Kris and I went to Traverse City, MI for the final session of his 2010-2011 ProFILE class, which is a leadership class through Farm Bureau.
Kris has been going to the different events for almost two years, but I was just meeting his classmates for the first time.
I met Brian Pridgeon, who is a seventh generation farmer. He and his family currently have about 70,000 pigs. Did you know that pigs are pregnant for 114 days? Did you know that after they wean their piglets, the sows go into heat 5 days later, like clockwork? Did you know that their conception rate (on his farm) is 96%? I didn't.
Another class member has a greenhouse and sells all of the greenhouse's plants to places like Home Depot. As we drove through the vineyards, Kris mentioned that a lot of winery owners were also members of Farm Bureau. We saw some people working, trimming trees in the snow. There were also lots of cherry farms. Fruit growers are everywhere up there.
It's nice having the opportunity to talk to these farmers and learn about their industries, just like I like to talk to dairy farmers and learn more about ours.
We were eating a meal and a woman said, "With sons, it increases your chances one of them might want to take over your farm." The woman (farmer) replied, "I hope not. I hope they shoot for something higher."
Different products, different locations, different farms. Some farmers enjoy farming, some don't. Just like every job, it has its bad days and good days. Thankfully, so far, the good has far outweighed the bad. Can't wait to see milk prices in 2011!