Schwab Family Farm

Diary of the Schwab Family – January 10-16, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hello Monday!  We are off and running (as usual) but today is the first day of college classes for Lauren and Ryan since winter break.  Ryan is actually working this morning since Lauren has classes all day.  Ryan’s schedule is different from Lauren’s since they both try to schedule classes so they can still work on the farm and be here for the big day of the week, Thursday.  I know it’s hard to believe, but Lauren has been able to schedule her classes so she can be here on Thursdays every week for the past few years.  Ryan does a lot of the regular feeding and watering.  All feed is ground on the farm.  All bins are completely emptied on a monthly basis to maintain a high quality feed for our herd.  The feed guidelines and recommendations are from a swine feed specialist.  The bins are kept close to each building to make feeding time fast and efficient.  I’ve included a photo of Ryan in the middle of feeding time.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day!  Yikes!  The local school district called a snow day.  Toni takes the neighbor girl, who is also a member of our 4-H club, to school every day on her way to work, but not today.  Ryan was supposed go to the high school FFA office to work on his application for the American FFA Degree, which is the highest degree earned in the National FFA.  This meeting was cancelled due to the snow day, but will need to be rescheduled soon since the deadline to submit the application is approaching fast.  We can’t hibernate inside like school kids are doing today.  No matter what the weather, the animals are cared for.  The weather makes it especially hard on us, but the animals are always in a heated building and away from predators, such as the coyotes that frequent the area.  We discuss this issue all the time.  If the animals were out in the fields in the winter time, their ears and tails get frostbite, turn black, and fall off.  The hungry coyotes would get them.  We are actually suffering more than the animals this time of year because we are the ones fighting the cold and coyotes as we walk to the barns in pitch darkness.  We really do care and feel we are protecting the animals in the best way we know how.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SNOW DRIFTS!  Plan, plan, and plan ahead some more.  Last night with the bad weather, Ryan has been driving the 4-wheel drive work truck in our attempt to plan ahead so he wouldn’t get stranded in his smaller truck.  Unfortunately, it wouldn’t start for him.  We asked someone to go and jump the battery in the truck.  This worked, but it put everyone behind in the work by over an hour.  The snow and cold temperatures just makes everything harder.  The barns are harder to heat, and it is harder to walk and drive in it.  The feed bins freeze up, and so on.  Everyone tries so hard no matter how hard the wind is blowing or the temperature drops.  We can’t decide to call in sick like with other occupations.  We press on with pride because the animals are always top priority.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The big day of the week!  Rising in the wee hours of the morning in order to wean, load, and deliver the animals to another farmer on time.  He expects them at a certain time each Thursday and plans to have help to unload them according to transport quality assurance.  Even before any animals are taken to another farm, each pig receives the individual care that it needs to be healthy and profitable.  If sufficient milk is not received soon after the birth of a pig it could become weak.  In this case, we give them a nutritional supplement.  My family farm does everything possible to keep our pigs healthy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ryan will be here to do all the morning feeding, watering, and other tasks as time allows.  He rescheduled his appointment to meet with his FFA adviser at the high school for this afternoon.  It was cancelled earlier this week due to the snow.  He will be finishing the application for his American FFA degree.  In May of 2010, Ryan also was first in the state of Ohio for swine production and received the award at the Ohio FFA State Convention.  You can only imagine how proud we are to have him recognized for all his hard work on the farm.  I’ve attached a photo of him receiving his award. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I know that Toni has mentioned a lot about doing all the end of the year bookwork, but actually the bookwork is done consistently all year long, there is just more of it at the end of the year.  One of the things we are good at is keeping records.  Part of our records includes regular visits by our veterinarian.  A healthy sow herd is vital to the success of our operation.  Herd health visits are done on a monthly basis by our veterinarian.  We maintain a written vaccination program which is done with recommendations from our veterinarian. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Early or should I say, even earlier to rise today.  We all got up extra early in order to make the 10:30 a.m. church service.  We also had to plan ahead because in the early afternoon we attended a retirement reception for someone very devoted to the 4-H youth program in our county.  Whenever there is something important to do or attend, we must plan ahead so all the work gets done no matter what.  Kind of like a mailperson I suppose, always delivering the product not matter what comes our way.  Sometimes in order to get it all done, we must split up and each of us tackles a different area of the farm.  As for Toni, she goes to the off-site farm to feed, water, and check the animals.  The others take on the home farm. 





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