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Make Plans to Attend FarmWife Project Meeting

The first meeting of the FarmWife Project will be Saturday Jan. 15, 2011 at the Colorado Farm Bureau Center. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and run to 3 p.m.

The workshop-style meeting will focus on writing, becoming an agvocate, and building relationships with women across Colorado agriculture.

If mountains stand in your way, let me know and we will arrange to have you join us via technology. The FarmWife Project is growing and a great way to get a jump on your New Year’s Resolutions. If you would like more information, please visit us at http://vermillionfarms.wordpress.com or email Rachel Vermillion at rachel@lincolncountyfb.com

See you in January!

The Real Farmwives of Colorado

The Farmwife Project is beginning to take shape and it may very well be one of the coolest projects around.

In the upcoming weeks, a group of agvocates are coming together right here on this site. They raise hogs, cattle, potatoes, bees, and children. They are farmwives, daughters, sisters, and mothers. And they are one of the most interesting collective voices of Colorado agriculture.

We are the Real Farmwives of Colorado and we will each be writing periodic blog entries that will appear on the Vermillion Farms blog. We will be agvocating and telling the stories that we would share with our sisters or our girlfriends at the kitchen table.

We will also have the opportunity to get together soon and the day will include chocolate, a photo shoot, a discussion about the issues we wish to address and…well, more chocolate.

You’ll be hearing more soon from The Real Farmwives of Colorado! If you’re interested in being a part of the Farmwife Project, please email me at rachel@lincolncountyfb.com for more information.

Rental Pigs

As an agriculture teacher, I get a number of requests throughout the course of the day. Last night, I answered a phone call and heard the sweet and slightly desperate voice of Patty.

Patty, a middle school teacher in Colorado Springs, organized a food drive at her school and the main attraction at the all-school assembly was a Kiss a Pig contest. She told me she had no idea it would be so difficult to locate a pig for said contest and someone had given her our phone number after a string of odd and unproductive phone calls.
She was desperate and I tried not to chuckle when she offered to “pay the pig for his or her time”.

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AFBF Women’s Luncheon

The women of the Colorado delegation.

 The women of AFBF gathered Sunday for the Women’s Leadership Recognition Luncheon. AFBF President Stallman was in attendance. He commended the attendees on taking the first steps toward leadership roles and urged them to continue on their paths.

AFBF President Stallman models his paink ballcap.

Each state was recognized for their work in 2009. Colorado’s Angela Ryden accepted an award for Colorado’s Women’s Committee and the committee was recognized for their stellar fundraising during the silent auction at the State Annual meeting. Vice Chair Sherry Saylor was appreciative of the committee’s auctioning of Troy Bredenkamp, the Executive Workhorse.

Ron Nereson and Charles Ryden show that they are tough guys in pink.

All attendees were presented with pink Farm Bureau ballcaps to present to legislators in their home states and a photo was taken of all attendees showing their support by holding up the pink ballcaps in support of the Don’t Cap Our Future campaign.

Me and CFB

Nick Colglazier and I compete in the Final Four. Colglazier is an amazing speaker and a downright entertaining guy.

My dad, a lifelong businessman, has always said that ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu’. This was part of my opening statement in the Final Four round of the YF&R Discussion Meet and this moment, this entire weekend, marked the beginning of an amazing journey.

When I first attended a CFB meeting last year, I had no idea the opportunities that would be available to me. Since then, I’ve developed amazing friendships with a number of other members including a mentor-like relationship with Susan Leach. Leach is not only one of the state’s most active and exceptional District Representatives, she’s a mentor and a great pal.

When I signed up to compete in the Discussion Meet, I knew I would meet other young members and maybe even forge a friendship or two. I had no idea that I would meet Nick Colglazier, who is so dynamic that I step my game up ten steps around him. Nathan Weathers, from Yuma County, is brilliant and brave. The Discussion Meet winner, Deanna Bartee, a fellow teacher, is headed to Seattle and I’m (courtesy of the Women’s Committee essay contest and YF&R) lucky enough to go too! She’s also gracious enough to use me as a resource while preparing and competing at the AFBF Discussion Meet and I’m looking forward to being her “person”.

CFB is filled with amazing individuals and opportunities and I’m so glad to be a part.

The Wheat Farmer’s Wife

Fall is finally here and at our place, that means there’s no rest for the wicked. Not even for the non-wicked. Even the dogs are tired.

The past days and weeks have been a dust-filled blur of feed cutting, drilling, baling, chicken butchering and hog synchronization for us as they have been for many producers around the state. This time of year, especially when I’m coughing and choking on bitter wheat dust, reminds me of the irony of my situation.

I married a wheat farmer and wheat seems to run deep through my family in all of its forms. My husband grows it, my step dad sells it in the form of flour to bakeries and eateries, and my sister’s family serves it up as a steaming hot plate of pasta at their Italian restaurant. I have Celiac disease so I avoid it like the plague. Ah, irony.

Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten, the protein in wheat that allows baked goods to not crumble into a pile or weigh twice what they should. It’s being more widely diagnosed these days but it’s still annoying and makes eating out a rather tricky and socially awkward ordeal.

They always say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but in our case, it was the other way around. When we were dating, my husband gathered a variety of gluten free baking mixes and flours and over the course of a few weekends, learned how to bake a variety of foods that didn’t have the taste and consistency to double as wrecking balls. He had me at the big, salty baked pretzels.

I know the poor UPS man thinks it strange when he passes the wheat fields on his way to our house, drives past the wheat trucks and the bins of seed wheat to bring over 100 pounds of gluten free flours to our door. I like to keep him on his toes. He’s bringing hog semen to us Friday but we won’t tell him what’s in the little styrofoam cooler.

An Update from the Field

Things have been busy out here with the beginning of a new school year, late summer farming jobs and other commitments. Our hog operation continues to be busy and we’re so excited to be sending several hogs to the National Western Stock Show.

There are also a few other hog-related developments that are exciting. The Vermillion family was in the hog business for years long before Jason and I dove in. One uncle was forced out in the 1980s when the market collapsed and another uncle passed away unexpectedly nearly 10 years ago. When this particular uncle passed away, his two boys tried their hand at keeping the family business afloat. Between finishing school, attending college and working off the farm, it was no easy road.

There were a few hogs left out of the uncle’s original bloodlines and we had the opportunity to purchase them and we didn’t hesitate. We brought the sows and gilts down to our farm and started making plans. Jason’s uncle once sold to a number of youth showmen around this area and we’re glad to follow in those footsteps. The part that’s even better is that we’ll be breeding these females this fall and those litters will be keeping original family bloodlines alive. There is such strong heritage within the farming and ranching communities in this area, it’s such a blessing to be able to keep some of that heritage at the forefront of our operation.

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