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Puyallup Spring Fair, WA 2019

The Puyallup Spring Fair starts on April 11th and runs thru the 14th. This is a pre-fair interview with Stacy Van Horne, Public Relations Manager. We talk a bit about the history of the fair, fair foods and what there is for kids and seniors to do. There is a lot of work that goes into putting this fair up and a lot of imagination. The have The Farm at Sillyville - which is a rather unique idea and very cool.  There is Creative Kids Entertainment and Brad's World Reptile Show, and BBQ Playoffs.  There are also Fireworks on Friday and Saturday evening. There is a KidZone and a Stunt Show. In Expo Hall they have too. This fair has a lot of everything. It makes you wonder how exactly it differs from the Washington State Fair that is later in the season.  Stacy and I talk about that. They are also known especially for Motorsports and Monster Trucks. The fair takes place on the Washington State Fairgrounds.                 ********************************************************************

Consider Farming? Consider Chickens?

Farming, it may seem complicated at first, but is in fact a simple process, the only question is it right for you. Some may think of farming as sitting back and watching over plants or livestock, but unless you can afford to pay people to work your land you will have to participate in the harvest and up keep. Now you may be thinking how you will be able to afford the land and provide other needed items that you are not producing. Well that is quite simple, while you may not be able to mass produce food like the large companies, you can produce more than your family needs to survive. With your extra food you can sell it at a farmers market or to friends. Now with all of the logistics out of the way an interesting topic looms:  Will you farm livestock or fruits and vegetables? If your a vegetarian your answer is simple, you will grow fruits and vegetables, however if you are not you still have a difficult decision. While both livestock and fruits and vegetables can yield a profit - livestock can do this with less work for you. The kinds of livestock farming that you could participate in are raising them for sale or raising them and selling their meat and other products. Raising livestock for sale may be another solution for a person who does not want to consume animal products, but selling the meat and other products of the animals is potentially more profitable. The kinds of livestock that you could chose to farm are cattle, pigs, sheep, turkey, and chickens. Each of these animals have reasons both for and against farming them. The cattle can be butchered and milked, both of which could be sold. The sheep’s wool can be harvested as well as mutton. Chickens produce both eggs and meat. Pigs and turkeys however only produce meat. No matter what animal you choose to farm you need to be able to provide some basic necessities like a clean shelter, clean water, and nutritious feed. The shelter needs to be clean of mud and manure, as well as providing enough space for the livestock to be comfortable, this includes ventilation that does not create drafts and proper bedding material, which will need to be changed often to prevent sickness. The clean water is necessary as it helps regulate the body temperature of the animals, and clean water will help prevent disease. Nutritious food is as important to [...]

By |2019-03-13T23:12:30+00:00March 4th, 2018|Animals, Chickens, Farm, Poultry|0 Comments

Farm Power, The Cash Crop

The Operating Profit Margin Ratio (OPMR) for farms is probably the best or fairest way to compare different farms, of different sizes, with equipment of different ages and conditions, and a thousand other variables. One case study of a West Central Indiana farm shows the average OPMR for the five years between 2010 and 2014 to be 0.2449, or about 25%. In the very next year (2015), because of very wet conditions, corn production was considerably lower. Combined with lower crop value at market, the OPMR was into negative territory (-0.0356), or a loss just over 3½%. In 2016 it was expected to be on the plus side by 4.61%. A New Strategy With a little thoughtful planning and investment, you could decrease the costs of operating your farm by eliminating your need for electrical power from the grid. This amounts to better profit in good years and lower losses in the bad years. There’s even a way to do this for free. All along the northern edge of your property, or any space where shadows are not a problem, you could contract with the local electrical facility (or an agent) to place their frame mounted solar panels where they won’t shade your crops. They can produce “green power” for the utility, which can then be exchanged for valuable carbon credits. (David Suzuki. et al, 2008) This depends on the net metering (Polaris, 2017) rules where you live which are supported by 43 states, Washington, D.C., and 4 territories currently (SEIA, 2017). Some states inexplicably forbid selling power back to the utility. Speak to your local political representative to get this changes if your state still hasn’t joined the 21st century. . In many cases, carbon credits are so highly valued that the utility often pays more per “green” kilowatt than they charge their customers!  If that’s true for you, you have a cash crop which requires no planting, no fertilizing, no harvesting, and no maintenance.  Even without the bonus payment, you still get “utility rates” for your excess energy, which is provided as a credit towards your overall use, or acts as a bank where you can withdraw it for free if or when you need it yourself. The money is generated by energy users (corporations or household users) that that elect to pay slightly more for their power to demonstrate environmental responsibility, to feel better about themselves, or to help promote more green energy production.  Many states are actively advancing the cause. (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:09:11+00:00July 31st, 2017|Farm, Solar, Thermal, Trenching, Water Furnace|0 Comments

Hydroponics

Hydroponics is - the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil. In agriculture hydroponics has been remarkably crucial in assisting to lower the usage of pesticides and herbicides. This has translated in more fertile soils and has reduced the chemical burden on farms. Genetically engineered crops such as Bt Maize and Bt Cotton are pest-resistant. Better still other genetically modified crops that are drought-resistant have been produced. Such research has been hugely crucial in a world whose need for food has been increasing exponentially. New pesticides and remote sensing have played essential parts in reducing the amount of harmful chemicals that enter the ecosystem, and allowed farmers to meet the ever increasing needs of the planet. However, fungi and insects are developing resistance even to newest pesticides. In addition, even the best of modern pesticides still enter the food chains and harm humans and animals alike. For instance, in Holland, farmers have had to switch from soil-growing plants to hydroponics because of the accumulation of toxic salts that come from pesticides and fertilizers.  The promise of genetic engineering technologies has been in developing pest-resistant crops which do not need pesticides and can grow without the need of irrigation (Eliot, et al 611). Genetic engineers have stated out rightly that there is a lot of hope such diseases can be treated either the insertion of corrected genes or modification of defective genes. Eventually, this hope of totally eliminating genetic ailments and also the treatment of non-genetic diseases is to a large extent attached to breakthroughs in gene therapy (Hammond, 165-166).  Another benefit of hydroponics is in the ability to screen for genetic defects in unborn babies. These screenings are essential for parents and medical staff in preparing for the arrival of a child who may have specific needs.  A possible potential benefit of genetic engineering that has been awaited with much eagerness is that a fetus that has genetic defects can be treated using genetic therapy before they are born. Current there is a lot of research that is going on with regard to the use of gene therapy for embryos before they are implanted into the mother through in-vitro fertilization (Robert, 93-94). Agriculture is one of the fields which have experienced diverse benefits of hydroponics through rDNA technology. This has translated in improved genetic fitness of many plant species. Some of the common benefits in agriculture are increase in photosynthetic efficiency, increase in the salinity resistance, drought and [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:39:20+00:00May 29th, 2017|Agriculture, Genetics, Hydroponics|0 Comments

Environmental Changes and our Livestock

Livestock sector contributes to a big percentage of agricultural produce its key in the global food security chain. Environmental changes have had a significant impact on livestock farming thus distracting the food supply chain. Climate change is majorly caused by the emissions from greenhouse gas which leads to the warming of the atmosphere. Ironically, the livestock sector contributes to climate change through its contributions to the emission of green gas.[1] This has had serious implications on livestock sector in the US. Some of the effect associated with environmental changes include; Low livestock production: Environmental changes cause an unpredictable weather patterns which has an impact on livestock sector. This has an overall performance on livestock performance which has an effect on the livestock products. Environmental changes also increase vulnerability of livestock as most of the time the environment becomes harsh for the sustainable of the animals.[1] Increase of temperatures during summer reduce animal production while it causes a slow down during winter. Effects on parasites that affect livestock’s: Environmental changes has caused changes and an increase in parasites that affect domestic animals. An increase in diseases such as bovine respiratory disease have been reported to have increased in the last few years. This has been blamed on environmentally factors.  Some of this parasites affect crops which act as foods for the livestock. This has continued to affect plant and livestock diseases in most places in the US. Reduced quality and quantity of produce: The quality of produce such as feeds is degraded as a result of high atmospheric, increase of carbon dioxide and dry conditions. This however is very determined on factors such as location, species, crops, livestock system among others. This affects the quality of forage and feeds.[3] Extreme weather conditions such as floods may cause roots structure and decrease in total quality and quantity. Unpredictable rainfall: Livestock farming relies heavily on agricultural crops, while the growth of this crops needs reliable water. Climate change has affected rainfall pattern which has led to scarcity of water thus affecting the whole cycle. Livestock requires drinking water, crops for product processes. It is estimated that by 2025, 64% may experience constrained water conditions.[4] Reproduction: Livestock reproduction of both sexes is affected by heat stress. This affects cows and pigs in embryo employment development and low pregnancy rates. Cow fertility is compromised by too much heat or deficits. Lower sperm concentration has also been witnessed in cows and pigs. Mortality: Harsh climatic changes has caused an increase in livestock mortality [...]

By |2019-03-15T01:47:08+00:00May 18th, 2017|Environmental, Livestock|0 Comments

Types of Domestic Sheep

Sheep are small ruminants closely related to the goat that are raised mainly for their wool as well as for food. Worldwide, there are over a thousand breeds of sheep according to the Food & Agriculture Organization. In the USA, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has identified 47 unique breeds of domestic sheep. The ASI has further categorized these domestic breeds into six types, namely the ‘meat breeds,’ the ‘fine wool breeds,’ the ‘long wool breeds,’ the ‘dual purpose breeds,’ the ‘hair breeds,’ and the ‘minor breeds.’ Most sheep and lambs in American farms and ranches are of the meat breed variety which are raised primarily for the production of meat, or of the dual-purpose kind which are kept for both meat and wool production. There are 11 meat breeds of sheep under the ASI classification, namely the Cheviot, the Dorset, the Hampshire, the Montadale, the North Country Cheviot, the Oxford, the Shropshire, the Southdown, the Suffolk, the Texel and the Tunis. On the other hand there are 8 dual purpose breeds, namely the American Miniature Brecknock, the Columbia, the Corriedale, the East Friesian, the Finnsheep, the Panama, the Polypay, and the Targhee. Sheep meat is either ‘mutton,’ if it comes from mature sheep, or ‘lamb,’ if it is from sheep not older than one year. Sheep grow both hair and wool fibers although hair breeds have more hair fibers than woolly fibers. They also tend to shed their coats annually and usually do not require shearing, crutching, or docking. There are 7 hair breeds and they are the Barbados Blackbelly and American Blackbelly, the California Reds, the Dorper, the Katahdin, the Romanov, the Royal White Sheep, and the St. Croix. There are two general types of hair sheep in the United State: "improved" and "unimproved". The unimproved breeds tend to be indigenous sheep breeds that have adapted well to the local environment in which they evolved like the Barbados Blackbelly and the St. Croix.  The improved hair breeds on the other hand are crosses between regular hair breeds and wooled meat breeds. Examples include the Dorper, the Katahdin and the Royal White Sheep. Fine wool sheep produce wool fibers with a very small fiber diameter, usually 20 microns or less. There are 5 fine wool breeds in the USA, namely the American Cormo, the Booroola Merino, the Debouillet, the Delaine-Merino, and the Rambouillet. In comparison, long wool sheep produce long-stapled wool with a large fiber diameter, usually greater than 30 microns. There are 7 long wool breeds [...]

By |2017-07-03T02:09:51+00:00February 7th, 2014|Sheep, Wool|1 Comment