Hello There March

Well hello there March. Nice to see you. Now where did January and February go and how did we get to 2017 already?

Anyone else feel like that?

Our life has been a whirl wind with me starting a new job in January in addition to Mark starting up his own business, Hewitt Precision Insights. Here’s what I can tell you about starting your own business…it might just be more frightening than farming.

Mark is crazy passionate about truly making a farmer’s data work for them, not just giving them another data management platform or connecting to a cloud network to pull data from someday, or maybe not. He is passionate about interpretation of farm data to make sound business decisions, to truly evaluate hybrids, water management systems, to detect crop threats sooner, and to understand and overlay the maps all these systems are producing for farmers. In his words with this new business venture, it doesn’t do any good to keep giving the farmer data without any kind of interpretation or usage. We can upload to the cloud all we want and make everything talk, but if you aren’t going to use the data for timely and precise operating decisions, it doesn’t make much sense to spend the money on those platforms. It has been a little scary navigating a slightly new business ownership world to us – like one without a steady paycheck, but we are moving full speed ahead.

So that happened! I also started my new position at the MN Soybean Growers in early January as a Special Events Coordinator. It has been a whirlwind, and I feel like I haven’t even had time to catch my breath! I am getting used to not having to do everything in essentially a “one man” shop. It has been a fun and busy transition for me.

So what have we been up to on the farm?

Well, in early February, we were awarded the first ever AgStar Groundbreaker’s award! We had zero clue, and looking at others that were being considered, we definitely feel so humbled to have been chosen for the award. We were awarded a monetary prize as part of the Groundbreaker of the Year award which means, we get to build a brand new honey house! We wanted to make sure that we were maximizing our award dollars and giving back somehow with them at the same time, so we have teamed up with the Sibley East FFA Chapter and their instructor, Tim Uhlenkamp to build the honey house. It will serve as a learning opportunity for the students there while they construct and agricultural building and gain hands-on skills that they can continue to use later in life. We are excited for this partnership with them, and look forward to bringing them some honey and teaching them about our extraction process and keeping bees at the same time! We still can’t thank AgStar enough for this opportunity, and for taking a chance on our dreams of farm ownership.

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We officially made the decision to burn down the old barn, and are donating it as a practice structure fire to the Kilkenny Fire Department. The structure unfortunately would cost more to try to renovate it, then it would to put up something new. But we are happy that the fire department will get training out of it, and we will have a larger space for renovating the other two buildings to house cattle.

Farmstead planning 101 is in full force. We sometimes shake our head at the way things are oriented on our farm. We will be making some pasture changes, rerouting our driveway, and adding some additional lawn/yard areas that will more than likely be future bin sites down the road. A few buildings will change, including one that will become an additional loafing shed, and one that will be moved to the back of another shed for tack storage for the horses. We have another shed that we are in the process of getting pricing on for two additions and a new overhead door. We have a spot picked for the honey house to sit as well. We have our work cut out for us outside this year along with a few projects inside the house we plan to finish in March! I cannot wait for a finished kitchen!

Then we have had all the normal things, like selling grain, attending conferences and trainings, seed meetings, insurance meetings, meetings with our FBM instructor, taxes, business calls, pre-pricing fertilizer, meeting with sales reps for various companies, and more. Oh, and throw in a growing rambunctious toddler who will already be two in April, and you end up with some crazy days and nights. Some days you start to wonder how you fit it all in.

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Just one of the many conferences, seminars, and classes we attend over the winter months!

I’m still wondering where 2016 went, so if someone could give me another few months to figure out my 2017 resolutions yet, that would be great! I think my only resolution may be to take actual vacation this year!

-Sara

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