Saturday, September 26, 2015

Touring Farms in Harrisonville, MO

Welcome back to GCC!  This picture is a little different than what I normally post here at Gina's Craft Corner, but isn't she cute?  Why do I have a picture of a baby calf on my blog you may ask?  Well, it is because two great organizations, Missouri Women Bloggers and Missouri Farm Bureau , decided to team up to help further the public's knowledge about where their food comes from and how it is grown.  What better way to do that than through bloggers?!

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau
Picture taken by MO Farm Bureau

We headed out from Lee's Summit, MO at 8:30 in the morning.  Here are the sweet bloggers I went on this adventure with...

Shanley Cox

Laurie Link

Ashley Silverthorn

Gina Wamsley (that's me!)

Jennifer Allen

Sarah Nord

I encourage you to check out all these blogs.  We were quite the blogs, farm and family blogs, military family life and then me-sewing, but we were all interested in learning more about where our food comes from.  

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau
This is me around the age of 6 showing this future show calf how to lead.

I grew up on a small dairy farm in NW Missouri, so I was pretty excited when I saw our itinerary for the day...

(Harrisonville, MO)

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau

The Moreland Dairy is located just north of Harrisonville, MO.  Mike, Jay and Matt Moreland were kind enough to spend a few hours with our group. They explained the hard work and loving care that goes into caring for their animals on a daily basis.  Do most people understand the life of a dairyman?  I wonder.

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau
This is my wonderful father Kirby.  He worked hard to provide for us, and caring for his prized Holsteins.

My dad was a dairyman, so I've seen the early mornings, the late nights- the sacrifices.  Dairyman do what they do because they love what they do.  They want to provide for their family, create the best environment for their animals and most of all they want to create a great product for the consumer.

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau
Feed includes....Corn, Soybean Meal (vitamins), Ground Milo (energy source)

So, how does a dairy farmer provide the best care for their herd?  A top priority is nutrition.  You might be surprised to know, I was, that this herd of Holsteins has a nutritionist.  Yes, a nutritionist!  A nutritionist has determined exactly what nutrients these cows need to be the healthiest and happiest. A happy cow produces more milk and more milk means a happy farmer.  It's a win-win.

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau
Distiller's dried grain (from the ethanol production process-good protein, less starch)

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau
and Cottonseed (fiber, protein, energy-fat)

The Moreland cows eat about 90-100 lbs of feed a day!  All these ingredients-the corn, the ground milo, the distiller's grain, the cottonseed, all get mixed together in a big mixer every day.  By my calculations, that is about 13,000 lbs of feed served fresh every day.  Yum, yum!

Now, cows generally do three things- eat, rest, milk and repeat.  If you are a mom, consider what it was like when you decided to nurse your newborn.  What are the best things for a nursing mother?  We need to eat well and get plenty of rest.  If we do not, our milk production goes down and then we do not have enough milk for our little ones.  Well, apply that same concept to the cow. In between milking she needs to rest and what better way to do that, but on a......WATERBED!

I was not able to get a great picture of the cows resting on the waterbeds, but HERE is a link to a great article on free stall barns and the use of waterbeds.  There is also a good picture of the waterbed.  I've heard about the waterbeds, but had never seen them with my own eyes, so I was excited to see them.  The cows did look pretty comfy!

Lastly, we stopped by the milk barn.  I was most excited to see what their barn looked like.  To my amazement it looked just like my milk barn growing up!  Check it out!

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau by Ginas Craft Corner

The dairy barn is older and they do have plans on updating the barn soon and adding in some robotic technology.  I'd LOVE to go back and visit and see the robots in action.

Before we left the Moreland farm we did go down a farmers block to Matt Moreland's farm.  Along with helping manage his father and uncle's farm, he and his wife have opened a pumpkin patch.  It is called, the Red Barn Ranch.  If you live near Harrisonville, you definitely should go check it out this fall.  Another neat feature at the Red Barn Ranch is that they sell lean ground beef to the public.
You can check out their facebook page HERE to learn more.
Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau by Ginas Craft Corner

2nd Stop-The Roth Family Farm-Irrigation and Corn 
(Harrisonville, MO)

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau by Ginas Craft Corner

Doug and his wife run Roth Irrigation.  They are 4th generation farmers who specialize in growing corn and in 1971 they became a Roth Zimmatic Irrigation dealer.  They are a busy operation, employing 15 people to help run the daily operations of the irrigation business, directing the comings and going of semis to the storage silos and just the day to day care of the property.

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau by Ginas Craft Corner

While on our tour, Doug gave us a close-up view of his combines, describing how technology like GPS has advanced the farming industry.  GPS not only helps with planting straight rows (which was the depth of my understanding), he can utilize the system to more accurately apply fertilizer.

Last Stop- Kurzweil Farm, Beef Cattle and Hogs (Harrisonville, MO)

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau by Ginas Craft Corner

The Kurzweil Farm is another family operation.  Dennis Kurzweil was our tour guide for the day.  He and his brothers now run the farm their parents began in the 1940's.  What once was just a row crop farm, now also includes about 3000 hogs, 300 heads of cattle, and their own store called Kurzweil Country Meats.

Kurzweil Country Meats opened in 1995.  It's a restaurant located on Hwy 7, just between Harrisonville and Garden City, MO.  We had the pleasure of stopping there for lunch during our tour. If you do not live in the Kansas City area, no worries!  They ship their meat all over the country. Check out their page HERE to find out more.

As the tour came to an end, I began to realize that these three farms, the Moreland's, the Roth's, and the Kurzweil's, all had the same conviction in regards to their farms.  They each talked about how they felt it was their duty to take the farm that was handed down to them, and make it better.  The conviction that they have been given the responsibility to preserve the land, care for the animals, create a great product for the consumer, but also to grow their business and to make it better for the next generation.

A final thanks to my sweet husband and children for getting up so early to drive me to Kansas City for this tour.

Kansas City Farm Tours w/ MO Farm Bureau by Ginas Craft Corner


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