It's interesting

Farmers and Record Keeping

And funny September 17, 2023

Ever seen one of these? I would be shocked if you hadn’t.

They are a staple on our farm– a calling card.

The yellow Genex Breeding Card.

Never throw one out. It might have a valuable piece of information on it, scrawled in hen scratch, smeared with grease and oil–even an occasional splat of manure.

On my home farm, my uncle was famous for using brown paper towels as his choice of record.

I remember poking into the tiny little office situated off the side of the milkhouse, actually housing the milk pump. To walk in there and try to speak a word during milking was nearly impossible as the pump moaned loudly. No wonder my uncle was hard of hearing and asked twice what you said, cocking his head to the side.

But in that tiny little office space, there was a desk and a little refrigerator for penicillin and Lutalyse. 

And next to that was the library, the archives of the farm. 

A stack of neatly folded brown paper towels.

Printed on those paper towels, in my uncle’s handwriting, were his breeding records.  

Yes. His breeding and health records. Funny when I think back on it. 

We are not talking about a herd of 30 cows.  At the time, it was for 220 milk cows.

I could never quite understand the organization of it. All I knew is that whenever we had a question about when our heifers were due, or what kind of treatment they had, he would take us back to the office and start thumbing through the paper towels, and miraculously, he would come up with the answers that we needed.

With phones the way they are today, and the technology of robots and computer software and the cloud, what will ever become of these little yellow Genex cards?  Or my uncle’s system of paper towels?  

I highly doubt my cousin kept all of those stacks of paper towels. Nor, if my uncle were alive today, would he have transitioned over to the notes system on an iPhone.  

Like Bag Balm and Tingley’s, Genex breeding cards and paper towels, are institutional on a farm.

So when Jacob pulled some of these little yellow Genex breeding cards from his pocket a couple of weeks ago, before he left for college, I realized we had turned a corner.

My middle son really was becoming a farmer. And despite the phone that I am sure was in his pocket, and him being part of the age of technology, he would still be relying on a note-taking system, farmer style.

Have a great week!

With love,