Dropping cattle numbers a real cause of concern

We held our final cattle sale of the year on Saturday in Stratton. We had 681 head and despite the depressed markets, things went well.
We had a real nice bunch of bred cows, and I still think they went way too cheap.
Unfortunately, a nice farmer from north of Emo decided to cut back and had a nice bunch of cows for sale. It’s too bad that we couldn’t have found him more money, but that is how things are–not just here, but everywhere.
Cattle numbers are dropping drastically and it is something we all should be concerned about. Without our cattle, the store shelves will look pretty empty!
I know “Henry” was sad to see his cows go, but I hope he enjoys not having to go out and feed and check for calves this winter when it is minus-40 (if he feels too lonely, I’m sure many of us would welcome his visits!)
• • •
I made a trip to Quetico this past week to pick up our thresher again. Chantelle and I now have all our plots threshed and I need to meet someone in Quetico again so the Thunder Bay research station can finish up.
Apparently, the word is that next year I won’t need to do this as they are planning to have a plot combine here (time will tell).
Plowing is going well—it’s just so many other things that pull you from this job. Never mind the weather.
It has been a few years that plowing was this nice (it is normally either too wet or too dry).
The plowing and soil sampling are the only outside jobs left at the research station now.
• • •
We had a strategic planning session this week and about 20 of us were there. It seemed we all were a bit tired, but we managed to come up with a few goals.
I think fall is a tough time for us to set goals as we are tired and worn out from trying to get things done. Maybe the spring we would be ready to gear up again!
We know we have lots of work to do on our “Rainy River Raised” brand. We might need to attach this to something simpler at the start, like veggies.
We also would love to have a “Community Kitchen”–some place where we can prepare and sell some of our local products. A place where we could make soup and have it available in our schools. A place where we could can our dill pickles and make them available for the district.
I would love to have a “Rainy River Raised” store–and have a drive-thru so you could pull up and order a couple of steaks, a few potatoes, and carrots and then drive home and cook it up (I think that if you’re gonna dream, you should dream big!)
We also know that we need to connect with our friends and neighbours. We need to communicate and develop partnerships with others with what we are doing and how and why we are doing it.
A place where we might start doing this is with our tourist friends. Possible when a family comes in for a vacation and the dad is off fishing, we should have the rest of the family come and see what we are doing. Maybe that would be a simple farm visit, a horse ride, or attend a barn concert.
There is lots to do on this front, as well, and we have lots of room to play.
These are just a few of the reason why we need someone working with us and moving us forward. Jeannette has been pushing us along, but her position is due to end at the end of the year.
Still, it’s clear we need this to continue on!

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