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KeithFink

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Everything posted by KeithFink

  1. Good Morning, Friends, Had I not been asked specifically, I would not have tried to answer that question because I don't feel qualified. I am not an industry insider, and probably not even that smart when it comes to doing what I do. I'm just a dairy farmer, along with my wife and four children, trying to make a living on our family farm. The farm has been a dairy farm, in our family since 1891, I believe. We milk about 50 cows now, and are raising about 35 heifers aged 1 week to two-year springer. We are still almost paying the bills because of my wife's off-the-farm teaching job. Why do we continue? Because I sure would like to keep the farm for my children, should they feel the calling.... Do small, family, dairies have a chance going into the future? It will be tough. Certainly if they are able to find a niche, probably marketing their own milk or milk products. But you would have to be in the right location, probably a near a higher population urban area. Even at that, I'm not sure you can go into that kind of venture with much debt. If you want to be that traditional small farm and sell to the cheese plant or co-op, I think prospects are slim. Too much milk, they say. Nobody wants to buy yours or mess with your small volume. As a small dairy, our biggest fear is losing our market. If that happened right now, it is very doubtful we could find another market for the little bit of milk that comes from a 50-cow herd. And there is no way we could afford the payments on what we would have to borrow to put in our own small-time processing equipment. We do have debt already. Profit margins, if they exist at all, are just too slim. If prices should climb to a point where I can make more money by selling more milk, I won't be able to do it, initially, because our co-op has all producers on a quota. To offer a snapshot of how the "experts" see the future of the dairy industry, I offer this video from Hoard's Dairyman. Kind of depressing. I don't see anything that looks like what we know as the "Traditional Family Dairy Farm". Sadly, if the nation's dairy herd continues to consolidate on large, more efficient farms, and these farms are able and willing to sell the milk for much less than what a smaller farm could do, there will be no way for smaller farms to market their milk, and earn a living doing so. I guess I won't now worry about what they think will happen in 50 years. Unless I live to be 100, I'll be gone by then. I love my cows. Perhaps God will have me milking cows in heaven! No sick cows in heaven, No bad weather, and the farmer will not get tired and will feel no pain. Praise the Lord! Now, to end this with some encouraging words - LOL- here is a comment I received just this morning via our Youtube channel. The channel bears my name, but the videos are made mostly by our oldest son, Hank. The comment was titled "Heros" "Just now watched a piece about fallen hero’s from helicopter crash last week in Iraq. Our son is MH 53 pilot, has served in Iraq and else where . Because of him, we have a connection with theses seven men and their families.It is that type of connection we have found with your son’s dedication to tell others about his farm and family. He no doubt has the support of his family and others. We have found that same connection with that special farm family in Wisconsin. They are serving their country as good citizens just as these others serve their country in uniform. We salute our military and that dairy farm family in Wisconsin." Yes, it was addressed to our family in particular, but I'm confident the sentiments also go out to all farm families, so take heart, everyone. Keith-
  2. Ooh,oh, ouch! No wonder mom and dad were able to birth and feed five kids while milking only 25 cows! Now, when 1981 came along, life did get harder. Mom went to work full-time, and dad took some part-time work because those five kids were now capable of doing most of the work at home. Speaking of the early 80s....I was just driving home from an early-morn lab appointment and heard on the radio that the Fed is all set to raise interest rates again, and thinking that perhaps another .25% will not be enough to reflect the robust economy. Haven't seen the recent rate hikes affect our mortgage yet, but every one of them has made it into our operating loan. Keith-
  3. It's interesting - I've got a cigar box full of random receipts from 1969 when my parents were still running the farm (I was 3). There is a slip of paper in there from Golden Guernsey Dairy showing that he got just a few cents less than $9/hundred. I haven't the time now, but I'm sure 9 1969 dollars would be quite a few more in 2018. I know today's cost are higher. I just got our quarterly insurance bill....wow. Keith-
  4. Thanks, Mader, for your support of dairy farmers. The sentiments and actions are truly appreciated. I must admit, though (and I don't know if I'm right or wrong in my opinion) that I am beginning to think that going to the store and purchasing an extra gallon of milk, or pound of cheese, is not really helping the farmers who risk all to produce that raw milk product. We're probably just serving to add to the profits of the cheese plants and retailers who sell an expensive product made with dirt-cheap milk. I was looking at a five-pound block of sharp cheddar that was sitting on our kitchen table the other night. It was bought for us by our neighbor. He purchased it from the Westby (WI) Creamery. The price was a few cents less than $6/pound. Wow! Expensive cheddar. It irritated me knowing that the class 3 cheese price ($13.44/hundred in Feb) that we are paid is based on CME-traded cheese that was valued at $1.47/pound. Now, I realize that a cheese plant has the expense of doing business as well, but the difference between $5.87/pound and $1.47/pound seems quite large to me...can't they pay the farmer more for the milk and still be able to make a profit? I'm not sure yet what to think of the whole situation, but I'm tiring of being the guy who is expected to shoulder all of the risk in this industry. Also tiring of being the guy who pays all of the trucking costs to get that cheap milk to the plant. Oddly enough, any time I buy something (feed, seed, fertilizer, supplies, parts, etc.) I'm also the guy who pays to get it here. Boy, am I starting to feel stupid... Keith- P.S. Just proofed the above - Because of component pricing, and a few premiums that we do still get, our pay price was a few dollars more than the $13.44 class 3 price. Still no where near enough, though.
  5. Now those things are just plain cool. I wish I had one. I'm not able to read anything other than the King's English, and I wasn't quite sure from looking at the photos - do these things have a suspension? Keith-
  6. Wow. My birth certificate says that I was new in 1966. I wish I looked as good. I may sound the same as the vintage 706, but it has me beat on looks! Congratulations. Keith-
  7. Well, yes, but at the time of the Roto-Baler, we still needed to heft those bales with nothing but human brawn. The round bales increased in size only after our tractor loaders (and hydraulics) were advanced enough to do the job. The guy that invented the skid loader helped the situation along too..... Keith-
  8. Wow, a thrower with its own engine. I guess I've never seen that before. I probably wasn't paying attention. I suppose, at the time, having a thrower was the bees knees. What with making the baling process a one-man operation in the field. I could see myself get'n mighty hot under the collar were I to head to the field to bale up a field of beautiful alfalfa as storm clouds gathered in the western sky, only to find that the motor on the thrower wouldn't start...LOL Keith-
  9. Yes! Old tractors still doing their thing. We have a '51 H working every day on the silage wagon feeding the cows. I have been very proud of it over the last month or so, starting every day in the sub-zero cold without the aid of a block heater or ether. The only tractor on the farm that hasn't needed cold weather life support - LOL Keith-
  10. Yes! I could use one of these. For my 856. My Kubota (with the cab, loader, 4WD....) is in the shop going on more than a week now and I am hauling manure and feeding bales with the 856. A capable tractor to be sure, but no cab. I'm get'n too old for the cold. Keith-
  11. And how! Fahr engineers must not have had enough to do the day they designed that one. That rake looks like a parts salesman's dream. Keith-
  12. Well, now, I guess I need to post a few pics of 1 of the 2 145s that my cousin uses here in WI. Here he is planting corn down a the end of our driveway. Keith-
  13. Removing a rear wheel to eliminate crop damage would seem to have the opposite effect. Oh well,I'm sure they knew what they were doing. Keith-
  14. Yeah, I don't know...get one of those things in your pants and you'll be able to do just about any kind of dance there is! Keith-
  15. Ha! This stuff is great! I know that even in this day and age, my daughter would love to have the 11-piece animal, pump, and truck set. With a $0.98 price tag, I'd be willing to buy in multiples! I didn't come on the scene until 1966, so my days of intently studying the christmas catalogs would not have started until the early 1970s, but I fondly remember doing it. In our house the catalogs would have been from Sears, JCPenney, and Monkey Wards. I recall Sears having the more interesting toys, but they were all fun to browse. Keep the catalog pages coming.... Keith-
  16. iTuna. Hmm...sounds like new-fangled electronic seafood. Keith-
  17. JD wasn't finished yet because the 720 then set the record which wasn't broken until 20+ years later. When the 70 was being tested at Nebraska, the guys running the tests thought the final results were just too good to believe and faulty so they asked JD for a retest. The tractor did even better on the 2nd test!! Just curious - what tractor set the record 20+ years later? What tractor holds the current record? I'm thinking about buying another tractor; perhaps I should go and buy a current or past record-holder. Unfortunately, I'm not real fond of the JD two-poppers..... Keith-
  18. Wyckoff & Co. 1888 postcard, side 2. Keith-
  19. My dad stopped by the house today and brought to me a cigar box full of old tax bills and fire insurance receipts belonging to my great grandfather when he was running the farm we now operate. I believe he purchased it in the later 1880s, and it has been in the family ever since. The oldest receipt in the box was for a newspaper subscription to our local paper (still a daily newspaper) dated 1896. $1.75 for an 18 month subscription. Interesting about that is the receipt is signed by W.D.Hoard, owner and publisher. Hoard also served as governor of Wisconsin from 1889 to 1891 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_D._Hoard>.Hoard may be better known to some reading this as the founder and publisher of Hoard's Dairyman magazine. The subject of this post, however, is the postcard pictured below, also found in the box dad dropped off today. Near as I can tell, the card dates from 1888 and is an ad for Wyckoff & Co. manufacturers of the Perry binder, mower, and reaper. Apparently manufactured in Perry, NY. The front of this card features the 1888 presidential race between incumbent Grover Cleveland, and challenger Benjamin Harrison. In case you weren't voting then, you can read about the outcome here: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1888> The other side of the postcard will be in the next post... Keith-
  20. Thanks for those views of the old style quonset Gary. Its interesting that the name "quonset" referred to the style of building. Not usually a brand name. In the case of this ad they do use it as a name . The Quonset 32 offered here by the Great Lakes Steel Corporation. Goodness! Part of that ad reads like a Viagra commercial. Keith-
  21. Hmm....was the T/A really the best thing since blow-up tires? Every time I hear T/A mentioned, it is regarding a repair, or a non-working one on a tractor that is for sale. I've never operated a T/A-equipped Farmall tractor, so I can't answer my own question with any truth. Keith-
  22. I've been doing some cleaning of the shelf this morning and found a folder containing some old ads that I must have saved quite a number of years ago. As I get time, I'll have to share them. For starters, here's a Minneapolis Moline combine ad from 1954. Keith-
  23. So THAT'S what they look like with paint! LOL We had a 560 spreader with a hydraulic tailgate. It was a nice simple spreader. Like all daily-use-in-a-Wisconsin-winter spreaders, it wasn't the best for getting clean in sub-zero weather. The wet slop instantly froze to the steel sides and wood floor. We replaced it with our current spreader which has plastic sides and floor. Really nice in the cold. Keith-
  24. I'm way too young to ever remember anyone using these regularly, but I have a neighbor who has quite a barn full of draft horses and he uses one behind a team to harvest his hay. We call it a hay loader. Check out youtube, quite a few vids of the Amish using them out in PA. Here are two pics showing what the rig may have looked like when new. This was displayed at our local thresheree. Keith-
  25. Wow! 1949 seems a bit late for an ad for a new stationary threshing machine. I wasn't alive then, but it would seem to me that new machines of this nature would have been quite rare as late as '49. Pull-type combines were all the rage, and self-propelled versions were coming on the scene as well, correct? Does anyone know when the last new stationary threshing machines were built in large numbers? Keith-
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