Well I have been busy, as you can see by my absence from the blogging sphere. There are some great reasons for this, which I will explain in the coming posts. We expect 2011 to be a great year for our farm, we have some big plans to make our farm better for our cows (first priority) and for us (second priority). Phase 1 of our projects was to hire a full time employee or 2 part time employees to assist with milking and clean up of the parlor. We started our search for employees locally in mid-April. After interviewing a couple candidates we settled on 2 men to help us. One is responsible for coming to milk in the morning, while the other assists with milking at night. Both have the good fortune of milking with me! (haha!) By hiring employees, we free up Jon from the responsibility of being in the parlor...giving him the opportunity to work on other projects around the farm.
Now that we have the "kinks" worked our of our schedules and we have a more settled routine, we can see the advantages of having additional help. In the mornings, I am able to milk cows and do cow health checks while Jon is able to feed 2 batches of TMR (total mixed ration) to the milking cows, feed the dry cows and feed our heifers all before noon! In the evenings, Jon is able to haul manure, fix various pieces of equipment, and work with cows that need additional care. It's been amazing how much more efficient we have become. Because we have feed to all of our animals, earlier in the day, we have seen an increase in milk production. Because we are able to milk our cows faster, the cows are able to spend more of their day resting, eating and drinking. It's been great to see the cows relax and reap the benefits of such a simple change.
Neither one of our employees have any previous experience milking cows, but we have been working to teach and train. They are fast learners and have a great respect for our cows. I think that's been the best part of adding employees....teaching them about how much we respect and care for our cows. In fact, last Saturday, our morning milker brought his 10 year old son to milk with us. It was awesome to see Clif share with his son the importance of cleanliness in the parlor, proper cow handling, and the value of agriculture in our local economy. So, as we continue to work out the kinks, we hope to have more good news about hiring employees.