Osteoporosis Prevention: Healthy Bones Matter at All Ages

Do you know if you’re at risk for osteoporosis or how to build and maintain strong bones for life? To raise awareness of osteoporosis, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has designated May as National Osteoporosis Month. This year’s theme, “Break Free from Osteoporosis,” encourages people to discover their risk factors and make lifestyle choices that promote maximal bone health throughout life.

What You Need to Know about Osteoporosis. Do you know that as many as 50% of women and up to 25% of men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis? It is a silent disease characterized by low bone mass and increased risk of bone fractures. An estimated 54 million U.S. adults are at risk for low bone mass and osteoporosis. This disease contributes to considerable morbidity, loss of independence, and even mortality in older adults, along with significant health care costs.

A variety of risk factors, both genetic and environmental, determine whether a person will develop osteoporosis and be susceptible to fractures. Factors increasing risk include:

  • Female gender
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Advanced age
  • Caucasian or Asian race
  • Low body weight
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • History of prior fractures
  • Certain medications and diseases
  • Nutritionally inadequate diet.

Preventing Osteoporosis throughout Life. Following the Federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is “an important and positive step toward ensuring healthy bone growth and/or maintenance throughout the lifecycle,” reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation in a recent position statement. Consuming nutrient-rich foods and regularly participating in weight-bearing physical activity (e.g., walking, running, aerobics) are the two most important lifelong habits for bone health.

Nutrition, particularly calcium, vitamin D, and protein, as well as other micronutrients, is critical to bone health at all life stages, according to a review authored by leading bone and nutrition experts. Considering that 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in bones, it is not surprising that this nutrient plays a key role in skeletal health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently, and protein provides essential amino acids necessary to support the building of bone. Protein also helps prevent muscle wasting in older adults, which reduces their risk of falls and associated injuries, including fractures.

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You’re never too young or too old to improve your bone health. Osteoporosis has been called a “pediatric disease with geriatric consequences.” Adequate nutrition plays a significant role in bone health from before birth until later adult years. A healthy diet during pregnancy positively affects growth of the baby’s skeleton. Adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other micronutrients helps support good bone health by:

  • increasing bone size and strength in children and adolescents, reaching genetically-determined peak bone mass generally around the mid-20s,
  • avoiding premature bone loss and maintaining a healthy skeleton in adults, and
  • preventing and treating osteoporosis in seniors.

Milk Means More for Bone Health.

  • Dairy foods are an important source of essential nutrients for bone and overall health. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes that “Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods …” especially nutrient-dense foods. Dairy foods such as fat-free and low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are nutrient-dense foods that provide calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D (if fortified), protein, magnesium, and potassium, among other nutrients that work together to build and maintain healthy bones.
  • Acknowledging the importance of dairy foods for bone health, especially for children and adolescents, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for people nine years and older, 2.5 servings for four to eight year olds, and two servings for children ages two to three.
  • Because Americans consume about two dairy servings per day on average, adding one more serving of dairy can meet recommendations for bone and overall health, as well as increase intakes of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. These three nutrients are of public health concern due to their low intake.

The Bottom Line. Regardless of whether you’re a toddler or a senior citizen, nutrition can make a difference to your bone health. Consuming dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cheese) as part of a healthful, well-balanced diet provides essential nutrients that are key to building and maintaining strong bones throughout life.

Learn more about dairy’s role in bone health and visit the Milk Means More recipes page for healthy and delicious options to add dairy to your meals and snacks throughout the day.

The Planting Plan

The planting plan starts long before planting season begins. Every winter, we evaluate the previous year’s crops and fields, and develop our plan for the coming spring. We decide what fields will be planting with what crops, and order the seed.

Corn seed stacked in the barn

Corn seed stacked in the barn

Before planting starts, the seed is delivered and stored in the barn, waiting for the weather to cooperate so we can plant it. After the seed is stored, we create a list that details which variety of seed goes where in the barn. Since we’re planting different varieties of seed, it’s important to stay organized. That way, we know exactly where to go to grab the seed we’ll need to plant. We all have a copy of this list on our phones, and (because this farm wife never knows when she’ll be called to deliver seed) I also keep a copy of it on my refrigerator.

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The planting plan is really just that: a plan. With the weather not cooperating and pushing us back a few weeks, it’s looking like that plan might have to change. We may need to plant what we call “shorter day varieties” which means the plant matures a bit faster, so that we are not combining or chopping in the snow.

Ultimately, our goal is to grow the best crops possible for our cows. The seeds we plant this spring will be harvested and fed to our cows, who will turn them into milk.

A Runner’s Toolkit: 6 Items You Need for a Great Race Day

No matter the length of your race, running requires prep work to reach the finish line. Want to make your day even better? Start the day with a well-stocked runner’s toolkit.

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If it seems like everyone you know has grabbed their running shoes and signed up for a road race, you are not alone. Even we here at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan have joined in on the action, showing up to races across the state ready to refuel participants with, what else, chocolate milk – nature’s own sports drink.

Chocolate milk and other dairy foods can make a positive impact on both performance and recovery on race day. Registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports nutrition, Kate Davis, recently shared with us her top four nutrition tips, designed to get you into peak performance, highlighting the important role chocolate milk and other dairy foods can play. And although nutrition is incredibly important, it’s not the only resource you should have in your arsenal for a successful event.

Ready to hit the starting line? Here are five items you should consider bringing with you to have a great race:

Running shoes. Every runner needs running shoes. They help you get from point A to point B, but your runner’s toolkit shouldn’t be stocked with just any running shoes. No, you want shoes you feel comfortable in. Shoes that have logged some miles. Thinking about running in new shoes? Probably not the best idea. If you do buy new shoes, make sure you break them in while training for your race. Consider alternating between your old and new pairs to seamlessly break them in.

High-quality socks. Keeping your feet comfortable makes a world of difference that last mile or two. A good pair of socks can help prevent blisters. This spring, consider choosing socks made out of acrylic or polyester. They won’t retain moisture the same way cotton socks do.

Pockets. Since most races don’t necessarily occur in your back yard, you’ll want to consider where you’ll store important items like your cell phone, car keys, or your favorite energy goo pack that you have practiced with while training. And, it may seem silly, but pockets can be rather invaluable assets on race day. Although many running shorts and pants come equipped with pockets, wrist or belt wraps can also be a runner’s best friend.

Sunscreen. Even though you may find yourself at the starting line before the sun rises, don’t be surprised if it comes out to greet you midway through the race. Stay protected from the harmful effects of too much sun exposure, and lather up with your favorite 30 SPF or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen before you hit the course. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends choosing a sunscreen that is water resistant to help keep you protected even when you sweat.

A Before, During, and After Fuel Plan. This is where Kate Davis’ nutrition tips really come in. Having a game plan for the energy you take in (AKA the food you eat) is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. Type of food, timing, and forethought are all key ingredients to success and you don’t want to waste all the hard work you put into training by not fueling up correctly.

Chocolate Milk. As you begin to make your plan to fuel up before, during and after your race, odds are good that chocolate milk will make a debut a time or two. Thanks to its optimum protein-to-carbohydrate ratio, it’s an ideal way to fuel up after your race. Plus, if you are running in Michigan, chances are pretty good that you’ll find it after you pass the finish line.

Make this season your best racing season yet with a few essentials to get you up and going. Even better, share your race day essentials with us on Instagram! Use the hashtag #milkmeansmore and don’t forget to follow us there for more great tips, recipes, and more.

5 Ways to Build Strong Bones

Osteoporosis, a condition of weak and fragile bones, is thought to be a problem for the aging. The reality is there is plenty we can do throughout our lifetime to make sure our bones stay healthy and strong as we age. While many of us associate strong bones with our mother’s or grandmother’s recommendation to “finish your milk” at mealtime, there’s a lot you can do to keep your bones strong and lower your risk of osteoporosis.

5 Ways to Build Strong Bones

  1. Make Healthy Food Choices: Your bones need a variety of nutrients, including calcium, and vitamins C, D, and K. Calcium is the largest component of bone mineral and found to be a nutrient missing in the diet of many Americans. In fact, numerous studies show low calcium intake throughout life is linked to low bone mass and broken bones. Dairy products are ideal in providing the right amounts of calcium and other essential nutrients in one convenient package, specifically vitamin D, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc. The major source of dietary calcium in the American diet is milk and other dairy foods like yogurt and cheese. Calcium is also present in some dark green vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods including juices and soy products.
  1. Make Physical Activity a Priority: Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle is considered a risk factor for osteoporosis. In addition to a calcium-rich diet, regular weight-bearing exercise, like walking or jogging, is essential for the development and maintenance of strong bones. Muscle-strengthening exercises such as lifting weights, using elastic exercise bands and weight machines are also good for strengthening bones and preventing fractures.
  1. Don’t Forget the Vitamin D! Enough vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. We get vitamin D through foods we eat—such as fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna, and in some fortified foods such as milk, orange juice and cereals. Our bodies can also produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
  1. Limit Foods that Prevent Calcium Absorption: While many of us start our day with a cup of coffee and end it with a glass of red wine, some studies have shown that excess caffeine and alcohol consumption can cause bone loss or interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Instead of cutting them out of your diet completely, stick to these dietary recommendations: for alcohol, that means one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men. Like alcohol, enjoy your cup of joe, but keep it in moderation!
  1. Role-Model Positive Eating Behaviors: There is a clear link between the eating habits of parents, and the food preferences and nutrient intakes of their children. When parents eat better, drink more milk and eat more fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods, so do their children. Chances are if you are including more calcium-rich foods in your family’s meal plan AND everyone is enjoying the same meal, then your bodies and bones benefit from it!

Whether you are young and still building bone or older and trying to preserve it, these simple steps can help keep your bones healthy and strong.

Allison Schmitt’s Mom on Raising a Healthy, Happy Athlete

My mom has been an integral part of all the success I have seen, both in and out of the pool.  Her steadfast love, support and humility have allowed me to be become the person that I am today.  I’m honored to introduce you to my mom Gail Schmitt!

Allison and Mom

Raising an athlete is no different than raising any other child. You always want what’s best. You want to do whatever you can to help them reach their goals and their potential. You want them to be the best they can be, and as healthy as they can be.

As a mom, I’ve always paid attention to putting healthy food on the table for family meals. Meals together have always been important to me, and no matter how busy our schedules, they have always served as an opportunity to gather together and connect. Meals are also a time to fuel our bodies with the healthiest food we can find. These foods, and the nutrients they provide, are really the foundation on which future success is built.

 

Milk has been a large part of that commitment to being healthy: Compared to other drinks, the nutritional value of milk is unparalleled. I have no doubt that a large part of all of my kids being taller than me is thanks to the gallons and gallons of milk they’ve drank throughout their lives!

Raising an elite athlete has made me keenly aware of the importance of fueling the body for performance. Allison spends hours in the pool every single day, working as hard as she can to be the best she can be. Like any parent, I think about how she can balance that hard work with recovery so that she can be strong and fast, consistently, and without injury.

Growing up in a house where milk was always on the table means that milk – chocolate milk, specifically – is always poolside, too. It helps Allison recover from a hard workout, and supports her goal of winning a medal. You don’t have to be going for the gold; the benefits of milk are valuable to a toddler playing soccer and a high school track and field athlete too.

Every parent wants their child to be happy and healthy. I believe that making sure my kids had a nutritious diet, including wholesome foods like milk, has been a big part of them growing up and achieving their wildest dreams. I wish the same happiness and good health for your family.

Lunch Ladies and Gents: Modern Day Super Heroes

Do you ever wish there were super heroes living among us? Someone who can save the day or has amazing powers to help others?

I believe school lunch ladies and gents are modern day super heroes, and I am not the only one. In fact, there is a whole day dedicated to School Lunch Heroes and it’s celebrated the first Friday in May every year.

How can an apron turn into a cape and ward off evil villains? Lunch ladies use the power of food to nourish students so they are fueled up and ready learn. Research has shown that school breakfast specifically improves student behavior and learning environments. Serving up lunch keeps students fueled up for the full day.

The Secret Superpowers of Today’s School Lunch Heroes:

School Lunch Heroes hold a special guard post in the school that can often go unnoticed. In many instances, they are the only people who see every student, every day at school. This provides a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on each child every day. I have been in many different school cafeterias and it’s common for many cashiers to know the students by name.

School Lunch Heroes have the power of caring. So many food service employees are in the profession because they care about kids. They have enthusiasm for nutrition and serving the students healthy meals. I have heard countless stories shared by adults, remembering the kind lunch lady at their school. I have seen countless elementary school students receive a big smile and hug from their lunch lady. Lunch ladies (and gents) care for kids.

School Lunch Heroes embrace change. So much has changed over the last 10 years in school food service with the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and consumer trends.  Many school lunch heroes are leading the charge to change their school’s environment for health.

Change can be scary, but there are school lunch staff who have gone after it with gusto.  They have tested different recipes and tried new foods until their students are satisfied with what’s offered.  They have listened to complaints and made adjustments so it fits into their tight budget and meets the new nutrition standards. They can do all this and still provide service with a smile.

School Lunch Heroes in Action:

Bukelwa Hornsby is the supervisor at the East Wing Kitchen of East Kentwood High School. She makes about 150 smoothies daily for breakfast. It is no small feat to have food ready for students. East Kentwood has a diverse student population that only adds to the challenge. Smoothies have been a huge success with students because they are healthy and easy for grab-and-go service. Hornsby has three flavors ready to go each day.

Kelly Busch is the head cook at Mott High School, part of Warren Consolidated Schools. “Kelly is a caring dynamic individual who never shies from a challenge,” said Carl Merkle, food service director at Warren. “Kelly took on the MI Smoothie Challenge and as a result, breakfast participation increased 7% and breakfast sales in general increased 10%.” Merkle continued, “Kelly is never satisfied with the ‘status quo’ but rather continues to push the envelope.  Her fun loving positive attitude is infectious, and her staff responds enthusiastically with all of her ideas.  Kelly has outstanding rapport with the students and the Mott administrative staff.  Kelly is a true SUPERSTAR!”

Kelly Busch and her motley crew

Kelly Busch and her motley crew

Is there an unsung hero in your neighborhood school kitchen? Take the time to say “thank you,” and let them know you notice the hard work they do each day for their students.

We’re officially in the fields!

For a dairy farmer the first thing we do in the spring is take the manure we’ve collected from our barns and stored over the winter, and apply in onto our fields. The manure will provide nutrients to the soil to help grow the plants we’ll feed our cows.

Our farm is verified by the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), meaning we take many steps to be environmentally friendly. We have a lot of paperwork to keep track of the manure and how it’s spread onto the field.

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The record sheet

I designed a sheet to keep track of the manure we haul. It’s kept in the tractor so I can enter the information into our computer program later.

Agitating the manure lagoon

Agitating the manure lagoon

Here you can see the pit where we are “agitating” the manure (like a big blender… mmm smoothie anyone?) and pumping (suctioning it out) into the big tanks and spraying it on the fields.

Applying manure to the field.

Applying manure to the field.

We then have to “incorporate” the manure so that it stays on the soil in the field and doesn’t go anywhere else. We do this with the large piece of equipment that essentially turns over the soil.

There are a lot of steps to handling the manure to ensure the nutrients are provided to the field and we’re doing so in a responsible manner.

Other ways we’re protecting the environment is by rotating the crops that are planted in our fields to ensure the land remains fertile, planting cover crops to stop erosion, and testing the soil to ensure we use the right nutrients so that it can continue to produce food for our cows, who make the milk we all drink.

We are proud to be MAEAP verified and we make sure we take special care of the land around us. We live on the same land as our farm, so we want to be good stewards of the land to protect it for our animals, our employees and the future generations that may farm this same land.

This land feeds all of us, so being respectful of the environment is a must!

How to Encourage Your Teenager to Conquer with Milk

The story of calcium and the role it plays in protecting our bones is one most of us are probably familiar with. In fact, you might even be able to recall a parent, teacher or mentor encouraging you to drink your milk when you were younger because of its rich calcium content.

No matter how you discovered the connection, calcium and dairy go hand in hand. Yet knowing that calcium is important and that dairy foods can help you better meet your calcium goals isn’t enough. You actually have to drink your milk and eat your yogurt to benefit.

Unfortunately, not everyone is incorporating the recommended amount of dairy necessary to meet their calcium needs. This is particularly true for girls between the ages of 14 and 18 who, on average, only consume about 1 1/2  cups of milk or dairy a day. This is alarming because teenagers have a crucial need to for calcium at this stage of their lives. With a higher need for calcium, teenage girls face a double-whammy – increased calcium requirements and a tougher time incorporating calcium-rich foods due to a variety of reasons. Busy schedules, increased access to unhealthy food choices, peer pressure, and less family meals together might be just a few of those reasons over 85% of teenage girls fall short on this nutrient in particular.

As a parent, it may seem impossible to encourage your teenager to change the way they eat. Yet thanks to milk and its versatility, you may find that your teenage daughter just needs a little creative inspiration to incorporate more dairy, even just one glass day, into her busy and active life to better meet her daily needs.

How to Encourage Your Teenager to Conquer with Milk

To help your teenager incorporate more dairy into her everyday moments, consider the following:

Set the stage. If you want your teenagers to eat well, make sure they have easy access to nutrient-rich foods. When it comes to dairy, this means keeping yogurt, milk and cheese readily available throughout the week. Keeping these products front and center in your refrigerator can be helpful or even consider having a few dairy-inclusive snack ideas printed out and posted on your fridge. This can help keep dairy top-of-mind when your teenager is looking for a snack in between meals or if hunger strikes after an event at school.

Plan meals together. Odds are good that your teenage daughter is beginning to express her own unique personality through the decisions she makes on a daily basis. With that independence, you may feel like there is less opportunity to impact the choices she makes; however, in reality, you can help foster positive decision making by encouraging her to make positive choices. One way to do that is to invite your teenager to help plan out what foods are available in the home. Does she have a favorite type of yogurt? Does she prefer chocolate milk to white? Giving her the ability to have input in food purchasing and planning decisions can solidify ownership over those foods, making them much more likely to be a hit in your home. Your teenager may also have great ideas for incorporating a variety of foods into regular meals and, if you aren’t already doing so, may increase the likelihood of enjoying family meals together.

Focus on what matters to her.  Whether your teenager is active in sports, an honor student, or both, what they eat absolutely impacts their performance. By focusing on what matters in her life, you can begin discussing how foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt can enhance those activities and allow your teenager to perform at her optimum level. It puts some of that “healthy food” knowledge into real life terms, giving context as to why it matters.

Encourage them to conquer. Enjoying dairy-rich foods can be a part of your teenage daughter’s story. You can encourage her to conquer her world with a glass of milk in hand by introducing her to Conquer with Milk on Instagram and Twitter. By following us there, your teenager will have access to teen-friendly recipes, content, and inspiring insights from top female athletes that we’ve partnered with to share the story of milk. Check it out today – it’s really a great place to start.

With these helpful tips, your teenager will be well on her way to incorporating the recommended three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt a day. And even if they don’t thank you now, their bones will when they are older.

5 Reasons Why Protein is the Latest Buzzword

So what is all the buzz with protein these days? Is it just another fad for weight loss gurus and bodybuilders? Absolutely not. Protein is an important nutrient found in food and is essential for muscle repair, weight management and so much more! Yet not all protein-containing foods are treated equally. Foods rich in high-quality protein like dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, pork, fish and soy contain all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. Amino acids are building blocks of protein that help build, repair and maintain body tissue. This is why high-quality protein is so vital to our bodies.

5 Reasons Why Protein is the Latest Buzzword

Recently, research has shown that it’s not just how much protein you eat, but when you eat it that makes a big impact on your health. Consuming similar amounts of protein at each meal throughout the day may actually be more beneficial than trying to cram in your entire days’ worth of protein at one meal. Unfortunately, for most Americans, protein needs are often attempted to be met primarily at dinner with intake at breakfast and lunch falling short.

Protein is important, but unless you know why it’s beneficial, it may be difficult to make room for it throughout your day. Protein is essential for many reasons, but here are five that might cause you to think differently about this nutrient:

1. Protein provides satiety

Eating a higher-protein diet, which means getting about 30 percent of your calories from protein, can lead to greater satiety at meals which may lead to less overeating.

2. Protein is beneficial for weight loss and weight maintenance

Research shows that consuming a diet a bit higher than the daily protein recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (0.8 grams protein/kg of body weight per day) and consuming 25-30 grams of protein per meal can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. This is possibly due to the effect protein has on satiety levels and proposed reduction of overall caloric intake.

3. Protein aides in the benefits of exercise

Consuming high-quality protein may also help with faster recovery after workouts, increased muscle repair and improved muscle mass and strength.

4. Protein optimizes body strength 

Not only is protein important for exercise, but some studies have also shown that it helps prevent muscle loss, a concerning issue as we age. Eating a diet higher in protein in addition to regular physical activity is thought to help slow the progression of muscle mass loss and function.

5. Protein is found in so many delicious foods and can be cost-effective, too

A glass of milk, which contains 8 grams of protein, is one of the most affordable protein sources available at only 25 cents per eight ounce serving. Additional high-quality protein sources and the amount of protein found in each include:

6 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt: 17 g

1 slice of cheddar cheese: 7 g

8 ounces of low-fat cottage cheese: 27 g

3-ounce serving of beef: 25 g

3-ounce serving of chicken breast: 26 g

1 large egg: 6 g

Eating at least three dairy servings throughout the day such as a glass of milk or yogurt at each meal time is an easy way to up your protein intake and reap the numerous benefits that protein has on your health. Incorporating other protein-rich foods, like the ones listed above, can also help you better reach optimal protein levels each day.

What do Dairy Farmers do in the Winter?

So often everyone thinks the winter is a vacation since we aren’t growing or harvesting crops. Obviously since we’re dairy farmers we still have lots of work year around. But we don’t quit thinking and talking about crops just because nothing is growing. Since we are feeding our harvest all year long we are constantly evaluating it. In addition, this is the time of the year to make our plan for next year. With help from my brother Kevin, I am going to share how farmers prepare for the growing season.

All winter we have been planning what we will plant where, how much of each crop we will harvest, how we will fertilize the crops, and keep pests out. The first piece of this puzzle is determining out how much we need to grow to feed the animals next year. We look at how many tons we harvested last year and predict what we might need this next year. It is always better to have a little extra than not enough.

On our farm we regularly rotate our crops to keep our soils healthy. This means we don’t grow the same crop on the same field year after year, just like you wouldn’t eat the same thing for every meal for weeks or months at a time. By rotating our crops, we break up the natural cycle of diseases and pests that prey on our crops. This not only leads to higher yields on our farm, it also keeps our soil nutrients from becoming depleted as not all crops require the same amount of the different nutrients. Protecting soil health by rotating crops is an important step in making sure the land will be in good shape for the future generations of farmers to continue doing what they love.

What do Dairy Farmers do in the Winter?

Throughout the winter, farmers think ahead to spring when they will begin preparing their fields to grow the crops they will feed their cows for the next year.

Part of taking care of our land means we monitor it closely and make decisions based on what it needs. We work with several professional agronomists to test the nutrient levels in the soil on our farm. They take soil samples in a grid fashion, breaking large fields into smaller blocks with a GPS reference point. With this information, we make plans to apply the nutrients our crops will need in each section of our fields at a variable rate based on the sample grid. This helps in preventing us from over-applying nutrients because when it comes to fertilizer, more is not always better.

We also need to purchase our seed. We work with several local salespeople and discuss what varieties of corn, hay, wheat and beans will work well with our soil and needs. We look for seed varieties that have tolerance to diseases common in our area and have traits that will make excellent cow food. Farmers are also trying to guess how the growing season will be and pick a variety that will also thrive in that kind of a growing season. When these are decided we put our order in and seed is set to be delivered in the spring.

Even though snow is on the ground, it doesn’t mean farmers are sitting there twiddling their thumbs. A lot goes into a growing season and now is when it all comes to fruition!