Life Lessons from Showing Cattle

Posted on August 12, 2015

Generations of former 4-H and FFA members will tell you about the many life lessons learned from participating when you are young. Children and teens benefit greatly from many different activities that are available to them through school and extracurricular groups. One such life-lesson building activity is showing cattle. Showing cattle is a great way to give someone a structured and purposeful childhood, not to mention many life lessons that can be learned in the process.

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Responsibility

Let's get the most obvious one out of the way first; responsibility. Showing cattle requires daily work, a strict schedule, and the consistency to commit even when you don’t feel like it. Cattle must be fed and worked with on a daily basis; bad weather, good weather, rain or shine- cattle (like some teens) respond best to consistency and routine.

Time Management

With great responsibility comes the need for time management skills. Kids and teens are busier today than they have ever been; sports, homework, spending time with friends- even elementary-aged children have a schedule. Dividing your time up efficiently is a skill cattle showers need to master in order to become successful.

Patience

Breaking in and training any animal is hard, but no one is going to make a cow do anything against its own will. The first few months, especially, can be very stressful, and it takes patience and dedication to stick with the training. Learning to be patient is important and can take some time, but if you can be patient enough to train stubborn cattle, you will be more than prepared for working with stubborn people.

Strong Work Ethic

Learning responsibility, time management, and patience will end in one thing- an incredible work ethic. Seeing months of hard work pay off in the end shows kids that consistency and hard work do pay off and that if you want something hard enough and work at it, you can achieve your goals.

Winning Isn’t Everything

On the other hand, hard work does not always pay off. Even the most well-intentioned and dedicated people don’t always finish first. Working hard and losing can teach a person much more than reaping in benefits without much effort. Learning that you won’t always win just because you put in the hard work teaches kids that losing is a part of life just as much as winning. Learning to deal with disappointment is just as important as any other life lesson. Some of the most successful people in the world are not the nicest or most genuine because they never learned to be humble.

Showing cattle isn’t always just about winning or losing. There are many life lessons to be learned along the way. Perhaps the most important lesson of a parent is to show support and let their children learn these lessons on their own.

 

Dairy Cow Nutrition- Starting Early

Posted on July 01, 2015

Dairy cows are a lot like humans, nutrition is a very important part of their life from the very beginning. There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your calves grow to become healthy cows.

 

According to The Holstein Foundation, a dairy cow gains 70% of its weight in the last 60 days before birth. This means the health and nutrition of the mother is very important during this period to help ensure the calf is born healthy. Cows that are properly fed and immunized produce higher quality colostrum, which is the first milk that a cow produces after giving birth. Colostrum is very essential for newborn calves because they are born without a working immune system. Colostrum supplies the calf with antibodies that help the calf fight off infections and stay healthy.

 

bottle feeingBottle feeding is preferred over bucket feeding at a young age; why is that? When a calf has to lift its head and suck from the bottle this allows the milk to be diverted from the rumen and straight into the omasum or abomasum. This is very helpful for the calf because the rumen does not start functioning properly until the calf is about 60 days old. The more often a calf is fed, the better the calf will grow. Most dairy farmers feed the calves twice a day, but adding a third feeding during the day can be extremely beneficial to the calves growth.

 

Once the calf reaches one week old, offer a calf starter. Calf starter is a feed that includes pellets and corn. The calf might not take it at first, but it is important to always have fresh starter feed available to the calf. Along with starter feed, good quality alfalfa should be offered in small quantities. This will help the calf’s rumen to develop properly.

 

Remembering these few simple things are a great way to ensure a strong and healthy life for your dairy cows. For more information on dairy and nutrition visit the dairy page of our website.

 

National Dairy Month

Posted on June 01, 2015

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This June marks the 78th annual National Dairy Month. Originating in 1937, it was called National Milk Month and intended to promote drinking milk. Now, the month of milk has expanded to shine light on and celebrate the contributions the dairy industry provides for the world. There are many benefits to dairy products, besides being tasty.

 

Dairy is good for your body

We’ve all heard “milk helps build strong bones.” But what does that really mean? Milk is packed with vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A and D. All four of these help strengthen your bones by replacing the vitamins and minerals your body uses up to keep your bones strong. And it’s not just your bones that milk helps either; it also strengthens and keeps your muscles and bones strong.

 

Dairy is part of a balanced breakfast

Every day should begin with breakfast. Studies have shown that kids who start their day off with a nutritional breakfast perform and behave better in school. There are a wide variety of dairy foods to help your child do well in class. If you and your child are tired of having a bowl of cereal for breakfast, there are plenty of fun breakfast recipes for kids and adults to keep each meal fun and healthy.

 

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Dairy promotes sustainability

Dairy farmers implement a variety of sustainability practices to ensure their farms are using the resources on hand to the fullest. These practices also ensure the best quality of care for their livestock. Healthy cows produce healthy and wholesome dairy foods, which is why dairy farmers provide only the best feed for their cows.

 

AgVenture Feed & Seed provides both natural and organic feed products to keep cows healthy and producing nutrient-rich milk. This June, celebrate dairy month with your family, and celebrate an industry that is pivotal to America and will continue to for years to come.

 


Summer Activities With Your Pet

Posted on May 05, 2015

Hanging out with your cat or dog doesn’t have to mean just going for a walk and playing with toys. Getting your pet outside regularly is good for their spirits because they get to experience scenery outside of your home and you also get to spend some quality time together. Trying some new activities with your pet will bring you closer together. According to  PetCareRx, there are so many other things you and your pet might love to do together! In case you are stuck, here are some ideas:

 

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  • Take your pet to a hospital or nursing home to spread their love and cheer with others. Some of the patients or elderly may get lonely in the hospital or nursing home, so they might really appreciate some warm cuddles from your furry friends to cheer them up!

 

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  • Your pet might enjoy a new piece of furniture made especially for them. Whether they are inside or outside pets, you can build a variety of pet houses or furniture to fit their personality. For example, if you have an outdoor cat that likes to climb trees, a little treehouse for your cat might be perfect.

 

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  • You want be prepared when you take your pet out during the summer, so be prepared. Have travel supplies and toys for summer playing. Also, you don’t want to forget a travel water bowl for your furry friend! Another thing your dog might like to beat the heat is a dog ice pop made just for them!

 

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  • If you and your pet have an artistic side, makesome paw art. Just dip your pet’s paws in paint and press on canvas for a wonderful way to decorate your house. If you have more than one pet, try this project for multiple paws.  

 

Now that you have some unique ideas for having fun with your pet, go out and enjoy! Don’t forget to snap a few photos to submit them to our cutest pet contest for a chance to win a free bag of pet food!

 

How to Maintain the Hygiene of your Poultry

Posted on April 29, 2015

‘Tis the season to be gawking over baby chicks! Whether you live in a rural or urban area, you will want to do your research on how to properly care for a chicken before you purchase one. Here are a few things you should know before you get started:

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Nutrition:

Chickens need clean water and fresh food every day. To keep your chickens from getting sick, you will want to clean the food and water dishes daily as well. This will keep bacteria from building up in the dishes. According to United Poultry Concerns, chickens also need fresh dark leafy greens (in addition to grains and seeds) to keep them healthy.

 

Coop Maintenance:

There should always be fresh, fluffy straw for the chickens to lay on. Droppings should be scooped out daily to prevent your feathered friends from getting sick. Your chicken coop should also have a lock on it to keep your hens safe from predators. You always want to count your chickens and lock up the coop at night to protect them.

 

Hygiene:

Chickens, like any other pet, need baths. Backyard Poultry warns that chickens are prone to lice, mites, tick and chigger bites, and external parasites. Bathing them will help soothe their skin from the bites and help keep the pests at bay. Another way to help prevent external parasites is to dust or spray them. This will help repel unwanted pests.

 

When giving a chicken a bath, you don’t want to fully submerge the chicken in the water. You want to gently place the bird in the water and use your hands to wet its feathers and rinse out the shampoo. When the bird is done in the bathtub, you can do more detailed cleaning. When they come out of the tub and are wrapped in a towel is a good time to clip their nails and clean their feet with an old toothbrush. Their nails will be a little softer and easier to clip when they are straight out of the bathtub. You will also want to clip and file the top beak so it matches the bottom one. Then, gently blow dry your chicken and you’re all done. Remember, chickens can catch cold, so make sure they are completely dry and in a draft-free area.

 

Now that you know how to keep your chickens clean and healthy, you can visit our website to learn more about poultry.

 

Ag Week 2015 is March 15th - 21st!

Posted on March 16, 2015

This year, Ag Week is March 15th – 21st and National Ag Day is March 18th! Every year, Ag Day is hosted by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). National Ag Day was established to recognize and celebrate the abundance of American agriculture and value within every Americans daily lives. Below outlines the beliefs of the National Ag Day Program.

                                

  1. Understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced.

  2. Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

  3. Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

  4. Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries.

 

 

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At AgVenture, a farmer’s life is our life. The principles that surround National Ag Day, not only support AgVenture’s Mission but our customer’s as well. If these principles are important to you, please share this information with others or read more at agday.org. Below outlines other ways to get involved:

 

Farmer’s Market: What way to better kick off spring and celebrate Ag Day than to host a local farmer’s market?  This event will highlight your local agriculture. The best way to make this event a hit is to have samples, games, and prizes.

Ag Day Breakfast: Invite the public and local government to join together and enjoy a delicious local breakfast to celebrate this special day. Ask your government leaders to be keynote speakers and highlight what agriculture is doing in your community.

Pizza Party: Host a pizza party at your local elementary school.  Explain to the children how farmers and agriculture have helped make the ingredients in this pizza possible.  This is a great hands on way to show how agriculture is making a difference in your community.

 

Petting Zoo: Host a petting zoo at the park where parents and children can come visit with the animals.  Ask your local farmers and ranchers to provide the animals. The community will be able to interact with not only the animals but their caretakers as well.

 

Library Display: Approach your public library and ask if you can set up a display during the day.  Your display can contain information and fun facts about agriculture.  Make sure your display is eye catching and can spark up conversation with library patrons.

 

While all of these ideas are a great way to celebrate Ag Day, the possibilities are endless.  To learn more about to plan a successful Ag Day event, please visit the Ag Day Website! Have a happy Ag Day, and don’t forget to thank your local farmer!

 

What to Keep in Mind when Building your Own Chicken Coop

Posted on March 05, 2015

 

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Backyard chicken coops are booming right now! Having fresh eggs anytime you need them is a huge benefit to keeping your own chickens. Chickens are also very low maintenance, which makes them easy to keep in your yard, however you will want to build a coop that is comfortable and effective for your feathered friends. Here are some tips to make a great chicken coop:

 

Building Materials

The size of the screening and wood you will need to buy depends on how many chickens you want to have and what you have space for. This Old House recommends a 4-by-8 foot screened in portion and a 4-by-4 foot enclosed coop for 3 hens. If you want more than 3 hens, you would need to go a bit bigger for them to be comfortable.

 

Hen Comfort

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Don’t forget nesting boxes and roosting perches when building your chicken coop! Chickens need comfortable places to rest and lay their eggs. Adding some lighting on the inside of the coop will also help provide a warm, comfortable space for the chickens to live when it’s cold outside. Keep predators away by using a proper lock that cannot be opened by an animal to lock your flock up at night. You will also want to make sure that your coop has vents to let hot air escape in the summer. Chickens will get sick if the air in their coop doesn’t circulate well enough, and the extra heat will inhibit egg-laying.

 

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Coop Design

The most convenient design for a backyard chicken coop is a walk-in design. It makes it convenient for you to clean and give your chickens fresh food and water. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your design! A chicken coop doesn’t have to be a boring wood box. You can hang flowers on it, paint it, hang pictures on the inside, etc. — it’s your coop, so don’t be afraid to decorate it to match your personality.

 

Now that you have your housing planned, learn more about how to care for your chickens!

 


Hobby Farming a Garden

Posted on February 27, 2015

Gardening is a great hobby to have during the warmer seasons of the year. Gardening gets us outside and moving around, not to mention provides fresh fruits and vegetables in our own backyard. Have you ever considered turning your smaller garden into a hobby garden? If you decide to take it one step further, here are some things you will want to consider:

 

Research what grows well in your region.

If you are fairly new to gardening, you will want to do some research about what will grow well in your area. Some of the simplest fruits and vegetables to grow in Minnesota are:

 

  • Fruits: apples, blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, currants, chokecherries, gooseberries, grapes, honeydew, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon

 

  • Vegetables: sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, rhubarb, peas. potatoes, onions, cucumbers, cauliflower, bell peppers, celery, carrots, beets

 

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Take a look at what will be in season when you want to grow and sell.

It will be easier to sell items that are in season because there will be a demand for them. People want to use recipes with whatever fruits and vegetables are in season before they are gone and the prices will go up to attain them out of season. For example, in the summer in Minnesota, there are tons of dishes and desserts that are made with strawberries because they are in season during that time.

 

Don’t go overboard with how many fruits and vegetables you grow.

Start your hobby garden small so you can get a feel for what it will be like. If you are wanting to use your hobby garden for a little extra cash, you want to make sure you will turn a profit. When you’re starting out, you might want to choose two fruits and two vegetables.

 

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Join a farmer’s market.

The way you’re going to learn about successful hobby farming and make money is through joining a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are full of experienced farmers and shoppers who would be willing to share their experience with you, so you can gain perspective on what the market is like. They are also a helpful place to observe what shoppers are attracted to and what others are selling.

 

There are many things you might have to think about when turning your home garden into a hobby garden, but the most important thing to remember is that it is a HOBBY, so have fun with it!

 

Caring for Your New Puppy

Posted on February 03, 2015

familyGetting a new puppy can be one of life’s greatest joys. If you want to get a puppy or have already brought one into your family, here is what you will need to know while making the transition in your home:

Puppy-proof your home. Make sure you have the proper supplies to make your new puppy transition as easy as possible. Create a shopping list before you bring your new pet home. Include supplies such as food, water bowls, grooming items, chew toys,  a kennel/crate and bedding, a collar and leash, an indoor gate (if needed), identification tag, potty pads, bones and so forth. For the first couple of months, you will want to create an area in your house where the puppy will be spending most of their time. This means removing loose electrical cords, putting away chemicals, removing rugs, plates, and any breakable items. 


Create a schedule for your pup so that they begin to adapt and understand the daily life in your household. Start a schedule for feeding, play/exercise and toileting. Once you have your newest family member, be sure to feed him or her at consistent times to avoid gastric distress. Also, be sure to read the labels and ingredients in the dog food that you purchase. AgVenture has a variety of high quality brand pet food and offers many formulas based off of your pet’s nutritional needs according to age, breed and activity level. (Keep in mind that it is good to have pet food that is highly digestible.) Puppies that are eight to twelve weeks old need approximately four meals a day since they are growing. Puppies that are three to six months old require three meals a day. Feed puppies that are six months to one year old about two times a day. 


doggyIncorporate lots of play and exercise. In order to keep your dog healthy and active, they will need lots of play and exercise. This is not only good to stimulate their minds and to burn calories, but to also help them avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors. 


Regular grooming is also very important. Be sure to frequently brush your dog’s hair to reduce shedding. Grooming not only makes your pet look good, but also makes them feel good. Dogs typically will only need to be washed a couple times a year, however, many owners prefer to do this much more often, especially if the dog is kept indoors. Young puppies like to make a mess and sometimes require more frequent bathing, which is a good habit to get into and will accustom your pet to baths. Also keep in mind to be checking for fleas and ticks during warmer weather periods.


puppyTraining can be the most important aspect to a new pet. Well-behaved and disciplined dogs are a joy to be around, while wild, untrained dogs are sometimes a nuisance and can frustrate owners enough that they give up on the dog and put them up for adoption. The basic rules for dogs are sit, stay, heel, down and so forth. If you have a new puppy, teach these manners as soon as possible. Young dogs actually crave obedience and are eager to learn. The younger your pet starts learning, the more adaptable they are to rules. A new puppy can seem like a lot of work, however, there is nothing more enjoyable than adding a new member to your family. Get the hard work out of the way ahead of time, and you will enjoy a happy, adapted and well-behaved dog for years.


AgVenture Customer - Alan Barka
2014 Star Farmer Finalist

Posted on January 14, 2015