Thursday, June 30, 2011

From the Past to the Present

     As you have seen from my prior posts there is a long history of agriculture here in Alberta. Since settlers started moving here back in the mid 1800's things have come along way. In this day an age any average farm is a modern business. Since the old days technology has come along way and a farm needs to have access to everything that makes it a bit easier or economically friendly. To be progressive a farm needs to be on the leading edge whether  it's putting in embryos or artificially inseminating cows to GPS systems in tractors to seeding from a plane farmers need to live in a modern world to survive.
The Modern Farmer 
    Around YV Ranch we try hard to keep up with the new technology to get a head in out purebred operation and save money in a commercial operation. In the picture about my Dad, Nels is using his Iphone to look up a bulls pedigree. Our farm does all our cattle and calving records on Smartphones which ads the data online and therefor can be pulled up on any computer. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Look Back

I have been blogging for two months now. I have learned a lot and have really begun to enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings with the world. It has opened my eyes on a whole different way of communicating and encouraged me to share the world of agriculture with everyone who is willing to listen and learn new things. I am tremendously happy with what I have accomplished and hope to carry it on far into the future.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More Pictures From The Past.

My Grandma Hilda was reading my blog and liked the old pictures I had up. She thought she might have some pictures to add to my blog. When I looked at the pictures I loved them and had to put them up.

Scandinavian friends gathered for a picnic, what neat old Cars.

Birgitte Opsal and her dad Herald Opsal my Great Great Grandpa and Great Grandma in front of their grocery store in Calgary.
-Early 1920's

Thrashing the Bundles to get Straw and Grain, a lot of Hard work on the farm North East of Airdrie

2 Ladies in Mile long potato field. Notice the Skirts!
-Late 1920's

My name sake Halvard Kolstad working the land for potatoes, Tractor got stuck,
had to use the team to pull the tractor out

Loading Bags of Potatoes in sacks to take to the city a 2 day trip.
-Late 1920's

My Great Grandma and Great Uncle Earl sitting in Grain Stooks.

Auction mart for local produce to be sold or shipped away, Calgary.

Potato Picking crew

Friends going on trip to Big Hill Springs, look at those solid rubber tires. Everyone needs a little fun!
-Late 1920's

Its amazing how far the advancements in technology has come. Farms have grown larger, work has gotten easier, but nothing would have been accomplished with these early settlers pioneering the way for the future generations. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not Always Supply & Demend

           As everyone knows for the past few years gas prices is through the roof.  These outrages prices has impacted every single persons salary and spending. In the agriculture world it has come at a hard burden. Basically every aspect of a farmers job has to deal with machinery and gasoline or diesel. Such things as higher cattle liner prices to haul cattle out to pasture, less of a margin at the packers and all around more of a cost to run every day farm equipment. 
          Most people think these high gas prices are a product of supply and demand, but this is not the case. the problem is in Toronto and New York. While All gas is sold by the barrel In either the TSX or NYSE while 70% of the gas is sold  as Futures, and 30% percent is sold on the marked. This percent of Futures sold is at a record high and is the True cause of all the high prices. The true rate of futures that should be sold is around 30%. Many people along with myself feel this is unfair to the average citizen, steps need to be taken to ensure Futures buying and selling stays at a fair level, the Government of Canada is on the edge of setting laws to take control of futures buying. You can help, by sending a letter or email to you local  member of parliament or an advisor on the senate and with enough support this crisis can be put to rest!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Family Farm


      In 1878 Hank Redlin and his newly weeded wife Bernese Redlin bought 2 tickets to the 'new land' where they would hopefully start a family and a new life. Hank was seventeen and Bernese was a mear fifteen when they arrived in Quebec in the cool fall. They waited the winter in Quebec city until the following spring when they headed west for their destination, unknown.  Sixteen weeks later they arrived in what is now known as Alberta, bought twelve acres from the land and forest agency for two buck's an acre and started a farm, a few years later had children. Their farm grew for the next 96 years until saddle it faded away like many other old time farm's.          

My Great Aunt, Uncle and Grandpa as Children '37

Our Farm Bringing in the harvest '79

Out Sale Line up at Calgary Bull Sale '92
Branding '01
       In the past young individuals could start farming new, these days it is a bit different it seems as tho to start farming you have to be born in to it, while only able to survive with growing big. I am lucky enough to have grown up on my families 5th generation farm and be heavily involved ever since a child. With the years, rural communities have become further and further separated from urban that it is critical that people are educated on the many aspects on agriculture. 

Photo shoot, with the grandchildren '98

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sale of the Grand Champion Steer, 4-H On Parade


Monday, June 13, 2011

A Little Hard Work Pays Off


The saying is 'A little hard work pays off' and it seemed this year it did for my 2 lucky brothers Adam and Coleman. This year at 
4-H On Parade(The largest steer show in western canada), Coleman had Grand Champion Steer while Adam had Reserve Grand Champion. Our family was thrilled to have raised both these steers ourselves and done all the work on them from day one. The boys sold their steers the following day in the steer sale, Coleman with a record setting price of  $9.80 a lb and Adam with an outstanding $7.00 a lb. It was a tremendous weekend for the boys. I guess it shows with some hard work and a little luck you can accomplish any goal!

Coleman With his Grand Champion YV Steer 
Adam With His Reserve Champion YV Steer

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A Different Kind of Sport

      The most popular canadian sports include Hockey, Soccer, Football, Lacrosse, and Baseball, but one sport that most urban people don't know exists as the sport of showing jackpot steers and heifers. Different from showing pure bread cattle, where the intent is to show of your farm and the livestock genetic lines Jackpoting has the soul purpose to win the show and get the check at the end of the day. The first steer show was held in Houston in Texas in the early 1900's. Since then the sport has come along way it is now down to a science.
        fell in love with the sport when I was 11 years old, I won my first show, Chinook Jr. Classic in Claresholm alberta and I was hooked, no other sports have really crossed my mind since that day. A few of the many things that intrigues me about the sport is that there is always something new to learn, no matter how much you have learned or know about haulter-breaking, feeding or fitting there is always so much more to learn. another interesting aspect is every fall everyone starts of a fresh start with a new steer or heifer so if your not in the winning circle one your you will always have a chance next year!
     Throughout the years the styles of steers have changed immensely. From cattle that only come to you "belt buckle" to a whooping 6 feet tall, constantly changing.

Here are some pictures of cattle throughout time
A 'Belt Buckel' steer from the 50's 

A extreme bull from the 80's

A steer I raised form present day 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A Job Well Done

Hi Again!  My apologies for the absence of any new posts in the past couple weeks. New posts will continue regularly from now on, the fields are seeded, the calves are branded, and the spring cleaning has been done. So I am all caught up for the time being. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Duty Calls

Hello fellow bloggers, and followers. I apologies for my absence of any new blog posts, here at YV Ranch we are heavy into seeding, with this comes long days. Days spent in the tractor seeding, harrowing and cultivating. These long, long work days gives me no free time. I will carry on the blog when there is an abundance of time, either when it rain's and is to wet to carry on with the field work, or when we are finished, until then so long! 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Page, Questions and Answers

Since starting my blog up I have had people emailing me asking me questions about agricultural related subjects. I have been answering them to my fullest extent. I have been thinking about this and have realized from my many years in the class room that the majority of the time a question asked is a question that many people have, but just never spoke up. So I would like to let everyone feel free to email me ( or just post on my blog any questions you may have about agricultural related subjects. I will be starting up a new page to answer these questions to the best of my ability, any questions I cant answer I will hopefully be able to find someone that can or leave it open for other people to answer for you. Thanks and ask away!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Down fall of the Canadian Wheat Board

In 1935 the Parliament of Canada created the Canadian Wheat board, the main purpose of the Canadian wheat board was to give farmers across Canada the same fair prices for wheat and barley. The wheat board was a useful tool for many years to help farmers market the grains they harvest, producing tremendous profit. 

Fleming Saskatchewan, built in 1895
Since 1935 Canadian advancements in transportation and technology has come along way.  Recently many farmers feel that the Canadian wheat board has been more harm than help, it is a monopoly, there for no wheat or barley can be sold through any other companies for human consumption. These days many farmers feel the Canadian wheat board has been giving producers the short end of the stick, not giving fair prices for their crops. just last week the conservative party of canada was voted in to the house of commons with a majority number of seats. The agriculture minister promises there will be changes done to the Canadian wheat board, most likely being abolished. When this happens many farmers will rejoice with the happiness of freedom to sell their wheat or barley to whom ever they would like hopefully creating a stronger market with more opportunity. The future is looking bright!

Present day, southern Alberta 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Smart Choice

Did you know ninety nine percent of the beef you buy from the grocery stores has four owners or more! The farmer who raises the cattle, the feeder who fattens the cattle up, the packing plant who processes the beef, and the grocery store who markets the beef. When ever the beef changes hands, money does as well, causing a inflation in the prices.  What many people don't know, that many farmers and produces sell beef direct in bulk. This can save the consumer up to fifty percent cost, putting MONEY back in to YOUR POCKET. Our farm has been selling custom beef for the past fifteen years. From neighbors to our doctor, dentist, and electrician they all love it and keep coming back for more. A neighbor that bought their first beef off us says "The steak is unreal, its like eating at a fine restaurant every night." All beef is all natural, hormone free, and only feed natural grains and forages. All beef is aged for twenty one days, for maximum tenderness and taste. As well, customer opportunity to pick the cuts off beef you would like. What an opportunity, saving money while buying a great healthy product. For any questions you can ask me to find out more!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The 100 Mile Challenge

With the twenty first centuries ease of transportation its not uncommon for simple ingredients in a meal to come from many different countries. The 100 mile challenge has been around for quite some time, but just recently the popular food network show 'The 100 Mile Challenge' has made it very popular. What a better way to cut down environmental impact while helping local farmers and ranchers. Not to mention it will taste great!

What is the 100 Mile Challenge?

Exactly what it sounds like: you challenge yourself to eat only foods grown, produced and sold within 100 miles of your home. Anywhere from a week to a year... the length of the challenge is up to you. 

Getting Started 

First visit to find out everything you need to know. from meal planing to venders that only carry products form a hundred miles. Its easy and remember You'll feel great when you do!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Twine Twine Twine

A Pile of Twine and netting after a long Albertan winter
      Living in Alberta has lots of benefits, but then again there are many heart ships. One of these heart ships is the long cold, snowy winters, winters that often last from the beginning of November to the end of April. These long winters call for a lot of feed. Many Albertan farmers feed their livestock hay, wrapped in Bailer twine or bale netting. With such a long feed period there is a large build up of twine or netting. It seems as if no matter how meticulous a farmer is on getting all the strings off the bales they always seem to miss some. These missed strings end up laying in the fields after the snow melts, and cause nothing but trouble. 

Wrecked quad wheel bearings 
        The twin or netting left in a field can have many negative effects. Twine can be tangled in live stocks feet or indigested causing many problems. Many times unwanted twine can get caught in the undercarriages of vehicles and cause much expensive damage.  To the left is a picture of a wrecked wheal bearing  I had to change on our farms quad because some string go caught up in it. luckily I could fix it myself to cut costs. 
           Luckily there are other alternatives to using plastic twine, sisal twine is a natural product that can be used as an alternative. It biodegrades very fast creating a easier twine to deal with. Sadly sisal twine has one draw back, it bio degrades some times two fast causing broken bales. This draw back has been the biggest barrier of on farm use. I would like to hear from you, the reader what you think. I would love to hear input on some great ideas on other alternative bale wrapping techniques, or even ways you think would work well to keep the fields free of twine and netting 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

About me and my Blog.

    About me      
 Hi all, My names Hal I am 19 years young. I have gown up on a family farm just outside of Airdrie Alberta called YV Ranch. Our farm was named after the area in which I live, YV is a acronym for Yankee Valley. It's called Yankee Valley because in the late 1800's many Americans migrated here from the midwestern states. Our Brand as well is a Y over a V, and sorta looks like a arrow.
           For the past 100 years my family has had a large commercial heard of cattle, in the more recent 35 years have had purebred horned herefords, and for the past 7 years my  brothers Adam and Coleman and I have started breeding, showing and selling show steers and heifers. 

     I am currently going to school at Mount Royal University in my first year in the Factuality of Engineering. I don't really know what the future will bring, but i am sure it will lead me straight back to where I started, Agriculture!

        Now a bit about my blog

      I created 'A Day in the Life' to express my feelings about agriculture to the world. I feel for a long time Agriculture has been left in the dark, its such a fast pace life for most people they don't take the time to think how all the food in the grocery stores got there, let alone how it was produced. I am here to open peoples eyes, if nothing else. whether you are from down town LA or from the heart of Beef country my blog will have a little something for you. 

    My belief is that a blog should be about your true thoughts and or feelings, I make a promises  to you, the reader that no political slander or biases  towards a individual will be portrayed.  

    I feel that a Blog should be a short easy read that doesn't strain your brain, Because many times less is truly more. 'A Day in the Life' will have many interactive posts and I expect you, the reader to  feel free to express your opinion. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Birds and the Bees

In the past two weeks my cousins Sarah and Jenna Nixdorff were lucky enough to have two spring time presents. They are furry, long legged and go neigh! Can you guess what they are?

Yep your right 

Baby foals, and for all you asking what a foal is, its a baby horse.
-This little guy is a colt(a baby boy), is palomino colored
and is of the breed quarter horse, my cousins plan
 to train here and use here on the farm.

-This little girl is a filly, she is bay colored, 
and unlike the the first foal is of the breed thoroughbred.
They have great hopes for her. If all goes well she will
have the same love to run as here mom and maybe 
be a champion race horse.

Both these new little bundles of joy as you can see are quite cute and surprisingly both have not been named yet.  My cousin are finding this task very difficult, so they asked for your help, they want you to name them. So if any one has any good names for them let me know, leave a post  and I shall pass it on to them :) 

And just maybe you will be the proud namer of one of these fine foals!