Ah, farming in an ever changing world......touched by so many elements that can both help us, or.....hinder us. Some more wild hot weather, a weak economy, regulations and labor issues topped by a hobbled farmer made for a very INTERESTING season here!
A hot, dry spring and summer have doled out some stresses to every animal here. So, we must attend to their need for comfort and shade and more water. NOW. We apologize if we've been hard to contact or receive information back from us. The plus, awesome haymaking weather! We're packing it all away for our long, cold winters. At least what we can get, as yields are way down due to the lack of water. That is farming!
We have great help this year! A weak economy has expanded the pool of available help. Also, the weak economy has also affected our sales, so we must watch our cash flow more closely. Boy, would we love to reward our help with more hours and raises to help our young adult workers and the wider economy...but we must remain cautious so we don't let our cup run low!
The Obama administration has issued a mandate to tighten up our food safety systems. That means the small exempt processors have had to make major upgrades and updates to remain permitted. While all processors large and small are affected to varying degrees, the "smalls" seem to be more affected. That means folks like us. But who would argue that safer is always better? Pro-active is good. We really bristle at the attitudes of regulators that feel part of their job is to NOT help those who are trying. We could go on and on.....but won't now....We do applaud the State of Vermont legislature that WANTS to help farmers. Talk about a change of attitude from the top! Vermont wishes to make local food safe and widely available and seeks to spread about honey to get everyone involved and on board to pull in the same direction. Wow!
This farmer has been on an odyssey to work through some health issues this winter through early summer. Most frustrating and enlightening both. How? Working with our health care system and taking charge to get the many elements that do work to work together for the ultimate outcome....a healthy individual. Let it be said from the heart......you must take charge and control of your own health (or finances, or whatever it is!). There are great people and systems out there, but they are mired in paper and dead-end phone trees (among other things!). Your own research and energy has to go into the system! Talk about happens when a phone call goes un-returned and the farmer shows up in your office and won't vacate the front seat! The farmer is feeling much better these days and is getting back up to speed. Lets all keep our eye on the ball! We affect others and are affected by others.
With sincerest wishes for good health to all!