Western Water Profile: De Smet Dairy Farms

Mike De Smet is known for his friendly disposition, his inability to say no to a challenge, and a deeply ingrained love of dairy farming. De Smet grew up on the 125-acre dairy farm he now manages. But this is not his father’s dairy—he and his wife, Erica, have embarked on an ambitious and pioneering effort to build New Mexico’s first, and only, USDA certified organic, raw, grass fed dairy farm. De Smet started learning the dairy trade as soon... Read More

Farmer Profile: Introducing Rock Paper Scissors Goat Dairy of Cummington, MA

Partners Angie Arahood and Lee Lewis are launching Rock Paper Scissors Goat Dairy, a goat micro­dairy selling Certified Grade A raw milk in Cummington, MA.  Read More  Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – Looking Back, Looking Ahead

It is hard to believe that this is our last post as Bootstrap Bloggers. This year has flown by; it seems like it was just a few weeks ago that we were writing our first installment. When we wrote the first blog, we were looking forward to spring and now we are settling into winter. As I write this we are under a winter weather watch with forecasts for several inches of snow. And for followers of our farm, you might remember that out here in the west... Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – State Policy Comes to the Farm in Montana

Policy is one of those subjects that people either seem to love or hate. Some farmers have no interest in getting involved with policy, even though it might directly affect them. And clearly, most policy makers at higher levels of government have little interest or relation to farming. Bridging this divide to create policy that is responsive to the needs of dairy farmers across the United States is something that we both are active with and is a frequent... Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – Marketing and Sales

For marketing, like the rest of our farm venture, we are starting small with big visions for the future. We currently have a logo, a Facebook page, a domain name, and are within a couple days of launching a Kickstarter campaign. We have visions of shirts, stickers, ice cream cartons, a scoop mobile, and much more. Read More  Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – Pasture Management

Pasture management in Montana is not just about building fence and moving cows. First and foremost it is about irrigation. Because of our arid climate we rely heavily on irrigation water, which is dependent on mountain snow pack. Every winter farmers and ranchers in the west look to the mountains as they plan for the following year. Good snow levels correlate to a successful growing season. Poor snow levels might mean selling off some stock, planting... Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – Training and Experience

I remember hearing a statistic once, that to be an expert at something you had to do that activity for 10,000 hours. Connie and I tried to calculate all of the hours we have stood behind or next to a cow (or under during some unfortunate events), and we still think we are each a long way off from 10,000. While we may not be experts yet, Connie and I have had enough experience to feel strongly that we are capable of managing cows on our own. The Golden... Read More

Bootstrap @ Chaseholm Farm – Training

Happy Summer! I’m writing after our recent (and very productive) dry and hot spell from the comfort of cool weather.  The cows are loving it.   This post is about the training that I have received, am currently receiving and what I still need to know…  I have been looking forward to this post because I feel like I did this farming thing a little backwards.   Growing up on a farm gave me so much experience and insight but I often had the... Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – Looking Ahead at Capital and Equipment

This past month has been a big decision-making month for The Golden Yoke. Unlike the other Bootstrap farmers, we are not currently milking any cows, do not have any facilities, and do not have any real equipment to speak of.  And having just finished grad school, we do not have much cash on hand to put into these things. The next issue we have been tackling is that I (Laura) received a Fulbright and will be gone for most of 2014, the year we are... Read More

Bootstrap @ The Golden Yoke – on Breeds and Species

Montana is considered a fluid milk state, which means that one of the primary goals for dairy farmers is to breed cows that produce a lot of milk without much regard for components.  Across the state, the vast representation of cows are of the black and white variety, Holsteins that is.  We only know of a handful of farmers that milk Jerseys or Jersey crosses, and one farmer that milks Brown Swiss.  We have nothing against Holsteins, but Montana... Read More

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