Winter is no walk in the park on a farm


CHAD HOBBS

Messenger Staff


For the last two weeks, winter has made it clear that it will not walk away without putting up a fight. First it was freezing temperatures and ice. Then last week brought about single digit temperatures and a couple rounds of snow.

Cold concrete shop floors waited for a fire to be built. Semi trucks loaded with grain bound for Owensboro were delayed first by road conditions, and then, for some, by frozen air lines refusing to release the air brakes even after the roads became passable. Livestock waited for holes to be cut in ice covered ponds, while tractors slid and spun their way into the pasture with round bales of hay. At least they could look forward to this week when temperatures climbed into the 50s and thawed their icy paths into a muddy, mucky mess.

Then there were the livestock who decided to stroll across frozen ponds, often with terrible results. In fact, it turned deadly for a 77 year old farmer in Tennessee. After two calves got stuck on his pond, the man attempted to walk out and get them. The ice eventually gave way from the combined weight of the three, killing the farmer due to hypothermia.

Farmers here locally also had to deal with everything from calves born frozen to the ground to cattle breaking through ice on ponds, getting stuck until a path was cut through the ice to free them.

I remember once hearing a man state that farmers had it made during the winter, insinuating that because he didn’t see them in the crop fields as much that they must just be taking it easy. Well, anyone who thinks winter on a farm is a walk in the park is sadly mistaken.

The only thing more absurd is the man who claims farmers abuse their livestock. I urge anyone with such a notion to shadow a farmer someday because even in the depths of winter, they will put their life on the line to ensure the health and safety of their animals. For that farmer in Tennessee, he lost his life trying to save his cattle. Show me an animal activist that’s willing to love an animal like that.

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