Press-Republican

Hagar

December 9, 2012

Winter a time for reflection

Like every other morning, I got up this morning and before breakfast I took a ride out to feed the cows. Unlike during summer, when I usually walk, it was cold and there

was a dusting of snow on the farm road and the reality of the long winter still ahead is sinking in.

It was only a few months ago that summer was in full swing and the view was very different. Today there was no sun shining warmly, no lush pastures and no feeling of the vitality of summer.

One thing we can count on in the North Country is our contrasting seasons. While there is a world of difference between this morning and the glorious mornings of last summer, I still appreciate the beauty and variety of seasons we enjoy. The mountains cradle the horizon, the wind whistles through the trees and the cows beller in anticipation as I approach. For them, nothing seems to change.

One of the lessons I learned as a youth raising goats and chickens for 4-H was that the animals under our care had to be fed, watered and comfortable before I could eat, play or sleep. While the science of animal husbandry has evolved over thousands of years, the basics remain the same. From a herdsman or farm manager tending a herd of hundreds to the backyard goat herder who has only a few animals, the livestock that we raise will grow faster and produce more when we care for them and treat them well.

There are many types of animal husbandry. Most modern farmers employ breeders, herd-health specialists, feeders and milkers to help care for the animals using the latest scientifically researched methods and techniques. Others may use a more down-to-earth, holistic approach, raising their livestock with natural or organic methods that worked for small farmers in the past. While more modern methods of farming are efficient and scientifically sound, it doesn't mean that these farmers have lost sight of the basics of animal husbandry.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hagar
  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Owners show off their animals at fair

    It's no easy task to prepare animals for annual show where judges rate livestock on traits according to breed, according to Columnist Peter Hagar.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Making good hay a challenge

    Even with today's technology and weather forecasting, getting in a load of good hay comes with lots of pitfalls, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg New farms take careful planning

    While people start small farm operations for various reasons, it takes plenty of hard work, dedication and information to be successful, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Science, economics key to farming

    Modern agriculture has been a steady evolution of adaption to changing times, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Warm spring rains bring growth

    But pastures shouldn't just be left alone, they need attention just like other crops, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Conservation programs offered

    No-till drill allows farmers to enhance their soil and promote conservation at the same time, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Watch out for farm machinery

    Accidents on roadways involving farm vehicles can be avoided with a little bit of caution, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Better bulls improve beef quality

    Artificial insemination can be used to get the most from a beef-cattle herd, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    March 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Healthy environment good for farming

    Best practices and conservation are top priorities for modern farmers, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo