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Follow organic dairy farmer Jonathan Gates as he reports weekly from his Vermont family farm. Howmars Farm is a certified organic dairy farm, one of many Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative farmer members who supply the milk that goes into making Stonyfield's yogurts and smoothies. The entire family pitches in on this third-generation farm. Check out some of the happenings on his farm and post your comments. Jonathan loves to get feedback from readers.

Many mouths to feed, and a new pail to do it

The calf business has been booming here on the farm, and son Justin is not too happy about it. Justin usually feeds the calves at the afternoon chores. When there were five or six calves to feed, it was a fun job. Now that he has to feed 15 calves it's more like work. He grumbles and mumbles to himself, but he always gets the job done. My mom has started coming to the barn again in the afternoon, and she gives Justin a hand feeding the hungry hoard.

We have so many calves to raise because not only are we raising the heifer calves for herd replacements, but we are also raising 8 to 10 bulls to steer, for use in our organic beef business. It means more time taking care of the extra calves, but we want to be sure to be able to meet the demand of our beef customers in the near future. And when the cousins are here visiting the farm, it means everyone will get a chance to feed a calf. I even bought a new calf feeding pail for Justin today to try to keep his attitude positive when it comes to feeding all those calves.

--Jonathan, Howmars Farm
Franklin, Vermont

Visit our other daily dairies at Stonyfield.com for all the news:
On environmental issues: The Dairy Planet
Get junk food out of schools: Creating Healthy Kids
Daily life and challenges at Stonyfield Farm: The Daily Scoop
Learn stress-busting, fitness and advocacy tips: Strong Women Daily News


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I totally agree Jonathan, cows are born with tails for a reason! I think it is cruel to take it off for the convenience of the mass production dairies.

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