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Archive for February, 2012

Happy Birthday, Madalana Rose!!

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10 years ago today we were blessed with our first beautiful little girl. She has grown and changed so much since that day. It’s mind boggling to think of all the things she has mastered in a quick ten years: walking, talking, eating, bike riding, horseback riding, tractor driving, shoe tying, piano playing, dancing and so many other things!

Lana is definitely her own little person. Funny, creative, smart, silly, artistic, sweet – she is so many things all in one.

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It is amazes me how fast ten years can fly by, but what fun they’ve been! It will be fun to watch the girls grow and change over the next ten years.

Happy, happy birthday to you, Lana Rose! May your year be as fantastic as you!

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After attending the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Conference this weekend, I thought it would be good to touch on the child labor laws issue that has been a real problem for family farms.  My husband Chad wrote to our government officials about his thoughts on children being allowed to work the family farm.

Lana drying off a newborn calf that was too cold

Lana drying off a newborn calf that was too cold

I’d like to share his comments with you and throw in some pictures of the kids on our farm.

Lana and Bridget painting the new horse fence

“I’m a sixth generation farmer from Illinois, living in the same community that my ancestors settled in the mid 1800’s.  I feel very blessed to be able to raise my daughters in a place that has such deep roots.  We are not a large farm, but we are a corporation for business reasons.  We utilize help during the summer to put up small bales of hay, mow, work on fence, work with livestock, and any other odd jobs that we try to get done during the summer months.  A lot of the time the ones who are looking for a very flexible work schedule, are kids in high school. 

15 year old Blane helping with cattle vaccinations

This is a great opportunity for us to be able to help them out when we need a few extra hands to work while the weather is good, as most of the farm labor we use is all our family.  We always keep a close eye on them, and would not ask them to do a job if we did not feel that they were capable.  While they are here we watch over them not like an employer, but they are watched as if they were our own kids. 

I understand that the proposed rule would not allow my daughters to work on our “corporate farm”.  Our girls are ten and seven, and have been around livestock their entire lives.  They are both very skilled at being around both hogs and cattle.  I love them both very much, and want them to learn some of life’s lessons that can only be learned by being out on the farm following me around just as I did with my dad and grandpa. 

Bridget working along side her Grandpa!

I find it very interesting that when we have people out helping with livestock that our girls are telling them how to move around the cattle, where to stand, what tone of voice to use with them, just things that unless you’ve been raised around it you don’t understand. 

Niece Monica relaxing after unloading feeder pigs

Bridget with her chickens

 We have nieces and nephews that just love coming to the farm.  My niece from Arizona comes and spends a few weeks in the summer with us.

 I know that farming is a dangerous occupation, and that there is risk with having kids out on the farm.  I also realize that there have been several accidents recently, as when they happen it really hits home.  But I feel that it should be the parents’ responsibility to be sure that their kids are kept safe.  Whether my girls choose to work somewhere else or on our farm until they are eighteen, I will always be sure that it is a safe environment, as I’m the parent and ultimately responsible. ”  Chad Schutz

It is truly important for kids to be able to be responsible for something and to learn how to work.  As you can see from the pictures, it can be fun, too.

Lana feeding Annie the bottle calf

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