Author Archives: lafarmerblog

Why ? An Insight From Inside Big Ag

Why ? I guess.

Just because. If My mother told me to do something and I asked why I got a look from her, the next time I got, well you know.

“Why I farm” is a buzz phrase these days.  The phrase is used to help us explain why we farm for a living, why we produce food, why we want to tell people about agriculture.  I really get upset mad as heck every time  I see an untruth or lie about what I do.  Every time I see a photo shop picture of a pig behind bars, every article that spews lies every Doctor that has become an entertainer instead of a healer, researcher, comforter.

My “why” is no great passion to continue the family farm.  My farm will belong to another after I am done.  I don’t have a noble cause.  I also don’t want to be expected to apologize for doing the right thing. Raising pigs for meat, for profit, to earn a living, while being a steward of our God given hard fought for sovereign rights. While yes providing proper animal care and respect for all life. Taking life to sustain another. I believe man is part of the environment regardless, whether you believe in Creation or the Big Bang. Either way we are part of the solution to our problems.

My “Why” is just because I never gave up the the Dream of being my own boss and working for myself. For over 25 years I worked two or three jobs at once to get by.  My wife and I endured struggles with long hours and off farm jobs before I was able to be a full-time farmer. Not unlike yours or my neighbors. The difference is I refuse to stand by while others “Make up my Story” because we won’t speak up. Too many are telling us how to produce food / farm etc.

It is too easy to find out how to do something by using the internet, it is too easy for people that don’t know what they are saying to put the incorrect story out there too.

I deserve better as a Farmer, Businessman, Steward, YOU deserve better as the consumer.

Thanks for stopping by.

L.A.Farmer

Neil Rhonemus  aka  Uncle Squeal

(Uncle Squeals Pig Farm Page)

RHONFARM

 

Advertisements
uncle squeal selfie

Things we do on the Farm

On the farm I do my daily chores like caring for the animals. Other chores are repairing equipment, buildings, maintenance on both farm and personal vehicles.

welding pig pen gate

Regular maintenance includes fixing equipment, gates from the barn in this case, when they get worn out and break

We also maintain our homes and things we need to live our lives just like you do. Or we hire it done. Many talents we use daily allow us to be multitaskers.  Farmers did this way before the word came about.

uncle squeal selfie

I try to spend some time sharing what I do here on this blog, on Facebook and YouTube. That’s why I take selfies.

We also have to keep up on other skills like finance, bookkeeping to be able to do our income tax or at least prepare for an accountant to do them. So many times we spend hours late at night keeping up.  We also have to keep our paperwork in order to be ready to present annual loans to our banker. It can take a lot of money to operate, we handle large sums of money, but the majority of it is used to pay input costs.  It is not all profit, and we desire to keep some money to live on, just like you do.

farm office

Paperwork and record keeping is unending work. I spend more time here that I would like to in order to keep my farm operating.

So in short farmers are plumbers, mechanics, metal fabricators, electricians, veterinarians, bookkeepers, accountants, carpenters, quality control experts, and now social media communications specialists.  Some of these we just got to do the best we can to keep our overhead and hired labor expenses in check.   If we hired everything we wouldn’t have much or any money left to live on.  I operate mainly by myself however I have a couple good helpers/ employees that are actually my friends.

Fixing Curtains on the pig barn

I stepped back to take this picture as my friends and helpers kept working to fix the curtains on the outside of the pig barn.

So farming is more than cows, and plows.

field work

Field work needs to be done when the weather is nice

Thanks for stopping by.

Neil Rhonemus

L A Farmer

Uncle Squeal

inside a pig barn

A Day on a Pig Farm

As I said in my introduction, I’m not a trained writer, but I want to share with you what daily life is like on my pig farm.

Now my days are somewhat routine, but you never know what challenge will pop up. Many days I am up at 4:30 am trying to get my act going. Out my back door, 600 feet away is Barn #1.  It holds 2100 pigs when fully stocked.

pig barn in winter

Barn #1 in the winter

I listen to the sounds of the morning. Sometimes I can spot a sound that is not normal and know to pay extra attention. I check the oil in my truck and head off to Barn #2 which is located 8 miles away.

By the time I reach barn #2 by then it is 6 am. My first job is to climb up the ladder on the feed bins, this where the feed is stored.  I call in to the feed mill and leave my feed inventory in a message. The feed mill dispatcher knows how many animals are getting food from that particular bin and can make a feed order depending on consumption. There is a lot of planning, math and technology used in keep quality feed available for the pigs all of the time.

hog barn feed bins

This is me in front of the feed bins.

Then I hit the shower.  You say, “What a shower?”

You mean you’re gonna take a shower before you go in a pig barn?  Yes, I take between 6 and 8 showers a day.  We do this to help guard against unwanted germs being passed to our pigs.  This helps our herd remain healthy.  More on this later in “Bio-security.”

Then I record information from our barn temperature and climate environmental controllers.  I also do a brief overview to see that all is functioning as it should be. I can spot trouble in may areas by analyzing data gathered here.  

With all the high tech gadgets available it is still up to the humans touch and observation skills to see that conditions are optimal.

I then got from pen to pen walking them daily and checking the pigs.  My eyes look at every pig everyday.  I also check that  feed and water is available and flowing by the methods that they should be.  I oversee the health of every animal.

inside a pig barn

Here is a look inside of my barn while I was doing chores

Then I shower and change back into street clothes.  Back home I go.  I stop at the Old Barn which is the farm shop, calf barn and horse barn, all in one.  My father built the Old Barn in 1953.  Then I shower again to enter Barn #1 . I vary my routine according to the needs of the day and other factors.

By now it is between 9:00 and 10:00 am.  I go through the same routine above.  I collect and record info and check animals for another couple hours depending on the needs so by noon I shower out again.

Next, I check out the farm pond.  It supplies water to the barn, but I filter and sanitize the water much like your town does.  I ensure that it is safe for my animals to drink, and the filtering process also insures a protection from germs to the pigs from outside sources.

Then I get lunch and visit my wife if she is off work that day. My free time to do other chores is from 1:00 to about 3:00 to run to town or do office work or get a haircut.  Sometimes I use this time to repair equipment, or do other maintenance  on electrical , welding, or carpentry needs. As well as record keeping or the farm accounting.

By 5:00 pm, I start an abbreviated version of morning chores just checking things out yes showering in and out each time. I try to be done by 7:00. Some days run longer some shorter.

My day varies somewhat but this is a basic day in my life. Sunday is the same except for Church so I hurry, Saturday i hurry some to work in some other activities.

Farmers have good days and bad just like you. But to care for animals you must be committed 24/7 no sick days, few vacation days, even then you don’t just turn it off (thinking about your animals) it is always in the back of your mind no matter what you are doing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Neil Rhonemus

 

 

 

 

 

Why L A Farmer?

Greetings From LA.

Why L A Farmer ? Not Los Angeles , Not Lower Alabama, Not Louisiana.

Lynchburg Area, a place in South West Ohio.  A long ago Whiskey Distillery, not Jack Daniels Just an area of mostly two counties that come together.  You might even say three counties.

I live in Clinton Co but the town is in Highland Co. I sometimes call it a border town, usually good for a laugh if you don’t push it too much.

The purpose of my blog is to relate how food is produced by people like me. I call myself a bacon farmer. I’m known by many as Uncle Squeal.  Yes you can find me on Facebook or YouTube as Uncle Squeal.  I’m Rhonfarm on Twitter.

I don’t have anything special to say, except I’ll let you know how and why we produce food. For me farming is a job, business, and way of life.  Farming has many faces.  Food is a choice, you should have information to help you decide. You need to ask, we need to listen, we both need sanity and open mindedness.

Natural , GMO, Non GMO, Vegan , Carnivore, respect the choice of others keep an open mind don’t malign your competition to promote yours.

Some say Feed the Nine By 2050 . I think it will take all forms of Agriculture to do this. I also think you should be able to raise your own food. This takes a lot of effort and planning. Did you ever try to figure how much food your family would need for a month/year? Think about this.

If you eat, something (an animal) is gonna die or something (a plant) is raised where a bird can poop on it.   You depend on others to grow it, handle it, clean it cook it etc. There are many steps most don’t see or think about in growing food and getting it to your fridge.  Get my point? How much do you really know about these processes?  Who are your sources for info?  It’s about trust, or blindness.

My small part is to let you know what my part of the world does to produce food. I hop to reach a better understanding about food and agriculture.

What qualifies me? I am real not a college educated professional, not a hired professional, but I respect them. I am just a plain person that mostly likes what I do most of the time. My story is varied, nothing great, just struggles like you.

I’ll do my best if you come along. Check it out. I hope you like it and learn.

Until the next time.

LA Farmer

Uncle Squeal

Neil Rhonemus