"Where Passion, hardwork, and dedication are just a way of life for one Agriculture enthusiast that wants to share the industry with you"

Thursday, 30 June 2011

An Experience I will Remember

As many of you know I created this blog for Summer Synergy's marketing Competition. This being my last blog post for the competition I just wanted to say a few words on how much I enjoyed sharing this wonderful industry with you!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be continuing this blog and keep putting up new posts! The truth is I enjoyed every minute of writing new posts to share with you about me and my farm, conflicts, and just the agriculture industry it self! I am so happy I created this blog because it really showed me how much I really do love writing! In fact I liked it so much I hope to persue a career in writing after I am done High School. This blog was a major reason for that decision, for it really inspired me to get out there and write about new things to share with you!
I must say teaching people about the industry was never a dull moment! Not only was I teaching people about it, but I learnt so much more my self! I had to ask more questions and even pull out some really old photos! It was all such a n interesting experience that I am sure to never forget.

Not to mention I did not realize photography was so much fun. I was never really much of a photogrpher before this blog. But I wanted to get out there and take pictures to show all of you what farm life is really like. It was really fun, and I now know how to run a camera way better too! There is just so much to share out on the farm from the cows grazing in the field ot new born baby calves and horses it was really cool to show people stuff like that who never really do get to witness it on a daily basis.

I just wanted to Thank Summer Synergy so much for encouraging me to make this blog and share what life is really like Down on The Farm. It made me discover how much I enjoy writing and sharing the agriculture industry with new people. Thank you so much!!

I still have a lot more to share with everyone so continue to read my blog and you will get to see it all! I hope reading all my posts have been as much as an enjoyment to you as it has been for me writing them!

Thanks Everyone :)

Sarah Nixdorff

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Here's a Commercial that you fellow Beef Producers might like!! Just Kidding!!

As I was watching one of my Favourite Television shows "Animal Planet" I came across this little commercial. On Animal Planet they often have cute little commercial clips about saving the planet and animals. This one I did not find so cute being a fellow beef producer.

So basically they are saying that "the more meat we eat the more cows we have producing green house gas emissions". The truth is cows versus the world green house gas emmissions does not even come close at all. In fact there is such drastic other things in the world producing green house gas emmsisions that we should be way more worried about than cows farting!

They are saying eat a more balanced diet with less meat. Which I don't agree with at all. Maybe it's just my inner beef producer really disliking this video, but I don't see why they would pin point this situation on cows of all things and actually make a commercial about it and air it on television when there is other things we should be way more worried about.

These are just some vegetarians or animal rights activists trying to make people stop eating beef, and this is there way of doing that saying that cows produce green house gas emmisions that could harm the world. I find these people very unknowledgable about the beef industry and it's affects on the environment. The ironic example that I have for this is that they are using a dairy cow ( which produces milk not beef) flying around farting than blaming the situation on beef cattle. This just shows they really don't have any idea what they are talking about.

I definitely think by airing this commercial animal planet you have definitely lost alot of respect from fellow farmers and ranchers who produce beef cattle as a living and depend on people eating the beef to make their living.

So you fellow Beef eaters keep on eating as much beef as you want, and don't let phony little commercials like this fool you!!

Advertisement in The Cattle Industry

Showing cattle is a simple way for us people in the cattle industry to advertise our cattle. As breeders we need a way to promote our farm and show people what it has to offer. Travelling to shows with selected cattle from your herd that are usually your best is a great way to do that. By doing this we can talk to new people from different places about our cattle and promote them. You never know where future buyers might be! Yes, it is fun winning ribbons, banners, and prize money but by showing you can get alot more than that out to it. A chance to show off your cattle, and make a name for your self and your farm.

"Cow Calf pair Champions at Agribition"

As purebred breeders in the Hereford industry we have found that showing our bulls or females have helped bring buyers out to the ranch. Even me and my sister showing in junior shows during the summer has made an impact on us selling our bulls. It's all about getting out there!

Yes, showing is a lot of work it's not all about just getting to the show but you have to halter break, feed, and maintain hair on show cattle. The preparation is unreal. It may take a lot of work but in the end it can be very benficial to your farm economically!

"Dad showing one of our bulls"


Showing your breed is very important. What ever breed of cattle you raise you want to make sure it maintains a good name for it self in the industry. For example we only show Herefords because thats what we raise and want to promote.

Even our 4-H steers, me and my siblings have never shown a 4-H steer with out a white face! They have been half red angus but you gotta promote the Herefords! Another thing with showing is if your like us and show animals from your own herd and breeding the success you have with them means so much more!

Some of our Hereford influence steers:

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's a Family Affair

A farm or ranch usually consists of a family that owns or operates it. Our farm SNS Herefords is a little more family orientated than most. At one time my Grandpa, Grandma, their three sons and all us eight grand children were all apart of the farm. Over time some of us split apart forming their own ranch "YV Ranch". Still my grandparents and two of their sons run SNS Herefords with five of us grand children. We are still very close with YV for we raise alot of the same cattle, and live right by each other.

"The Nixdorff clan incuding the YV crew"

Having such a big family orientated farm has definitely made a big impact on my life. Team work is the main thing that has to be accomplished. Yes we do have our arguments and disagreements on how things are done but we always seem to find a solution that best works for the farm. Us being long time Hereford breeders our hard work and dedication to the breed has made us pretty well known in the industry.The unique thing about our farm is that everyone has their own specialty in what they do. My dad runs mostly the purebred herd, he is definitely the cattle man on the ranch. He could tell you everything and anything about every cow here. He mostly takes care of the cattle, and selling bulls and what not. Where as my other uncle is more of the mechanic type person he takes care of alot of the seeding and stuff that needs to be done in the harvest also helping out with the commercial herd. And then comes my good old Grandpa I can honestly say he is my all time hero. He is the funniest hard working person I have ever known. He is the boss around here at SNS Herefords thats for sure, anything he saids goes. He does both cattle and takes care of the harvesting stuff. Yes, he is an older guy but he works just as hard as my dad and uncle.

My Grandparents are the foundation of this farm. They are truly the best people I have ever known. They always steer the farm in the right direction, and spoil everyone of their grand children rotten. Attending every cattle show, horse show or function that their grand kids might be in, they are truly the best grand parents ever.

As a whole having such  a family orientated farm has taught me so many things. It's not just one person teaching you everyhting you learn different things from different people that are all trying to make the farm as successful as it can be. Some kids say they only see their cousins at least once or twice a year, I can honestly say I see mine almost everyday. There's always a lending hand when you need one because you know you will always have your family right along side you.

Cousins: Hal, Adam, Elise, Brady, Coleman, Chad, Sarah, Jenna

Our family has done some great things together all thanks to us sticking together and running this farm as a team. We all have gotten to go on vacations to the West coast and just recently Hawaii. Our familys are closer than ever and I truly do believe it is part of the reason we have been so successfull in this industry.

Us cousins in Maui, Hawaii this Past New Years

Saturday, 25 June 2011

What do you breed for?

Breeding is probably a number one factor of the cattle industry, wether your breeding for range cattle, shows, or beef you look back at genetics that will work for you.  Wether your AI ing (artificial insemination) or just doing it naturally with a bull you have probably chosen a sire that will best match your needs. When breeding your striving to produce the best calves you can in your herd. By selecting sires and dams that have proven them selves superior, you aim for somehting better or just as good.

"one of our bulls we purchased this year to breed to our best purebred cows, hopefully the calves are good in January !"

"Generator is one of our most prized bulls even though he deceased he is still theroughly used in the Hereford industry today, his breeding and offspring have been very successful"

Us being Purebred breeders the main thing we aim for in our breeding is to make our bull calf offspring as as successful as we can. For our bull calves will be sold to other purebred breeders to improve there cow herd as well. The better quality of bulls we have the more buyers we will have interested in purchasing them.

Somethings people will look for when breeding is EPD's. EPD's are an estimate of numbers and data of what a bull or cow will transmit to their offspring. EPD's are found only in Purebred cattle that are registered. You can find a cow or bulls EPD's in different breed associations. Some information they will give you is milk, birth weight, and other information regarding the animals preformance. Currently sixteen breeds produce EPD's and publish a sire summary. Another valuable thing breeders look at is an animals pedigree. Which contains all an animals information including all their extended relations.

For those of you not familiar with EPD's or pedigrees here is an example for you , this is a cow I own pedigree and EPD's.
When breeding for range cattle people breed for a more easy fleshing kind of cattle, meaning easier doing. They can stand harsh weather conditions with out loosing a lot of weight and not need a ton of feed to survive. You don't need to put a lot into them to get a lot out. With a good hair coat, and a good set of feet and legs under them they can roam freely in large fields. Fertility is a major thing that ranchers must look at when breeding, the better fertility the more chance you will have at having a big calf crop there for when it's time to sell your calves on market more money is in the bank! Gaining is another aspect that should be bred for the more gain you have the more money per pound. With range cattle you are not only breeding for feedlot you are breeding for the preformance of your herd for it contains your future females that will produce offspring.

When breeding for show cattle your breeding for future champions. These cattle are thick, full of muscle, and have a good frame to them. Hair is a big thing when it comes to show cattle the more hair you have the more you can change the animals appearance and hide faults that may take away from the animals appearance. It does not matter if it's range cattle or show cattle a docile temperment is always something that you want to breed for. The better temperment the easier to work with they are. Exspecially show cattle who have to do a lot of standing around and being pampered it can make a huge difference on the job you can do and your success in what your doing!

"Back in the Day Champion Female at The Calgary Stampede"

Feedlot cattle are a little different sure you want them to have a decent set of feet and legs but it's not a huge priority as long as they can get from the feed to the water. Gain is the number one thing your looking for in these cattle.. You want to find a mix of breeds or animals that potentially have proven them selves to out gain any other. Rate of gain means the more money you make per pound. You will also be breeding for proper muscling to ensure quality meat.

"Some Feedlot steers"

I hope I have given you some information on breeding and some of the things we breed for and why!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Shifty Time : Alberta's 2009 Racing Filly of The Year

In the Fall of 2008 my farm SNS Herefords and some co-owners decided to purchase two yearling theroughbreds from the Yearling Alberta Theroughbred Horse Sale. My family has raised many race horses in the past and decided to just get back into that year. But did they know that they were purchasing not just some average race horse. They had purchased a yearling filly that we named "Shifty Time" and a yearling colt that we named "Cat out of hell" at the sale paying four grand for both of them.

They both are really great race horses but the Filly astounded us all! We had named her Shifty Time because she had a shifty look about her, you could never tell what she was going to do next. Being a tall 16.3 she was a very beautiful horse. The most exotic thing about her was her one white eye you could say it gave her a kind of "crazy" look! We never were expecting anything big our first year back in the business but we were sure in for a surprise!

"Shifty's 1st workout at the Northlands Race Track in Edmonton"

Shifty's first race was a two year old stakes race the purse for the winner was $50 000. She came second by not much at all! Our trainer and my dad giving the jockey specific directions not to wear her out. So she came all the way from the back to stealing second in the last stretch of the race. We could'nt believe it, if he would have just gave her a little more time she would have won! We were in shock for we realized this filly could run. With $25 000 in the bank her first race we could not wait for her second!

So we entered her in another $50 000 stakes race that summer and sure enough, the little filly smoked them all! Coming from the back to winning by a good seven or eight lengths. This was when we realized she was a long distance runner the longer the race she could hold on better than other horses and beat them at the end. We entered her in two more stakes races that summer she won them both! This filly was like nothing we had seen before she was fiesty she was mean, and she was ready to run! Her specialtys were a mile or a mile and a third races. With a total of $250 000 of prize money her first year we were as happy as any race horse owners could be. To top it all off that year Shifty Time own Alberta's "Filly of the Year" award.

" These are just a couple of the trophys she has won"

That winter we sent Shifty away to Pheonix to exercise and get ahead of the game for her three year old year. We had been planning on running her in the "Canadian Derby" but due to a jockey switch and trainer problems we never got her there. Her three year old year was not as good as her two year old but still pretty good. We were aready extremely happy with Shifty Time and felt she had done one heck of a job already! She ran three thirds and two senconds all in stakes races. Our jockey was injured this year so it was a dramatic switch for Shifty. He knew exacty when to bring her or make her wait. But still she did a pretty damn good job! With more money in the bank her second year!

From being a $4000 dollar horse to winning all these big high end stakes races and winning Filly of the year we have had quite the time with Shifty. With her wild attitude and raging heart to run we can't wait for her four year old year. Sadly she has had some joint problems in one of her knee's and a foot injury but what can you expect the race horse bussiness is a risky one! With a good long rest at the farm here this winter and training in the Spring we can't wait to watch her race this Summer and Fall!

 Go Shifty Go!

Some Win Pictures of Shifty Time:

Sunday, 19 June 2011

More Than Just a Father

Behind mostly every farm kid theres a father that taught them everything they know. Fathers are more than just people who tuck you in bed at night and tell they love you. To us farm kids our dads our everything. They teach us everything from A-Z on the farm. They're truly an inspiration to us all . People say that you are the way you are because of your parents, and I beieve that theory 100%.

"Me and My Twin sister at The Calgary Bull Sale with dad"

My father means maybe more to me than some peoples fathers do because of the simple fact that he runs the farm and ranch goes through all the hell that it can bring, but still manages to raise three kids on his own. My mother and father are divorced and have been since I was five with all three of us kids living here he has  a lot more on his plate than normal fathers do. Sometimes I wonder how he even does it, but the fact that he does such a great job to is something no kid could ever ask for.

When I was young I was mostly definitely my fathers daughter, there was nothing I loved more to do than get up early and do chores with my dad. In fact I would beg him every night to make sure he took me bright and early to feed the cows. Anything and everything my father did in my eyes was golden. He was my inspiration to me there was no better person in this world than my dad. He taught me everything from how to judge cattle to how to ride my first horse.

"Me and my Sister when we were Baby's with our dad"

The love for Hereford cattle is definitey family orientated. Since I was very little my dad would tell me the great things about the breed and why we raise them. You are your family and you love what your family loves. Another special thing me and my dad share is our love for horses. He has taught me so much about them in fact I dont think I would be as good of rider as I am today if it was not for him. Before I got into English and jumping  I first only started out ranch riding. My dad bought me my first horse Blue who was a cow horse and anywhere he would go I would be following right behind him. We still love going for nice rides through the cows, and riding up in the mountains once in awhile. Racehorses is something else that me and my dad can talk about for hours. Since I'm the one helping him care for them in the winter months we spend a lot of time with these horses and they have become a big part of our life. It's always fun driving up to Edmonton during the summer months with the family to watch our race horses run.

"Me and my sister Sleeping in our Princess Dresses with our Dad"

My dad has been a huge help in 4-H, cattle shows, and horse shows. He's always helping us clip or halter break our animals to driving us to horse shows and riding lessons. He's always been very supportive in anything me and my sister and brother do. We would'nt be able to accomplish alot of the stuff we do if it were not for our dad guiding us through it. If it were not for him I would not have my horses or any of my animals that are a huge part of my life. From helping us pick out our 4-H steer to making sure we get to school on time our dad does it all.

My dad has a big impact on my life and veiw of agriculture. I would like to thank him for everything he has taught me and done for me. Dad you are truly the best and a one of a kind! Happy Fathers Day!