- Van Wert
Diary of Bethann Niederman - Niederman Family Farm
Friday, April 1
Up bright and early this morning to get 5 kids out the door for college and school. Not as early as when we milked dairy cows a few years ago. Dairy farmers get up very early to milk, feed, water and care for their dairy animals. This is a seven day a week job that last from sun-up until sun down. Often their chores have to be done before family activities because dairy cows have to be milked on a schedule, they just can't hold their milk. We loved being a part of the dairy industry for over 50 years. Dairy farmers are some of the most hard-working, committed people I know. Unfortunately, many diary farmers are struggling because of the high cost of feed, fuel and other input costs needed to operate a farm. That is wheat forced up to make a change 7 years ago on our farm. We couldn't pay the bills, period. It was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do, sell our cows that had been a part of our families lifestyle for 50 years. I am so thankful for Ohio's 3300 diary farm families who are dedicated and passionate about their dairy cows. Thanks to them, we all have plenty of high quality and safe diary products to enjoy. If you would like to learn more, go to ohiodiaryfarmers.com. Kida are all out the door for school, now it's time to do my outside chores….more on that tomorrow.
Saturday, April 2
Despite the cold weather, it is nice to hear the birds this morning. Their cheerful song assures me that warmer weather cannot be to far away. Elizabeth did chores this morning all of our kids take turns in the evening and on the weekends. It sure helps me out now that they are old enough to help. It was a challenge when they were younger. Our daily chores always include the animals. They must be feed, watered, pens cleaned and cared for. Most of our animals are now "pets" we use for our Farm Tours, Corn Maze and Birthday Parties. Chickens, guineas, turkeys, bunnies, goats, lambs, calves, and a pony all make their home at Niederman Family Farm. The working animals on our farm are the beef steers. We buy these animals that were born and raised to 400 lbs. at another farm. Bob then brings them to our farm to feed and care for them until they are ready for market at about 1300-1400 lbs. It is very common for farmers to specialize in one stage of the feeding and care of animals. Then the animals are sold to a different farmer who has the facilities and expertise in the animal's next stage of growth and development. Bob provides a free choice grain (steers always have grain in front of them, they eat when they want to), water, clean dry bedding and a well-ventilated barn for comfort. Because we have many farmers like Bob who take good care of their beef animals, we have plenty of nutrient rich beef available to us in the store.
Sunday, April 3
Sunday mornings always requires a little extra hustle at the Niederman household. Seven people through one bathroom, chores done and to church by 9:30.Again, it is nothing compared to having to get the cows milked before church too!On a farm the work has to be done no mater what day of the week it is or what the weather conditions or the season. Over the years farmers have started to specialize in one or two areas of production. Today's farms are nothing like our great-grandfathers farms would have been. Generations ago every farm had a few hogs, some sheep, two cows, a couple of chickens and a little crop land. Similar to what you would read about in a child's storybook. In order to feed our growing population, farmers have learned to do more with less inputs.
To keep our family on the farm we have diversified even more. I will share more about that tomorrow.