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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

I fully understand what you are saying about sizeable dairy.  We have some couple thousand cow dairies in the area and at least one 20,000 cow dairies in the state.   But 400 cows isn't a small dairy especially when they are growing all the feed and own the feed mill in the local town.  And they run what looks like a very well run operation.  The operation is feeding quite a few families which is enough to impress me.  Regardless of the chosen path in animal agriculture now days that isn't always easy.  I fully expect the son to do well in proficiencies. 

 We do around a hundred thousand chickens, ducks, turkeys, and pigs a year on pasture.  Not a sizeable operation at all as far as poultry and pigs goes until you add the "on pasture" and on-farm full USDA inspected processing and sales to the best white table cloth restaurants in the country.  Our annual sales are significantly higher than a 400 cow dairy.  And I know that you say size "isn't relevant".  But I think size and uniqueness are very relevant.  We are the biggest pastured poultry operation in the country.  I know she will have to catch the right judges because some are going to have that same attitude that she is somehow an enemy of conventional farmers because she is producing a product that consumers demand and are willing to pay a premium for.  That is the only reason I even put this post up here is because Bruce and a few others will see the irony in the "We've all got to stick together as farmers" mantra and that is unless you aren't farming like us.

   

Our FFA program had three teachers and advisors until I was a sophomore in high school.  Our school has a 70 acre school farm.  Its a very unique program.  Like I said and I'll repeat.  I'm not the only one that expects big things out of all of the FFA students at our school.  I don't care if people run me down.  I'm not too happy when they run my daughter down for paths I've chosen.  Once again though I was very impressed with how she handled herself.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

The proficiency only deals with the expenses of the enterprise, not the entire business. One of the few times other enterprises are included is in the diversified categories. Otherwise, each has to be accounted against the other. You may think size is important, but growth is even more so. Maintaining a 500 dairy herd throughout high school may help with the size factor you mentioned. However if the student starts with a couple of dry cows housed at a neighbor and grows the SAE to a 100 cow dairy on the farm, now that is outstanding progress!

 

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Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

The FFA is a great opportunity for kids, sure your kid will do well, belarus.

 

You guys who raise pigs for Niman, how many sows do you run?

 

I got a chuckle out of the idea that outfits like Niman can't access enough product, they have lost enough producers over the past 8 years to be marketing 3 times the amount of pork they do now.

 

As long as "natural pork" is accepted by whole foods, trader joes, etc. that israised in confinement without anti-biotics, the demand will not be there for the nimans of the world to  pay the producers enough to really make it work.

 

What really aggrevates me about niman is that they have several prices for their hog farmers, depending on who they are and how they access pigs.  Their contracting methods on preferential pricing are just as bad as any of the packers.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

What I've been hearing about them is that the bottom end of the carcasses kill them and that they don't have any mechanisms in place to aleviate that. The wholesale product is sold on the basis of concept, not so much any definition of quality. And the confinement gentics don't work outside, so they've got an inherent paradox to deal with.

 

Not sure, but I'd guess that many of their producers use convenience genetics. This concept would have been a really good deal circa 1970-1980 with the hogs we had then. Now it's down to just a choice between monocultural company hogs or an arbitrary "heritage" pool. Only option would be would be to use some of the lines that the few remaing independent breeders use and with their base of a large number of commercial farrow to finisher boar customers 99% gone the only thing they have left to do is to breed for the show pig business; and those Westminster Dog Show" hogs are absolutely unsuitable for human consumption, no matter what system they are raised under.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Bruce and Nox, Kid getting the same treatmeant....you'll like the story

Here is an examply from the latest National Convention why I'm saying that size isn't all important.

http://www.farmprogress.com/story.aspx/nl12_2nl/nebraskans/are/star/performers/at/ffa/9/43663

I wish her all the luck in her proficiency areas. If she has experience in multiple enterprises on your farm, processing plant, and sales, she should apply in all. 

 

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