly 😛 My resulting goal then, if I am going to be more internet and computer savvy is to improve my graphic imaging skills.

Like all beginners, I started out simple. The farm was the theme, of course, & I came up with a set of extremely basic images. For a first time, I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome. I think they’re cute, perfect for the farm themed screen saver on your phone or tablet! I had so much fun creating these, and the chicken, cow, and goat are definitely favourites!

 

Farm Animal Themed Screen Savers

 

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Don’t forget there are so many ways that you can contribute to Agvocacy efforts, every skill set is needed! Nothing is too big or too small, & it can be as simple as someone seeing your screen saver and having it spark a conversation when you reply “Thank’s, I’m a farmer”

So no matter what you do, and no matter your current skill sets, always find new ways to explore, new ways of improvement yourself, & always follow your passions <3

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Fall Fashion- Make it Plaid!

It’s official, November has hit and I’ve finally turned on the heat and given into hibernation mode!

Now parka season hasn’t hit quite yet & layers are still acceptable, especially with the cold mornings warming up in the afternoons. The perfect autumn layering essential, Plaid! A few easy ways to amp it up before winter hits us!

1. ‘Dress’ it up

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Plaid Dress; Vero Moda $65, Nordstorm $39, Forever21 $23

I absolutely love my long-sleeve plaid shirt dress from Vero Moda. Paired with some leggings & a scarf it’s perfect for casual chilly days! Don’t be afraid to mix patterns, just because it’s plaid doesn’t mean you can’t dress it up!

2. Belt it

Add leather belt, be it simple or elaborate & you can take your outfit to the next level! Great way to amp up an outfit and add that stylish touch without going overboard.

3. Layer it

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Utility Jacket; Levis $172, GAP $128, Old Navy $45, Forever21 $23

Layers, layers, layers! T-shirt, Plaid Shirt, & a utility jacket.

 

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Vest; Old Navy $25

This is what I get for buying a vest at the beginning of the season for $40, lucky for you guys though, it’s now on sale at Old Navy! A light weight vest is the perfect piece to take away the chill without being too much.

4. Make it Outerwear

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Poncho; Forever21 $33, Urban Planet $29 & $19,

Plaid isn’t just for collared shirts, you can find some great outerwear pieces that incorporate the pattern as well! From shrugs to jackets, and my particular favourite this season, ponchos! Who doesn’t love feeling like they’re wrapped in a blanket 24/7?!

5. Wear it to the Office

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Shirt; Old Navy Plaid Shirt $15, Blazer; Boohoo Blazer $70

Plaid doesn’t just belong on the farm, it can find it’s way into the office too! Pump it up with some colour, heels + a blazer and you’ve got the perfect business/casual ensemble fit for an office bound country girl.

When I wear plaid I feel like I’m really staying true to myself. I love finding ways to incorporate it into looks that can translate into nearly any event or function, be it going to the grocery store or heading into the office. Each looks shows a variation of my rural roots, mixed with a little bit of flare!

How do you wear plaid?

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Monday Inspiration

One//Ontario Young Farmers Forum

Ready for another adventure?! I’ve mentioned on Facebook, Twitter etc, but so excited to share it here with you now, I’ve been invited down to Toronto on November 21st to lead a breakout session at the Ontario Young Farmers Forum addressing our use of social media in Agvocacy. What I love about this is it isn’t just a speech, it is truly reflective of social media as we’ll be engaging the audience in the conversation getting questions, feedback & ideas! I can’t wait to see everyone there and don’t forget to check out my events page to see what other events I’ll be at!

Two// 5th Annual Canadian Food & Drink Summit

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It looks like another busy month with the Royal, Ontario Young Farmers Forum and the FCC Forum in early December, but I’m highly considering making another trip down to Toronto November 28-29th to check out the Canadian Food & Drink Summit. Farming often has it’s own community and networking system within itself, but our finished product, food & food products, are where we naturally connect with out consumers.

Three//Teacher Appreciation

 

Four//Netflix Original Glitch

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One of the few series I’ve really enjoyed watching over the past couple years, sat down & watched the entire first season in a single day. 6 people come back from the dead trying to piece together memories of their past lives & to figure out why and how it happened. Won’t give out any spoilers but I can’t wait for the second season!

Five//Jimmy Fallon & Melissa McCarthy lip-sync off!

I legitimately almost diiied laughing while watching this, these two are hilarious!

What will inspire you today?

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Monday Inspiration

Confession, this weeks inspiration is a little random! Today was a lazy day with a bit of goofing off and a lot of just checking out some random stuff. A little urban, a little rural, and a little weird <3

One//Kids Collection; Mini Boden inspired by Roald Dakl

One of the absolute sweetest kids collections inspired by classic children’s books. The uniqueness of each piece & detailing that went into putting each mini-collection together is absolutely mind blowing, a must see if only for the ‘aw’ factor!

Two// A Picture Guide to Sheep & Goat Production

Contents A Picture Guide To Sheep & Goat Production

Being half way through the growth to market weight for my chickens I’m already looking at the next step to expansion, and being restricted with limited space and start up capital it seems like the next natural step will be into sheep. A sweet and simple online tool to help get my first few steps inspired!

Three//Jenna Marbles; Weird & confident!

Now, I know most of you won’t care for this particular link but I’ve been revisiting a lot of my old likes on Youtube and came across Jenna Marbles. In a time when I’ve been feeling unsure of myself and the next steps I’ll be taking, seeing this woman who is so creative, and so sure of herself, that she decides to go ahead and shave her eyebrows is, well, kinda cool! Now I won’t be going and shaving mine any time soon, but I love that she doesn’t apologize and does what she wants, even if its just to try something new for the heck of it!

Four//Planet Earth II

May potentially have to go back and re-watch the first sometime this week! I think it’s so important to broaden your horizons, continuously try to learn new things, and the videography is impeccable!

Five//Organic Farmer Mentors Interns

As a young person trying to get into farming I always love seeing people step up as mentors and leaders. Think back to when you first started out, and how great it was (or would have been!) to have someone there to guide you in your first steps. People who are truly passionate will always find a way to follow their dreams, but having that support and mentoring can take a few unneeded bumps out of the road. Wishing I lived a little closer though!

Who will you inspire today?

How #WeLiveMilk

 

#WeLiveMilk

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June 1st may be World Milk Day, but last week at the World Dairy Expo I was living milk every day! This is most likely the reason why DeLaval’s new #WeLiveMilk campaign resonated so much with me. Every moment at the Expo I was surrounded by exhibitors featuring everything from feed and nutrition to barns and milking equipment. Not to mention the cow shows, food vendors (ice cream to grilled cheese to deep fried cheese curds). Thousands of people whose very livelihoods relied on the dairy industry either through ownership or employment were there.

Love these girls!

The place was a constant buzz of excitement, and it wasn’t hard to get caught up in the high energy, especially at the DeLaval booth. I loved seeing visitors  get the chance to record on camera how exactly they lived milk. Some were owners, some herd managers. Some had never set foot in a barn but it was that bowl of cereal or glass of milk that connected them to dairy. One such visitor was a herd manager who had convinced her friends to come along. It was the perfect way to “live milk”, by inviting her friends and engaging them in her dairy experience.

According to DeLaval, that’s the exact point of  the #WeLiveMilk campaign. to encourage people to share their stories about their passion for milk.

Which got me thinking, how exactly do I “live milk”?

I ‘live milk’ by sharing. By sharing the love I have for agriculture, I represent it with the honesty, integrity, and transparency that is vital to its continuing growth. By sharing, we not only educate but we engage, and somewhere along the way, hopefully, inspire. If #WeLiveMilk and share that experience, we might just be able to change someone’s perspective; and changing someone’s perspective can change everything.

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Checking out the World Dairy Expo 2016!

World Dairy Expo 2016!

Out in the country the local farm show is always a much looked forward to event. Family, friends, employees all manage to get at least a few hours off from the farm to take a tour around. Now in my little ‘town’ of Ottawa we usually reach an audience of 10,000-12,000 visitors a year at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show.  Pretty darn good, or so I thought until last week when I made my way down to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI .

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The second I stepped onto that blue carpet I realized this was an entirely different ball game. The 350 exhibitors at my hometown’s farm show were quickly over shadowed by the 881 here; plus more than 70,000 visitors and multiple world-class dairy cow shows. The grounds were expansive and the energy palatable!

 

Visiting with DeLaval

At the DeLaval booth I had the chance to help out with the filming for their #WeLiveMilk campaign. It was amazing to hear the different stories and ways people “live milk”. Next (and this was my favourite part!) I grabbed some DeLaval hats/shirts and toured around giving away some free swag!  I loved talking with everyone and learning about their roles in agriculture and seeing all the support!

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An afternoon with Locket & Dan from Blondin!

Once the afternoon hit I managed to take a quick peek-around while I taste tested the commemorative 50th anniversary ice cream flavours (A-mazing!). I have to admit though, the best part was getting out to the show barns! Getting up close and personal with the top show cows was incredible. Coming from a small town they really set the standards in perfection. I had no idea the amount of work that went into keeping these cows in top shape- daily showers, fans to keep them cool at all times, soft comfy bedding, and a stable hand to tend to their every whim 24/7. No kidding! One especially pampered cow I had the privilege of meeting was Locket, of the Blondin lines. Stunning girl and the visit was complete with an impromptu run down on genomics!

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Turns out I got to go home with some sweet swag myself- win! There was so much to do and see, there was no way I could do it all in one day, and the show continues to grow at a rate of 15% each year. This just reflects not only the amount of effort that goes into the show and the industry as a whole, but the demand that there is for dairy products and the interest dairy consumers have in our work.

I’d like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to the DeLaval team! They were such a great group, and were so welcoming; it was hard not to feel like a part of the family. They truly represent the commitment and passion within our industry!

What a great day, and an amazing team!

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So once again, thank you, I am so blessed to have been able to experience the World Dairy Expo with everyone! I highly recommend checking it out for yourself if you ever get the chance. It’s well worth the trip! Who knows, maybe I’ll see you down there next year! 🙂

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DeLaval VMS PROductivity Tour Cont…

It always amazes me just how much farm tours can pack into one day! So many things to see, and so much information to absorb! Now here’s a continuation of yesterday’s post and the DeLaval VMS PROductivity Tour!

Next we headed to Kastenschmidt Farms.

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Doug & his wife run a 120 milking herd with 2 DeLaval robotic milkers.  The barn was retro-fitted in 2012 to address the consistent labour required while his wife was recovering from back issues. The older portions of the barn are still used for dry cow treatments, breeding, and vet work. They place a high emphasis on nutrition as the key to production, and work very closely with their nutritionist.

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“Work with what you’ve got and grow with that. It’s 90% management.”

Doug shares his opinion, “Refurbishing a barn is a viable option and a cost effective way for new and aspiring farmers. Work with what you’ve got and grow with that. It’s 90% management.” He also noted that length and placement of teats are a contributing factor to the ease of milking a cow with robotics, and something they focused on when selecting replacement heifers.

Last but not least, Damerow Brothers Farm.

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Here we had the extreme privilege of meeting Tim Damerow who runs the 740 acre farm with his 70 year-old uncle. The farm switched to DeLaval robotics in 2012 and together they have 120 milking Holsteins. Tim operates under the reasoning that cow comfort is of the utmost importance.

“Cow comfort is key. This is our top priority and has directed the entire design of the barn. Comfort first, then you incorporate everything else”

A special thank you to Tim Damerow, the dairy industry needs more genuine and authentic farmers who can just chill & talk farming!

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One interesting point that I do want to mention is the fact that all three farms toured sited a lack of reliable labour as a contributing factor in their decision to switch to robotics. This comes as no surprise to many as it’s a prevalent problem on many farms. However, it is still a little deflating to hear especially with Canada’s unemployment rate currently at 7% and the US sitting at 5%. Given, Wisconsin is lower at 4.4% but there has got to be a better way to facilitate connectivity between farms and those looking for employment.

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Back on track, I’d like to thank these farmers and their families for hosting our group as part of the DeLaval VMS PROductivity Tour! It was a great experience being a part of such a passionate and inquisitive group of people. We appreciate so much that you were willing to share your farm, your time, and your story with us. A huge “thank you” to DeLaval for organizing this awesome tour and inviting me to be a part of it!

If you have a farm and you ever get the chance to host a tour, I would strongly encourage it. You never know who you might inspire and by changing someone’s perspective, you can change everything!

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Day 1: DeLaval Robotic VMS PROductivity Tour

 Hands down the best part of my job:

Farm Tours. 

When you’re at home doing your thing, you know the routine, what to do, how long it’s going to take etc. and that’s great! But, I get so excited when I have the opportunity to travel and see other farms. You get to compare stats, see what equipment they’re using and evaluate the farm’s efficiency. Also, how does their productivity tie into their everyday family life? If and how they’re planning on growing their farm, and what would they do differently? Different barns, different animals… there is such a variety within the agriculture industry, no two farms are ever the exact same! Guess how pumped I was when DeLaval invited me to visit the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI and attend their DeLaval Robotic VMS PROductivity Tour!!

Robots are still relatively new, the first VMS (Voluntary Milking System) made its public debut in September 1998. Essentially, with this new technology a cow is able to move and interact freely with other cows in a free-stall barn. She then visits robotic milking station when she chooses, going in of her own free will. If you’re not fully up to speed on what this is, I have a couple good sources of information here & here. For now though, let’s move on with the tour; I can’t wait to share it with you!

First up, we traveled to Krejchik Farms.

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 Joe and his wife, Karen, made the decision to retro fit their old barn 3 1/2 years ago due to a lack of available labour.  They now have 2 DeLaval VMS robots servicing 120 cows. Although they did have to downsize from a previous herd of 300 cows, they feel that it has really improved their efficiency and productivity. It really lets the farm grow and diversify in other ways.

They’ve taken that automation a step further by building a separate calf barn and installing a CF1000 automatized calf feeder. I thought this was particularly interesting as every dairy farm I’ve worked on has always had the calves in their own individual hutches. Here, calves are put into groups within large pens. They are able to run, jump, socialize and go to feed whenever they want. Karen, particularly likes the fact that is gives them the option to feed powdered milk replacer, pasteurized milk from the farm, or a mix of the two depending on theirs and the calves’ preferences and requirements. Another way the Krejchiks use automation to help feed their animals is by using a DeLaval feed pusher FPM3000. This automated feed pusher can be programmed to push feed back towards the feedbunk at intervals of the farmer’s choosing. It’s a great way to ensure your cows get the nutrition they need without having to rely on manual labour!

 

delavalvmsprotour1delavalvmsprotour2Nowadays chores in both the morning and evening take just 1 1/2-2 hours, with more time being dedicated to individual cow care. If a cow does not come in to be milked within a certain time limit the herd management system will call the farmer to go find the cow. Joe said, “The midnight phone calls are infrequent, and not all the bad. Well worth the convenience of having VMS robots.”

Having just come from a conference addressing women in agriculture Karen and myself of course got talking on the topic. I love what she had to say.

“Back a generation, the guys generally didn’t teach girls about the mechanical aspects of farming. We made sure to teach our girls everything; how to plant, pour concrete, fix equipment. Some girls may not do something simply because she doesn’t know how. It can be even more of an issue if she also doesn’t know how to ask. Ask someone. Ask someone to teach you. Always Ask, Always Learn, Always Support!”- Karen Krejchik

This really resonated with me because a while back I was in a position where I messed up because I didn’t know how to clarify something. I was sooo embarrassed when I found out that I ‘d made this simple mistake. I didn’t go back and avoided the issues instead of learning from it.

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I absolutely adored the bright blue boot covers DeLaval provided that just so happened to match their own corporate colour! It’s all in the details ;P

 I’ve got tons more pictures to share with everyone from this tour tomorrow as we cover the next two barns and meet a couple really cool farmers! Stay tuned for more from the DeLaval VMS PROductivity Tour! 🙂

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