By Amelia Kent
Everything has a season, so they say…. The holiday season is here; the season of giving. On our farm, it’s also calving season. Have I told you how much I love calving season?! As much as I adore calving, the most routine chore this time of year is a direct result of hay season earlier in the year, as we feed hay when our cows are not grazing ryegrass.
While I was putting hay out last week, my phone dinged the familiar sound notifying me of a Facebook message – for those unfamiliar, think of texting through Facebook. The message was from a friend I’ve known since elementary school, who is now a junior high school teacher. Her message read as follows: “I just had a social studies teacher come to me and ask me if I knew anyone with cattle! Her students didn’t know the difference between a cow and a bull, much less have ever touched one. Do you or do you know anyone that would be able to bring a calf to the school?”
Here I am, on a tractor about 20 miles from the school in question, looking at a pasture full of cows and calves – with cell service to boot! I think about the message, and after dropping a pair of bales, with plenty left to go, I hopped off the tractor and posted a live video to our farm’s Facebook page addressing the difference between a bull and a cow. I even messaged the video’s link to my friend, all while still putting out hay. Meanwhile, I’m also visiting with a neighbor who can potentially take a halter-broke heifer to the school.
My day carried on, putting more hay out to more cows. Between classes, my friend messaged me back saying that she and her colleague loved the video, and asked if I’d be willing to Skype (video conference) into the classroom to visit with the students about our farm. Wow, that’s such a great request – of course, I’d love to! The opportunity to provide a full classroom with a glimpse of agriculture in our area is one I don’t take lightly, and will not miss.
As I think about this experience, relative to the fast-approaching holidays and all of the other seasons, I am reminded this is the season of giving. Two of our most valued goods are our time and our future generation. As we reflect on our spirit of giving, I encourage you to take some of your time to share your agricultural experiences with children and young adults, as well. Think about it. If we each visited with students in our area, the distance between the 98% of our society and us wouldn’t be nearly as wide. As for me, I’m as excited for my classroom visit as I am for our bouncing baby calves and grazing ryegrass. As this year winds down, and 2018 quickly rolls in, I encourage you to invest some of your time in our future.
Amelia Kent and her husband, Russell, raise beef cattle and hay in East Feliciana Parish. Amelia is a past chair of Louisiana’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, is currently a member of the - Partners in Advocacy Leadership program with AFBF, and serves on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Find them on Facebook at Kent Farms; or on Instagram and Twitter @kentfarms_la.