the shortage of livestock veterinarians is reaching “crisis levels”

posted May 9, 2017

The_farmer's_veterinarian_BHL20172818

Even after the lamb comes, the ewe continues to strain. Sticky with afterbirth, the ram lamb calls to his mother in quavering tenor, but though she lifts her head in his direction and lets out a low moan of response, her heaving sides won’t let her rise and go to him.

In the compounded darkness of the manger—it’s well after sunset—it’s hard to see what’s happening. The ewe stretches a hind leg in effort, and then again, and again, pushing. She stops her rhythmic movement, breath ragged. Someone shines a light: there is something there, behind her hind legs, on the straw. A second lamb? The thing is dark, darker than the first lamb. A black lamb? But no, it glistens too strangely in the odd glare/shadow contrast of the flashlight.

“I—I think that’s part of her body.” What? “I think those are her organs.” 

The stillness breaks. The livestock manager is called. “Prolapse,” “iodine,” “warm water,” “towels.” There is a flurry of activity in service to these words. The rumble of a truck announces the arrival of Josh, the livestock manager, from down the road. He clicks his headlamp on to peer at the lumpen tangle between the prostrate ewe’s legs. “That’s her uterus,” he says, and walks away to call the vet.

He returns shaking his head. The vet can’t come for two hours—there’s another emergency, over the border in Vermont. “I guess I’ll try to put it back, but I’ve never had much luck.”

Josh instructs someone to fetch sugar, someone to fetch a better light, someone to prepare a bottle of colostrum for the new lamb (“He’s huge, look how huge he is! That must be what did it”). He sloshes iodine up to his elbows while two people hold the ewe still. Gingerly, he lifts the uterus from ground, pulling off bits of straw and hay. He pours sugar over it. “The vet says this will make it shrink, so that it will fit,” he tells us. Then in a low mutter, to himself, “This was my favorite sheep.”

After a few moments, he begins trying to push the uterus back into the ewe. But even gritty with sugar, reverse-osmosis starting to drain the fluid, it’s slippery and swollen, bulging any place where Josh’s hands can’t stretch, the task like trying to fit a water ballon into the tap from which it was filled. “She’s pushing against me,” he says. “Her body thinks she’s having a lamb.”

He keeps trying: adding more sugar, repositioning, applying prolonged pressure, but it won’t go. Josh sits back on his heels. There’s nothing to do but wait for the vet.
(more…)


so(/e)wing hemp in Kentucky

posted June 7, 2016

“In the end there is more than just fiber that tears and fades when you use cheap goods to hold things together.”

Harvesting Liberty, about Michael Lewis (of Growing Warriors) and Rebecca Burgess (of Fibershed), who have received a grant from Patagonia to support their incredible budding hemp projects in Kentucky. Like most videos we’ve been posting here these days, this one is liable to make you cry.

Growing Warriors is a Kentucky-based farming program designed to train, assist, and equip military veterans with the skills, tools and supplies needed to grow organic produce for their families and communities. growingwarriors.org. Fibershed develops regenerative textile systems that are based on carbon farming, regional manufacturing, and public education. fibershed.com


need more acres: great farm name, sweet video

posted May 3, 2016

Need More Acres farm owners Nathan and Michelle discuss the necessity of diversified vegetable farms and increasing food access. This is a beautiful and heart-felt little video about a family passionate about the work that they do: providing a multi-farm CSA to 35 families; organizing a community market to make more food available in their region; and engaging in the slow, sometimes tedious, but ultimately critical work of reforming our food system from the roots up.


new documentary on wendell berry premiers at SXSW festival

posted March 13, 2016

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The Seer: A Portrait of Wendell Berrypremiered yesterday at SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin. The film spans four seasons; revolving around Berry; his muse of Henry County, Kentucky; and this pivotal contemporary moment in agrarian America. Barbara J. King did a great piece on the film yesterday for NPR, ripe with great Wendell Berry quotes and some contextual food for thought, all of which you can read here.

I scoured the internet for a trailer like a hungry squash bug but to no avail. So I watched every video of Wendell Berry reading his poetry that I could find on Vimeo (wondering if this is how normal people felt about news of the new Star Wars movie), and finally did find a video on the film’s new kickstarted page, which I have happily embedded for you below:

No news yet on where the film will show after SXSW, but you find our more and follow the latest news here.




farm manager at pine mountain

posted January 9, 2013

Pine Mountain Settlement School has an opening for the position of Farm Manager.

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The Farm Manager is responsible for the School’s gardens, which supply food for Pine Mountain’s dining hall. The Farm Manager cooperates with the School’s food preparation staff to grow what the School needs for its dining operation. The Farm Manager supervises and works on landscaping on the main campus, particularly in the orchard and around School buildings. The Farm Manager represents the School in area and regionally.
The Farm Manager position is full-time and includes benefits, including medical insurance.

Requirements for the position are:

  • successful experience in working on or managing a small-to-medium size farm operation (more…)