As I look back at this past year, I cannot help but feel incredibly blessed. We started out the year with the wonderful news that we were expecting our fourth child. Shortly after the new year, we signed papers making us the official owners of the farm we had been leasing the past eight years. I can honestly say that with the exception of the harsh winter we had been experiencing, we felt like we were on top of the world.
It wasn’t too far into my pregnancy that I began to get sick. I spent about four months either sick or sleeping. There were quite a few days that I slept for twenty hours. I fully expected to keep farming and traveling for my blog through the entire pregnancy. Unfortunately, that was not going to happen and I had to decline several trips and speaking engagements. I had to cancel speaking for the Washington State Dairy Women and traveling to D.C. on behalf of our cooperative, Darigold.
I was very fortunate to be able to present from my living room for the Alberta Farmer’s Care Conference and still squeak in a trip back East to tour veal farms and processing plants on behalf of the American Veal Association. My daughter and I helped hand out milk at the Northwest Harvest “Glow for Hunger Fun Run” as Dairy farmers of Washington were a proud sponsor of the event. Every registration could provide 100 meals for those in need and they had 800 kids registered. It was such a great experience for the both of us. Mid summer we received a visit from Natalina Sents on her final leg of the “Why I Farm” road trip sponsored by Beck’s Hybrids. Make sure to read the interview. While I was not quite as active as I was in 2016 , I feel like I did my part as a dairy farmer telling our farm story.
As the year went on, we experienced one of the wettest springs we have ever had. This resulted in flooded fields, damaged crops, a shorter growing season and it set us back on applying manure to the fields. All this resulted in a very stressful and costly spring. We entered the summer fairly confident in our water supply due to the winter/spring we had.
We bought cows from two other herds to increase our herd to milking 200 cows. This was the number we had originally planned on milking when our farm was established in 2009. It was so exciting bringing in some jersey/brown swiss cross cows. They fit in perfectly with our herd.
Mid summer we began struggling with having enough water for our herd.
As the summer continued, we had to bring in water to keep the cows watered and run the farm. As I sit here writing this, we currently have a well drilling rig parked in our back yard. It’s broke down and covered in snow. We are praying the new year brings us plenty of water to keep our girls happy without having to haul in water every day.
I could go into all the bumps along the way like the tree falling through the roof of our commodity bins or the loss of one of my favorite cows but that is just how it goes when you run a farm. Something always breaks, the cows always get out when you have some place to go and it’s always, ALWAYS your favorite cows that get sick and/or dies.
This year we said good-bye to some amazing girls. #108, #118, #117 & #290 you broke our hearts.
As amazing as it was to finally buy our farm and even though farming kind of kicked our butts this year; all the world seemed right when our youngest farm boy was born in August. He surprised us all at 9 lbs. 15 oz. Quite a shock for this momma who is used to seven pound babies. He did however fill a void we didn’t even know we had.
2017 is a year that will forever be engraved in our hearts and minds.
While my blog and social media were often neglected, I began writing for AgDaily and continued writing for Progressive Dairyman; two of my favorite agriculture publications. Here are some of my articles from each publication:
- We take our punches from activists and soldier on
- The Veal Industry Has Changed
- Farmers Are People Too- Strong yet vulnerable
- Is there a future in dairy farming?
- Every farmer should be telling their story
- Farm chores and compensating your kids
- Disunity amongst farmers does disservice to ag
- Farmers aren’t the only ones that deserve recognition
Here is a look back on some of our most popular farm moments on Instagram:
What a crazy year 2017 has been. While we may have hit some bumps along the way we are so blessed to have another year of farming under our belt’s. The absolute most exciting part of 2017 was welcoming our youngest farm boy to the family. He filled a void we didn’t even know we had. I want to thank everyone for following along with our farm and all the support you have shown. Here’s to 2018 and all the good times as well as possible bad times we are about to endure. #2017BestNine
I hope and pray that 2018 is kind to us and look forward to continuing to share our journey as a first generation dairy farm with all of you. Thank you for following along and for all of your support.
Latest posts by Krista Stauffer (see all)
- Must Have Books for a Horse Crazy Child - January 13, 2018
- A Look Back at 2017 - January 1, 2018
- Does Dairy Belong in a Balanced Diet During Pregnancy? - November 30, 2017
- Farm Feature: Mesman Farm - July 28, 2017