The past two weeks at the farm have been a frenzied mess of activity, preparing cattle and moving cattle to their summer homes.

I always consider this time of year to be an exciting time for the cows. After a long, hard winter filled with cold, snow, wind and rain, the sun begins to peek out from behind months of clouds, the grass stretches up to meet the sun and begins to grow.

Believe it or not, when the grass begins to show, the cattle get restless. They see the grass beginning to pop and they want it more than anything. What a lot of people don’t realize is that our cattle are solely grass fed for at least four to six months out of the year, depending on the season.

This year has been a tough one. It has not stopped raining or snowing since November and for that reason, we are about 30 days behind schedule.

However, in the past couple of weeks. the season has begun to shift, the sun has begun to shine and the process of moving an entire herd to pasture has started. This process is both exciting and daunting, but important.

We begin by sorting off and vaccinating those animals that have been sold and delivering them to their new owners. We are blessed to have a strong customer base that looks to us every year to purchase their feeder cattle and breeding cattle in the spring.

Step two involves the task of bringing in all the cows and calves, vaccinating, deworming and tagging all to prepare them for pasture. It is important to go through this process because it also gives us the opportunity to see, touch and monitor every animal individually and give attention to any needs they have. Just like us, cattle require updated care and booster vaccines to prevent disease. This is the best time of the year to work with them, as we are sorting them to be moved.

When all is said and done, we will process and move over 100 head of cattle to summer pasture.

It is truly a joy to watch them jump off the trailer and head out into the green grass. You can see the delight in their step as they embark on their summer journey once more. It reminds me of how very much I enjoy the end of winter, beginning of spring and the anticipation of summer.

One thing about living in Minnesota, you learn to appreciate all the changes and seasons. The cows do, too.

Marytina Lawrence and her husband Bryan raise turf grass, alfalfa, corn and purebred Hereford cattle near Princeton, Minn. She works for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation and is state coordinator for the Speak for Yourself program. Reach her at marytinathefarmerswife@gmail.com.

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