Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Moms on the Farm

Yesterday I was so excited to participate in Moms on the Farm.  Thanks for the heads up nwamotherlode.com!  The Animal Science Department at the University of Arkansas invited local Moms on a "field trip" to visit a local dairy farm, beef farm, and back to campus for a cooking demo with the Arkansas Cattlewomen.  The goal was to educate us non-ag Moms on where our food comes from and how it's produced.  Cooking and serving healthy and delicious foods to my family is important to me, so this was right up my alley.  The first stop was the Triple A Dairy Farm in Centerton.  Susan Anglin and her husband Ryan, a 3rd generation dairy farmer, run this farm.  A lot of planning and hard work go into keeping a dairy going!  They are generally milking around 240 cows twice a day as well as caring for baby calves and "dry cows", those expecting babies.  Susan takes care of the babies, feeding them and monitoring them for illness.  She said her nursing background has come in handy during her 28 years on the farm!  They monitor all of their animals closely and do use antibiotics if needed, but sometimes they are able to solve health issues other ways, by using electrolytes, for example.  However, she wanted us to be very clear that antibiotics are not in the US milk supply!  It's illegal.  The milk is tested numerous times, both on the farm and at the processing dairy, in this case Hiland in Fayetteville.  If it has traces of antibiotics, it's not used.  Susan told us that milk is the most highly regulated and safe food you can buy.  The main thing Susan wanted us to take away is that they love their farm and the animals and they want to provide the healthiest, quality product they can.  And I believe it!  She was very passionate as she spoke about her everyday life on the farm.  To read more about her adventures in farming, go here. Take a look at these photos.

Susan tells us about caring for baby calves

They just wanted to lick you!

Ladies in waiting.  These cows will have babies soon.

Can it get any cuter?

Farm dogs

The maternity barn where they take cows if they need a little help giving birth.

The commodity barn where they store feed.

The milk tank

This cow is getting some relief. :)
We had lunch while riding on the tour bus to the next stop, Hedge Farms in Lincoln.  This beef farm is owned by Marsha Hedge.  I left there so inspired!  Martha's husband was killed in an accident 13 years ago.  She loved the lifestyle, so she continued on with the farm along with her two young daughters.  She did what she had to do to keep the farm going, learning to bale hay, fix tractors, and still be at the house when her girls got home from school.  Like Susan, Marsha was very passionate as she talked about her life on the farm.  She loves the land and the cattle and wants to ensure they are happy and healthy and produce a good product.  Here are some scenes from her farm.
Marsha talking about what it takes to run a beef farm.

Isn't it beautiful?

Patiently waiting in a pen for our safety
Both women talked about how the economy and recent drought conditions have severely affected US farmers.  Many small farmers are being forced out of business and the rest are struggling.  Something Susan said really hit me.  She wanted us to remember that decisions made at home and behind desks really affect farmers.  Think about it.  Like the first picture says, NO FARMS-NO FOOD!

Our tour ended back on campus in the Home Ec lab.  The Arkansas Cattlewomen setup several stations with recipes and ingredients for us to cook.  I didn't get to stay and finish my dish because I had to be home for the girls after school.  But, I decided to make it for dinner!  It got a thumbs up from the family.  I can't wait to try some of the beef recipes we received as well.
Cooking in the Home Ec Lab

Some of our ingredients

My finished dish at home

This was such a great experience!  It was wonderful to learn we have local farmers committed to their way of life while looking out for us by producing safe and healthy products.  Thank a farmer today!

Apple Chicken Stir Fry

1 lb cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup onion, vertically sliced
1 3/4 cups carrots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsps vegetable oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup fresh or frozen sugar snap peas
1 tbl water
1 medium baking apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 tbl oil
2 cups cooked brown rice

Stir fry cubed chicken in 1 tbl vegetable oil in nonstick skillet until lightly browned and cooked.  Remove from skillet.

Stir fry onion, carrots, and basil in oil in same skillet until carrots are tender.  Stir in pea pods and water.  Stir fry 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in apple.  Add to chicken.

Serve hot over cooked rice.

Thanks so much to these sponsors for making this trip happen!


  1. What an awesome experience! We actually visited that dairy farm when Nora was about 2 with the MOMS club... I'll have to try your recipe!

  2. Thanks for visiting our farm and sharing your experience with other consumers!