How’s the weather? For most this is just a starter to a conversation, but for farmers this is a deeper question.
If you’re a farmer, you want dry and sunny but not always…and you also want wet and rainy but not constantly either. We just want to get it right when it comes to weather.
This year was good with well-timed rain, and we’ve been abundantly blessed. With a balance of rain and sun, we’ve seeing bumper crops, which translates to a yield above and beyond the average. Overall our farmers who grow corn, beans and alfalfa have had a good season. They’re about to make their third cutting of alfalfa and most of the corn has pollinated.
Even though the weather has been great, the past six weeks has just been hot. In the last two weeks we’ve seen milk production drop off and will likely drop even more in the next two weeks. So, for us and the farmers, it’s all about surviving August. It’s time to hunker down and get through this next month until the weather starts to cool again.
In terms of operations at the creamery, there’s never a dull moment. When you own an artisan cheesemaking facility, you don’t get to just sit back and watch the magic happen. This is something we knew for the very beginning, that our leadership team must be a jack of all trades. You’re not just the CEO, you have to be the plumber, electrician, accountant, milk hauler, inspector, cheesemaker, and last week also the emergency repair welder.
We had a very critical component, a knife, break on our packaging machine that brought our team to a screeching halt. We have no idea why it broke and when we did a quick search, we learned that the US is out of stock on this item. Luckily, I’ve been welding steel since I was 14 years old and learned a lot when I was working in NY State on dairy equipment installation.
Welding is one thing; stainless steel welding is another and the next level is sanitary stainless welding. You have to be very careful to ensure everything is smooth, no bubbles and impervious. Instead of shutting down the cutting department for days, I was able to TIG the two pieces back together and get the machine running again in under 30 minutes. To be able to do our own trouble shooting and repairs in different parts of the facility has been extremely helpful.