Discreet and adventurous, barn cats are found on many farms. Learn more about these little four-legged felines with the following three questions.
1. What are they like?
Farm cats generally can’t adapt to living in a home because they’ve grown up outdoors. They’re quite active and don’t necessarily crave the companionship of humans. They may even be a little fearful of people and flourish better in a barn or outdoor environment.
2. What do they do?
Barn cats often make friends with other animals on the farm. These felines also have keen stalking skills and make great hunters. Consequently, they help farmers keep pests like mice under control.
3. How do you care for them?
Like all non-breeding domestic and farm animals, barn cats should be spayed or neutered. They also require annual veterinary visits for vaccinations and deworming. If you own a barn cat, you must provide it with fresh food and water, as prey isn’t always available. Moreover, farm cats require shelter from bad weather.
Overall, barn cats are handy animals to have around the farm.
Permaculture: farming inspired by nature
Unlike intensive agriculture, which destroys habitats, pollutes waterways, and decreases soil quality, permaculture aims to emulate natural ecosystems rather than trying to fight or control nature. Here’s what you need to know about this sustainable practice.
The permaculture principles were developed in the 1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. They don’t solely focus on agriculture but on buildings, energy, and technology. Today, permaculture is a design approach that integrates land, people, and other resources to align with nature.
Permaculture is based on 12 principles, all focused on caring for the land and the people who live on it. These principles include observation, which aims to develop effective and intelligent strategies for each situation. Other principles include:
• Valuing renewable resources and services
• Zero waste
• Promoting modest solutions
• Incorporating diversity
In agriculture, permaculture practices focus on restoring soil health and fertility. In the garden, permaculture aims to maximize the use of water, sun, and other natural energies. Permaculture also involves building living spa¬ces with biodegradable and locally sourced materials with a low ecological footprint.
Permaculture aims to create productive ecosystems that are diverse, stable, and resilient. Supporting the companies that practice it supports everyone.
4 farm safety tips
Celebrated from September 18 to 24, 2022, National Farm Safety and Health Week is an annual occasion that focuses on promoting health and safety on farms. If you live or work on a farm, you share the responsibility of keeping yourself and others safe. In honor of this event, here are four things you can do to ensure neither you nor anyone you’re working with is involved in a farming accident.
1. Keep your warning signals functioning
Ensure the warning lights and sounds on the machine you’re using are functioning and that the labeling is clear and visible. These signals provide essential warnings to their operators and those around them.
2. Be careful around power take-off (PTO) shafts
PTO shafts transfer power from a tractor to an attached implement. Although extremely useful, PTOs can be dangerous. Therefore, make sure to keep loose clothing and items away from the shaft and never reach or step over one while in operation.
3. Invest in rollover protection
If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a rollover protective structure (ROPS) for your tractor. Every year, farmers are injured or killed in tractor rollovers.
4. Get plenty of sleep
If you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mistakes that could cost you or someone you’re working with a limb or their life. Get the sleep you need and quit working if you’re too tired to continue safely.
Safety and health are the responsibility of everyone working on a farm.
Agriculture: What does it mean to “make the rounds”?
When you do your daily chores on the farm, you might say you’re “making the rounds.” These tasks often revolve around animal production. However, the duties performed depend on various factors, including the species and season. Here are the most common farm chores.
Checking the health status of animals
Whether the farm focuses on dairy or meat production, checking the health status of the animals is very important. Animals that appear to be ill should immediately be examined by a veterinarian.
Automatic milking machines now dominate the dairy industry. However, some small farms continue to milk their cows by hand.
Cleaning and maintenance
The bedding must be replaced, and the trays that collect chicken and rabbit droppings must be emptied. Moreover, all the milking equipment must be washed and sanitized. This list depends on the number of different animal species and the size of the farm.
Distributing food and water
Farmers must bring their livestock new feed and supply them with fresh, clean water.
These chores only glimpse what farmworkers must do to produce high-quality food you can enjoy all year. Supporting local farms is the best way to thank these men and women for their essential work.
The chores must be done once or twice a day depending on the type of farm and the animals raised.
What’s community-supported agriculture (CSA)?
If you want to make buying locally a part of your shopping habits, one of the best ways is to sign up to become part of a community-supported agriculture (CSA) organization. Here’s what you need to know.
What is it?
CSA is a growing movement that involves purchasing a share in the season’s harvest in advance. The farmer benefits from a guaranteed income, and the consumer, in return, enjoys fresh and tasty products. Food goes directly from the producer to the consumer rather than being transported through a long and costly distribution chain. Removing the intermediary allows farmers to get a fair price for their products, unlike traditional delivery and sales mechanisms that often pressure their profit margins.
Community-supported agriculture allows consumers to enjoy fresh in-season produce. It also makes them more mindful of their dependence on the ecosystem. For example, they understand that a less fruitful harvest due to poor weather conditions or pest invasions can impact the amount of food they get. This spreads the risk more evenly between farmers and consumers.
You can find a CSA program near you by browsing the internet.
How to safely handle and cook poultry
National Chicken Month is celebrated every September in the United States. Chicken eggs and meat are packed with tasty, nutritional goodness and are a great addition to your family’s meals. However, you must follow certain safety precautions to prevent food poisoning when handling and preparing chicken. Here’s what you need to know.
How to prevent food poisoning
Salmonella and Campylobacter are leading causes of bacterial foodborne illness, which frequently contaminate raw poultry. Each year, thousands of people suffer food poisoning because of these pathogens. Although most healthy people may only feel mildly unwell for a day or two, children, seniors, and immunocompromised people may experience severe complications from food poisoning.
Here are a few tips to ensure you and your family don’t get sick from eating chicken:
• Buy your chicken near the end of your shopping trip and store it in your fridge or freezer as soon as you get home.
• Avoid buying chicken past its “best if used by” date.
• Don’t buy chicken in ripped or leaking packaging.
• Don’t rinse your chicken before preparing it. This could spread bacteria elsewhere in your kitchen.
• Never eat raw or insufficiently cooked chicken. Make sure a whole bird reaches an internal temperature of 180 F and pieces reach 165 F.
This year, celebrate National Chicken Month by looking for new and delicious ways to prepare poultry.
4 little-known jobs in agriculture
The agriculture industry is indispensable, affecting both food supply and tourism. It presents various interesting job opportunities, some of which are less well-known. Here are four that might surprise you.
1. Mushroom growers are responsible for managing mushroom and compost production. They must also follow quality control procedures. Their schedule is variable and depends on the needs of the crop.
2. Orchard pruners trim apple trees in the summer and winter. They’re seasonal workers and don’t have any specific training. It’s possible to quickly learn the ins and outs of pruning on the job with more experienced workers.
3. Big game and ratite (flightless bird) producers raise animals like bison, wild boar, deer, ostriches, emus, and rheas. They also manage production, administration, and marketing, among several other tasks.
4. Floriculture (flower farming) supervisors coordinate and verify the work done by horticultural workers. They also perform a variety of tasks to produce flowering and ornamental plants.
The wonderful world of agriculture is full of possibilities.