Friday, December 12, 2014

The Truth About Farms: Accidents Happen

If I close my eyes and think, it would take more than two hands to count the number of mothers I know who have had premature babies. I'm sure you know some too.

So I got to thinking. All of these women I know are fantastic people. They love their children. Given the opportunity to carry a baby full-term, it wouldn't have been a question. 

Did they do anything wrong? No!
Is it their fault? No!
What happened? Who knows.

My point is that no matter what these mothers did, they couldn't avoid having a preterm baby. It was an unfortunate event. Period.

Well folks, I'm here to tell you the same thing happens on farms. Gasp! I said it. I told you the truth, the dark side. The not-so-flowery, non public approved, it really happens fact of the matter.

I can't tell you how many seminars I've attended where people say: some things don't need to be shared to the public. If it isn't pretty, don't tell people because people don't want to know.

Well, if you don't want to know, don't read this article.

But, just like life and just like humans, sad things happen on a farm too. And I don't believe that people want things "hidden".

No matter what farmers do, calves are going to be born early. Some will break their legs. Some get sick.

Now, before you point fingers, stop and ask yourself if your child has ever caught a cold or broken their arm??

Yeah, mhmm, not so fair to bash on farmers when you see a calf in a cast. Farmers care and love their animals just the same, but accidents happen. And unlike your two or three children, farmers could have 20 or 200 to take care of.

Let me show you some examples.

This spring, we had a calf born who's front feet were turned up. They weren't broken, they were perfectly normal. The problem was, he was probably turned funky inside the womb and the tendons in his feet didn't form right. All we had to do was put some casts on and force him to stand up.

Did he wanna do it? Nope, it hurt! Was he in pain? Maybe a little. But, here's the deal, if we didn't force him to get up and walk, he was never going to walk.

(I named him Forrest because we had to "give him new legs".)

It broke my heart holding him up and making him walk because I knew he didn't like it. But the day he stood up and walked on his own, he ran! He jumped and played and ran because for the first time in his life he could walk.

It was worth it.

Here's another one. I named this little girl AnnaBelle. She was born about 2 months early.  When she was born, she was tiny! Her hair wasn't completely formed, and she was too weak to stand. We kept her under heaters for weeks.

Even when she was 2 months old, she was smaller than a baby that was a day old. I wish I had pictures of when she was a baby.

But, here she is today, at 4 months old. She's some kind of spunky. I think she knows she got more attention than the other babies.

So, yes, accidents happen on a farm. I'm sorry to tell you but it does. It breaks our hearts the same as yours. 

Here's what I'm asking. Think of a farm the same as people. Because accidents happen and we're not perfect. 

But what I can assure you is that farmers and ranchers have dedicated their lives to improving animal care and minimizing accidents the best they can. It's our job as farmers to provide for animals; you'll be hard pressed to find an occupation where people care more than that of agriculture.

So here's to you farmers: for induring the heartache and pain of running a farm when running away sounds like a far better plan.

I'll tip my hat every day and pray for ya. Thanks for providing for the animals that provide for us.  Thanks mom and dad. Thanks to ya all.


  1. Agreed, and yeah there are the minority of farmers who aren't like this. But they're the minority and unfortunately when the public nonfarmers hear about anything they do, the rest of us are treated with the same disrespect as if we do the same thing. Life ain't all rosey like some people think, especially in the agriculture industry it's extremely stressful at times. But, what is the point in farming if we aren't caring for the animals that will keep food on our tables?

  2. Thank you for your post. I like the way you relate the stories in your blogs to different happenings on out day to day live. Thank you for sharing.

  3. We've have a backyard chicken flock. For some reason, once in a while a chicken will have broken leg. Though they don't show it, I know they are in pain or at least are suffering. most of the time I wonder what to do to make their life better