altThe New Year on this farm was kicked off with a night of fun with friends and neighbors at our home. We spent the evening playing games and eating some delicious Arkansas beef.

It was no surprise to us – as the temperatures dropped below freezing, our momma cows also began dropping calves right and left.

On New Year’s Eve, my husband made his rounds feeding hay and checking on our maternity fields. I was at home making sure we didn’t overcook that evening’s meal of prime rib. He called to tell me he was on his way back home with a calf, it didn’t look like it’d survive the night in the cold.

Our garage was quickly converted to a nursery barn complete with blankets, a heater and onlookers. He pumped the calf full of colostrum and we hoped for the best. The outcome wasn’t favorable and we lost the calf before the night was over. The kids were sad and we were disappointed but as all of you know, that’s life on the farm.

New Year’s Day was colder than the day before. We hustled around to get chores finished and kept the fire stoked at the house. We loaded up on more firewood because the forecast wasn’t promising any heat waves for the week. We headed back to the farm and checked cattle…a few more calves were born.

As we warmed up in the house that afternoon, we contemplated all of our responsibilities for the upcoming year. I am married to someone who is accustomed to having many “irons in the fire” at all times. I’ve had to stay one step ahead of him to keep our farm, family and other businesses organized. Every year, we talk about things we could change and things we could downsize or divest of.

The idea of downsizing our cattle operation seemed plausible that afternoon after we’d broken ice and finished chores in the freezing cold. We talked about how we might start to downsize the herd. We discussed ways we could gain more efficiency around leasing fewer acres and consolidating pastures. Then we took a nap and forgot all about the conversation.

The next day, my husband stopped to do chores on his way home from work. Another calf had been born and he wasn’t sure if it was nursing or not. He came back to the house to get me. We found the cow and calf in the field. My husband picked up the calf and the momma cow followed. We caught the cow in the head chute. My husband checked her udder and she definitely had milk. We moved the truck over so we could warm up and watch to see if the calf would nurse. I told him I thought the calf had already nursed but we put them up in a warm barn together just to keep an eye on them. We didn’t want to lose any more of our calf crop fighting this nasty weather.

I’m home today, pulling together all of our business records to get organized for 2017 tax preparations. Cleaning out files and basically getting myself organized. We toasted the New Year and ate our black-eyed peas; we are ready for whatever 2018 brings our way.

Here’s to more efficiency and organization in 2018. Cheers, neighbor.

Jody HarrisEditorial / Opinions2018,farm,Freshly Picked,Jody Harris,New YearThe New Year on this farm was kicked off with a night of fun with friends and neighbors at our home. We spent the evening playing games and eating some delicious Arkansas beef. It was no surprise to us – as the temperatures dropped below freezing, our momma cows also...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma