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Senior Contributor

D day

Well decision day is here.  Had a dealer come this morning & look at our cows.  Almost said "girls" as that's how we feel about them, most days.

 

He's our feed rep who also does this on the side.  We'd made the comment that it's getting time to quit a few months back and he has a farm who is interested.  Looking at the cows, telling us what a good herd they are and how well they will go actually made it hard.  If we could just find some part time help. 

 

And then mom called twice with health issues while he was here.  By the 2nd call my eye started twitching from nerves.  LOL Well, actually not LOL.

 

Know we can't do this forever but now need to decide if now or next year.  If we had more land to farm that would be a bit different.  Shoot, it's just hard even though everyone says there is life after milking.

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9 Replies
Honored Advisor

Re: D day

Linda, giving up our own herd of sows, to come into this wean-to-feeder contract operation we built in 1995, was one of the hardest things we have had to do in our business lives. We picked every one ourselves, either from breeders or our own litters. Over the years, we weeded out problem attitudes, so had a very happy herd. I can still picture some of our " girls".

I hope that whatever decision you make about timing, you prepare yourselves for the vast expanses of time and energy that you expend on milking and its associated work now. It can feel like a free-fall, if you aren't busy enough...maybe not as busy as now, but not totally at loose ends, either.

If you ever start missing all the rules and regs, let me know, so I can smack you out of it!
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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

A tough decision I know.  We had a couple of people look at the farm last year.  But prices were not where we need them to be at.

Now the youngest is saying he wants to come home to the farm when he is done with the military.  So hubby will move heaven and earth to hang on til he is sure.  Gets harder all the time.  We do have very good employees though.  We could never ever do all the work at this size by ourselves.  And would never consider contracting to a size that could be handled by two people.  Would be economic disaster I think.  Besides I don't want to work that hard.  Was one thing when we were younger, but it would be ridiculous and almost impossible now.

Right now we have way too many young stock.  Been working on trying to convince him to sell some, but he seems to think I'm just complaining about the crowding..  They are going to become an economic drag if we don't go into expansion mode, and our site just doesn't lend itself well to further expansion.

We've had quite a few conversations about what we would do without the farm.  Still no really good ideas.  Wouldn't really want to stay here because no family in the area.

But anyway we'll keep working for several more years til the youngest is in a position to make his decision.  Don't want to take this option away from him if it should really turn out to be what he wants.  But we actually hope that when he see a little more life and meets more people he see there are better options than farming in this little Podunk town.

So good luck to you and your family Linda.  Hope things turn out the way you want.

As for selling your girls.  I feel for you.  I'm kind of beyond that.  It's different now with 250, and me not milking them every day.  But if we had sold when we were smaller and I was doing all the milking it would have been almost like selling my children.  People that don't work with dairy cows don't realize just what they are really like.  They have so much personality and individualism.  Like a young vet that did a preg check for us said when a heifer was being goofy.  "ya just gotta love em". 

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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

I understand too. I will always remember that last load of sows that left and the last load of feed we ground. Just found some pictures of the sows yesterday. It was difficult but a good decision although the feeder pigs were good fit for us at the time.

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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

Got a call this evening that the buyers can come tomorrow if we are still interested in selling.  Instead of going to a farm in northern Illinois where we were told would be a good home,  they would probably be split up.  Makes that decision much harder.

 

What a zoo at my place.  DIL on the cell phone to DS in a "loud conversation" about something or other, 2 grandkids hollering at the screen door for grandpa to come out & throw a few balls, DH on phone to in between guy about cows, and my mom calling about when I was coming in to help her put the new batteries in her new hearing aids!!

And through all this we are to make a life changing decision?!

 

Wish we would have had more notice that we needed to make the decision; that the price was honored possibly plus more.  DH just  said "what will I do?"  HARD HARD HARD!

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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

pray pray and pray!  I will!

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Honored Advisor

Re: D day

If you have made the decision to sell out firmly and finally, then it is a matter of choosing where you want the girls to go. If you were just exploring the idea, then being rushed to figure out if this is the right time to give up dairying is monumental. Your husband's question-"what will I do?" -sounds more like the latter, if you quoted him directly.

If this is a huge decision point in your lives, making it with all that going on is probably unfair to both of you. Then again, if your hair is on fire, and selling the cows would tame the flames, so everything else is not as much of an over-demand on you, it may help you decide.

I will hold your family in my heart, as you make up your minds. As long as you decide for the right reasons, even a wrong decision can be the right one in the long run.
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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

Linda you have my prayers and thoughts as you decide on your future.

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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

To top it all off, DH said as we were milking last night that we can sell the cows this year and the farm next year.

I know it was partly coming from a depressed state of mind, but it blew my mind. 

 

I know this big old house is actually more than we need, and not energy efficient, but it's been our home for over 30 yrs. and we've put our heart & soul, and blood sweat & tears into this farm.  It doesn't even resemble pictures from the first year.

 

This morning I was in tears after a fitful night.  DH still very stoic.  He called the fellow & said we needed another week; we were both having a hard time.  The guy (our former feed rep.) said he knew how we felt.  He also milked for a long time.  You get disgusted & say "let's sell these cows now" and then when the time comes you realize they are so much a part of you.  The 2 buyers are going to come ahead & look at them but we don't have to let them go right away-Sept. if we want.  But I think they would be going to one of two dairies where they would never see a blade of grass.  Breaks my heart.  I'm in tears right now thinking of it.  They look so peaceful out in our pasture.  Deep in my heart I always hoped our oldest son would come in with us after he retired but he hasn't expressed a thought of it.  (3-4 more yrs.)  We've had beef cows, sheep, and sows and none have been so dear to our heart as dairying.  Good Lord, is there a therapy group for retired dairymen?

 

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Senior Contributor

Re: D day

So how old are some of your girls?  I don't know how long you keep them.  Hard decision.  i keep thinking on days my DH is disgusted with the cows, that he will throw his hands up and say to H with it.  i think he know how much i enjoy it and we like the income in the fall from the fats.  I suppose if you just downsized, you wouldn't have enough milk for the milk truck.  My BF's FIL sold a bunch of his dairy cows off and got beef cows.  I guess he went and bought 4 cows just to have them.  THey either throw the milk out or feed it to my BF's bottle calves.  The old guy can hardly walk, but he won't give up.

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