Maine Farmcast Episode 01: Ventilation with Dr. Morgan Hayes

On the very first episode of the Maine Farmcast, Dr. Colt W. Knight, Associate Extension Professor and State Livestock Specialist for University of Maine Cooperative Extension, sits down with one of the University of Kentucky’s Agricultural Engineers, Dr. Morgan Hayes. Dr. Hayes is a professional engineer and serves as an Assistant Extension Professor in Livestock Systems in Lexington, Kentucky. In addition to Morgan’s impressive academic background, she is co-owner of a multigenerational cattle and hay farm, Fallen Barn Farm, in Central Kentucky. In this episode we discuss proper barn ventilation in colder climates.

Episode Resources

Transcript

Colt Knight: 00:17

Welcome to the Maine Farmcast. I’m your host, Dr. Colt Knight. I’m an Associate Extension Professor and State Livestock Specialist for Cooperative Extension. And I am joined today by Dr. Morgan Hayes from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Hayes is both an Ag engineer, an Extension agent, and lives on a hay and beef farm in central Kentucky.

Morgan Hayes: 00:47

That’s correct. Thanks for having me.

Colt Knight: 00:49

Yeah. So Morgan, tell us a little bit about what is the day in a life of an Ag engineer like in Extension? We don’t have those here.

Morgan Hayes: 00:59

Yeah. Well, Ag engineers are a pretty – it’s a pretty broad field. I work as a Livestock Specialist, so I work on facilities for animals. So I get calls on anything from barns not ventilating, heat stress in a barn, reworking handling facility for animals, all kinds of things that deal with the structure, ventilation, environment typically in barns or inside structures. Between that and my personal life where I’m trying to keep animals alive at home, I’m pretty busy.

Colt Knight: 01:31

Do you work on designing things, or are you going out to farms and having a farm visit, and kind of assessing situations and giving recommendations?

Morgan Hayes: 01:41

A little bit of both. We don’t typically do a lot of design work. Most universities have stopped with their engineering – Ag engineering departments doing design work and publishing plans because of some liability concerns because we technically have professional engineering licenses, but we don’t have insurance to cover that work. So what we do more is site assessments, recommendations, assistance if they need help with a barn that they’re already building. Similar to how, like, NRCS comes out and does inspections for their projects, sometimes we will come out and assist a farmer if they have questions or concerns about how a build is going, to make sure that they’re they’re getting what they need out of a construction project.

Colt Knight: 02:24

And I know one of the topics you’re passionate about is ventilation in barns. And I think that’s a pretty pertinent topic for here in Maine because a lot of farmers are retrofitting old dairy barns for their new beef barns, or swine barns, or sheep, or what have you. And then a lot of folks are building new barns, and I think new farmers sometimes don’t appreciate how much ventilation plays into having healthy and happy animals.

Morgan Hayes: 02:53

Oh, yeah. Ventilation is key. It’s… To me, ventilation is – in the wintertime where we have a lot of challenges in barns, we tend to have ammonia smells, staleness. We tend to see coughing in animals a lot of times. We can see growth of molds and mildews on walls. We can see barns rain. I call it raining. Some people would describe it differently, but usually it’s condensation, and then enough builds up that it drops onto your head while you’re standing in the barn. All of those things are typically signs of an underventilated barn, and are very common, especially in the winter months where we’re really fighting to try and keep temperatures up. And sometimes we overly close up a barn and we create problems.

Colt Knight: 03:40

And I think a lot of folks are under the misunderstanding that animals would like to have a tight, closed in barn so it will retain heat better. When in reality, all you’re doing is trapping moisture, and it increases the humidity, and it actually makes them colder.

Morgan Hayes: 03:57

Yep. That’s right. Yeah. Because that’s one of those things that a lot of people don’t think about because they don’t experience it. So it’s something that they feel versus what the animal’s experiencing, and humidity plays a major role in how we experience a temperature. So a more humid environment will exacerbate both the heat stress situation, but also a cold stress situation, which is interesting. The other thing that’s worth noting is that most barns really shouldn’t be a lot warmer than outside if we’re doing everything right. Ideally, what we’re doing is we’re taking off drafts so there’s no wind speed across the animal to make it much colder feeling for the animal, because it reduces the amount of heat they lose through their body. They usually have better fur than us. Some humans have a little more fur than me, but I don’t have the beard that you do, Colt. So we experience that drafting even more than they do, but they also experience it, especially if they’ve got a high wind speed. If they can get out of the wind, they can handle temperatures that are 10 degrees colder than they could in the wind without any additional stress.

Colt Knight: 05:09

So if someone was considering building a new livestock barn, there’s a lot of options out there. We’ve got steel buildings. We’ve got traditional wood buildings. Some of the ones that I’ve been real interested in lately are some of those engineered fabric or hoop style buildings. They seem to let a lot of light and air in.

Morgan Hayes: 05:30

Yes.

Colt Knight: 05:31

What would you suggest to people? What do you think is the best bang for the buck, and then what’s the best for the animals?

Morgan Hayes: 05:40

I don’t know that there’s a best for the animals, like, as a style of barn. I like the hoop structures for the same reasons that you like them. They tend to have a good steep structure, which gives them a nice high top of that hoop that allows, especially if they have some sort of opening up near the top, stale air out. But it also creates a spot where they can move air through the barns, and get some fresher air exchanges. For me, the sunlight in those barns is probably the biggest benefit though. Especially for a shorter day length that we have in the winter months, and a lot of people that are farming and doing something else, another job, and they’re coming home and checking animals, and it’s – they’re fighting for those couple minutes of daylight on the ends of the day. That barn provides a lot more light, a lot more visibility. And even if you have to turn a light on, you have a big white cover over top, and any light that you have reflects back down on the animal. So that is really nice. I like a gable barn as well, a standard wood trust gable barn, for a couple reasons. One, there’s a lot of crews that put them up pretty successfully across the U.S. That’s one of the styles that there’s a lot of comfort with. So I think you get better construction because you have more options, and they’re more familiar with that barn style. I like a wood structure because it handles moisture loads well. The metal trusses provide huge widths, pretty readily. That’s one of the benefits of them that you can get a wider structure without having central supports. But wood really handles the moisture loads that animals bring into a barn well. It takes in that moisture. It lets the moisture back out. When it gets drier outside, it swells and shrinks. And it handles that type of an environment better a lot of times than a metal structure does.

Colt Knight: 07:32

And this is a question that I’ve always wanted to ask an Ag engineer. If you are putting a new roof on an existing barn, say you’ve got a gable or a gambrel roof barn, and, historically, here in Maine, a lot of those were shingled. We see now most people are going to screw down steel panels. But with our gale force winds, I see the metal roofs damaged pretty frequently too from the high wind speeds. You know, the standing seams seem to do really well, but no one can afford to put those on a barn. Is there a way to avoid some of the wind damage with roofing systems when you’ve got gale force winds, and heavy snow loads, and…?

Morgan Hayes: 08:17

This is a tricky question. So there’s a couple things. There are different types of shingles that are out there that are different weights. So you can look for a heavier shingle if you’re going back with a shingled structure. And then you can also look on the metal, some of the ratings that are on there. And there are different screw patterns that you can use as well. Because the screw is basically what’s withholding that upward force from those winds. So where you place them, the quality of the wood that’s underneath there is key. So sometimes you need to put in some new purlins, so you have something to actually screw into that’s really gonna hold. that screw down. There are different depths that the screws can go into the wood. So there’s a couple of different things you can do to try and get better adhesion. But the reality is when we put up, a metal roof, we have this long sheet, and if the wind gets under it at one end, the likelihood that we’re not going to ruin huge areas is less. Right? Because it’s a big sheet. So when the wind picks one up, we lose a lot more area at one time. Whereas with shingles, we can lose one or two small shingles, and come back in, and put a shingle back in, and replace it over time. But we rarely see the leakage that we see when we have a metal roof and it blows up. It’s just the nature of having a metal roof as compared to a shingled roof. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer, but it’s sort of something you have to be cognizant of when you pick a metal roof, that if you do get winds, steeper slopes are better for snow. They’re better for most of the winds. Because actually the wind doesn’t try and get under it as much if it’s a steeper sloped roof. Those flatter slopes tend to be a little bit more challenging. And on, like, the gambrel roofs where they have that break point, that tends to be a pretty risky point for how the wind picks up because there’s a little bit of turbulence right there a lot of times. Sometimes even on the backside of the roof, not the windward side, the leeward side.

Colt Knight: 10:33

And, you know, talking about roofs and animal health, what is your opinion on installing skylight panels on a metal roof?

Morgan Hayes: 10:42

If it was me, I would not put them in my roof. I would probably choose to put some light panels in on the very top of my sidewall. As long as I didn’t have such an overhang on the roof that it was gonna completely block any sun coming in there. I would do that for two reasons. One, they don’t tend – they’re better UV stabilized than they used to be. So they they hold up better than they used to, but they still are not as robust as a metal roof. And on a vertical surface on a sidewall, the water just runs down them. You don’t have a lot of weight sitting on them. You don’t typically get any sort of ice really hitting them. So I think long run, I think if it was my choice, I would prefer to put the light on the two, like, a south sidewall, rather than onto a roof line.

Colt Knight: 11:30

Yeah. And the light lets in extra warmth in the winter, but it also adds in extra heat in the summer.

Morgan Hayes: 11:37

That’s true.

Colt Knight: 11:37

And I’ve noticed that on some of my barns, especially my hoop house that I have that I raise my pigs in. And I have to completely cover that with a opaque tarp in the summertime where it’s just miserable.

Morgan Hayes: 11:50

Well, that – I mean, if you look at people that have high tunnels in greenhouses, they almost always use shade cloth for most of the summer months because they can’t allow that amount of light in without overheating the space.

Colt Knight: 12:01

But in the winter, the pigs love it because it’s usually 10, maybe 15 degrees warmer in there than the ambient temperature outside.

Morgan Hayes: 12:09

Yep. Yeah. Well, it’s – I mean, it’s the definition of a a greenhouse. Right? It allows light in, and it allows light to accumulate heat.

Colt Knight: 12:19

I know. I bought the more expensive plastic that has the condensation film on the inside of it so that instead of it raining down like you were talking earlier, it actually drips and follows down the arches of the walls, and it drips off on the very ends instead of raining down.

Morgan Hayes: 12:39

Yeah. In my metal building that I built, the condensation in there is awful in the summer when it rains.

Morgan Hayes: 12:46

Yep. And they will actually make for a metal structure too. They can actually put a coating on it to take that condensation. It only will hold a small amount of water, so if it’s really picking up a lot of moisture and condensation, it still might rain a little bit. But typically, that’s designed to actually hold the moisture and then evaporate it back out during the day. So that’s really nice for if you find that you get rain, like, first thing in the morning, but not throughout the day. That type of a coating that’s on the metal is really useful for that.

Colt Knight: 13:18

And I’ve heard if you put a layer of plastic down before you put your gravel down for the base of the floor in there, that that helps with condensation. Is that true, or is it just ambient moisture that’s condensating on the roof?

Morgan Hayes: 13:33

It probably would help if you have a high moisture load in your soils in that area, or if you don’t have great gutters on the sides, and you have a lot of rain that falls down and works its way back underneath. It might be useful to also do some drainage around the edges of your building to try and get some of that moisture away. I think both of those would be good recommendations if you’re having a lot of moisture that you don’t think is coming from the animals in the space. If you’re not ventilating and you have a lot of animals in the space, it doesn’t matter what you do. There’s always gonna be moisture from urine, from defecation, and from respiration of those animals.

Colt Knight: 14:11

And so one of the things that we do on ventilation is because most of us are using retrofitted barns that were designed before we knew a lot about animal welfare and behavior and whatnot. So they’re almost built like boxes, or dungeons, and there’s not a lot of light, or there’s not a lot of airflow in those places. We use fans. But if you’re building a new barn, do you build a new barn with fans in the design, or do you build the new barn in such a manner to where you don’t have to use fans?

Morgan Hayes: 14:40

Ideally, you build the barn so you don’t have to use the fans. I mean, ideally, we build the barn correctly so that natural ventilation can work for us at least the majority of the time because we don’t really want to pay for electricity to run fans continuously in most cases. Certainly, there are people that would prefer mechanical because they know that they will always have exactly what they need. And I actually don’t mind a hybrid style, where if you think you’re fighting against nature, including a fan as part of the design, but also including natural ventilation so that it works most of the time. That would be my preference. You know, for most people, they have air conditioning, and heating systems, and they wanna use them when they need them. But, you know, if we’re sitting in a shoulder season and it’s really nice, I would prefer to not run my heat or my air conditioning. I’d prefer to open windows in my house. Right? I like the fresh air, and I’d like not to pay for the electricity to run the other systems.

Colt Knight: 15:39

So if you’re building a new barn, what are some of the key features that promote airflow and ventilation in a barn?

Morgan Hayes: 15:47

So having the right inlets and outlets is key. So for animals, we expect there to be a heat load in the – and that heat is being produced by the animals. They’re metabolizing food and producing heat as a byproduct. And so what we expect is that that heat is going to make the air inside the barn that’s around those animals rise. So we need some form of an opening at the ridge of the barn, or the peak of the barn, so that we can allow that stale air that’s warmer than the outside air to go out. And what ends up happening is as that air goes out, fresh air is pulled in through openings. Those inlets can be, in the wintertime, like an eave opening. They can be purchased inlets that are weighted so that they open based upon how much air is going out. The amount of opening will adjust on those inlets, and they can be insulated even. Those are really nice for colder conditions like here in Maine. Those insulated inlets, we could lock half of them shut if we don’t want that much air to come through, and then leave a few of that weight open and provide fresh air throughout the space. Otherwise, in the summertime, we need to have bigger openings, doors, windows, larger spaces to allow wind to blow through the barn to get the air exchanges we need.

Colt Knight: 17:06

So one of the problems I have with my barn is I left the barn eaves open. And I put a roof cap on – or a ridge cap on my gable roof, but I left it a pretty good gap in there so air could flow in and out. And I have a real problem with, in snowstorms, the snow blowing in through the eaves, and blowing under the ridge vent. And so I’ve kinda put some boards up, so the block, the sideways, but still from underneath. And I was wondering what’s the best way to get around not blocking up your ventilation, but still preventing the weather from coming in?

Morgan Hayes: 17:49

If you’re seeing a lot of snow coming through your ridge, you might have more ridge opening than you need. You want to have enough ridge opening to allow the heat out, but not so much that the barn doesn’t hold a few degrees warmer than outside. So if you’re seeing that your barn is staying, like, at the temperature that it is outside, or within a degree or two, you might actually have too much opening. In which case, you would need to sort of choke down your inlets and your outlets in your design. It’s unusual that I would say that because where I live in Kentucky, that’s never a problem.

Colt Knight: 18:28

Never a problem.

Morgan Hayes: 18:28

It’s too warm there to ever have that issue. But you’re in a cold enough climate that you don’t want snow drifting through your openings.

Colt Knight: 18:37

And, you know, the snowstorms up here can be quite a bit more violent than the ones you experience in Kentucky with the gale force winds. And sometimes snow, it’s snowing sideways, and it’s hard to protect it. I know my chicken coop, I had to completely change the ventilation design in there because I remember I came in after one snowstorm, and then it was, like, two foot of snow in my chicken coop. It just blew in through the gable vents.

Morgan Hayes: 19:02

Yeah. Yeah. Well, so one of the things to keep in mind too is you have eaves typically on both sides. And if you know you have weather coming from one of those two sides, you can close that eave, especially if you don’t have a super wide barn. One eave opening on one side will typically throw about 20, 25 feet if it’s properly designed. So if your barns are not, you know, 40 or 50 foot wide, you can pretty comfortably close one set of eaves up if you need to for the winter season, and allow the air to come in from the leeward side, not from the windward side. That might be an option as well to try and reduce the amount of airflow. We see that in some other areas in the upper regions of the U.S. where they’ll do an overshot roof, where one side of the roof will come up, and the other side will come underneath it.

Colt Knight: 19:50

Yeah.

Morgan Hayes: 19:52

And that covering is designed so that when the wind blows, it blows over the overshot portion. And it allows the heat to come out, and it sort of catches on that wind pattern as it goes over the roof. But it only works if you have really predictable wind directions, which when I’ve looked at the couple wind roses here in Maine, does not seem to be a very reliable thing in this area. So maybe not a good option unless you are in an area where you have very consistent wind directions.

Colt Knight: 20:20

Gotcha. Well, thanks for sitting here and talking to us about some barn design and ventilation. I do want to ask you about your personal farm. You guys have a very impressive multi generational cattle and hay farm. Central Kentucky. It’s all rolling hills, beautiful trees, knee high grass.

Morgan Hayes: 20:44

Not this fall, but generally, we have a very pretty farm. It’s been a little bit dry in Kentucky this summer.

Colt Knight: 20:51

And are all a traditional Kentucky cow calf operation? Or you doing, like, a hybrid model?

Morgan Hayes: 20:58

We are a cow calf farm. We typically finish and sell freezer beef. Usually, 8 to 10 calves a year, we sell right now. We have about a 100 mama cows. And we sell hay. That is our primary source of income on the farm, ironically. It sounds like a 100 cows would be your primary. And maybe this year, it will be. But typically, the hay, year in and year out, is a much more consistent product to sell. We live in an area where we have other livestock nearby that we can sell hay to, higher quality hays, even into the horse industry in Central Kentucky. I’m lucky. You say it’s a multi generational farm, and it is, but I married into the farm. I am not part of the multi generational part of the farm. I actually –

Colt Knight: 21:53

You are now because you got kids.

Morgan Hayes: 21:55

I am now because I have children. That’s true. But I personally am not generational. I actually moved down to Kentucky. That’s when we met actually was we took beef production together, and, I met my husband there too. But I now live on a farm. My parents now live, on a farm with us, not literally with us, but also in the same area. It’s almost like a reverse multi generational farm because I have convinced my parents to farm with us. So they’re reverting in their older age to farmers as well.

Colt Knight: 22:28

And with the hay sales, so if you’re dealing with horse people, like, you’re probably doing a lot of square bales, or are you doing round bales mostly?

Morgan Hayes: 22:35

No. We still do round bales. The industry is really interesting. There’s certainly a need for square bales. Labor is a challenge. I don’t know how people feel here in Maine, but it’s a big challenge on farms to find find help. And square baling, at least at the level that we would be square baling at would be – it’d make buying the equipment a challenge. Whereas the hay is something that we can do in round bales ourselves.

Colt Knight: 23:02

Yeah.

Morgan Hayes: 23:04

The key is getting a good tedder, getting hay very dry, having a consistent product, and cutting it correctly.

Colt Knight: 23:11

And how many cuttings do you get on your farm?

Morgan Hayes: 23:14

We typically will get three cuttings on our better fields, and we will cut twice on our lower quality fields. But we keep pushing for more and more fields, spending the money on fertilizer to get three cuttings off of as much as we can.

Colt Knight: 23:29

And so are you doing your first cut in May or earlier than that?

Morgan Hayes: 23:33

No. May. It’s interesting. We have seen earlier springs. I know that most of the USC’s a little bit warmer patterns in the weather, and we are seeing that in Kentucky as well, so we will get a first cutting typically in May. It used to be Memorial Day was a first cutting. Now we can see it as early as, you know, the first or second week of May depending on how early the grass grows in the spring.

Colt Knight: 23:57

Very good. And I’m sure everyone wants to know, what kind of cows do you keep on your farm?

Morgan Hayes: 24:02

We have a commercial herd, so they are crossed. We have a saler based herd. So we have a lot of saler genetics and crossed with Hereford genetics. So an interesting cross there.

Colt Knight: 24:17

And for those of you that aren’t familiar with Kentucky, Kentucky is the largest cow calf state in the Eastern United States. They usually rank between 5th and 8th in total beef production for all the states. So beef cattle in Kentucky is a major industry.

Morgan Hayes: 24:35

It is a major industry. And what’s interesting though is that the average herd size is still somewhere around 30 cows. And so while we are at a 100 cows, we are considered a medium to large farm. There are certainly people that are much larger, but there are also a number of people that are still quite small in the state.

Colt Knight: 24:55

So it’s still mostly family farm type productions, not being invaded by big Ag or whatever to to take over.

Morgan Hayes: 25:03

I don’t know that cow calf is a good industry for big Ag to try and take over. It doesn’t seem to be one that they’re going gung ho for.

Colt Knight: 25:11

Yeah. Unlike pigs and chickens where we raise them in confinement, we raise beef cattle outdoors in whatever environment the state happens to have. So cattle that work well in Maine would not work well in Kentucky. They definitely wouldn’t work well in Texas, Arizona. And there’s no way to standardize beef production and still meet the demand for beef in this country. I don’t think, so I’m really happy to see that at least beef production is staying as a, you know, a local family farm type situation. And I know one of the problems that we experience here in Maine is we don’t have a lot of meat processors. And getting a processing appointment is very difficult, and I – you know, a lot of folks think that that’s local problem when in actuality, that’s a problem all across the U.S.

Morgan Hayes: 26:05

Yes.

Colt Knight: 26:05

You experience some trouble with that as well, don’t you?

Morgan Hayes: 26:09

Yeah. Yeah. We really tried to grow our local freezer beef that we were selling over the last few years through the pandemic. But getting appointments was 8, 12 months out. It’s backed off a little bit now, but it’s still 3 or 4 months out that you want to reserve spots. And we, you know, we’re bringing in 2, 3, 4 animals at a time, so I don’t think we’re a – and regularly, a couple times a years. But we’re certainly not big enough that they can open up spots if they don’t have them. They try to work with us, but it’s important to really continue to support local meat, and support local processors because we need them to be able to do local production.

Colt Knight: 26:56

Yeah. And Kentucky does not have a state inspection process, so you’ve really only got two options. You either go to a USDA inspected facility, or you go to a custom exempt facility.

Morgan Hayes: 27:07

Correct.

Colt Knight: 27:08

Here in Maine, we do have state inspections. So there are a couple options, you can go custom exempt, state inspected, or federally inspected. But, you know, about half the states in the United States do not have state inspection, and Kentucky is one of those states.

Morgan Hayes: 27:24

Yes. That’s correct. Yeah. We do not have a state inspection. We can sell some animals that are not through a USDA facility if we sell as a whole or a half of a beef. But, if we want to sell parts and pieces, we have to be at a USDA facility. And there are significantly less of them than there are of the exempt facilities because of the extra regulations and whatnot that they have to go through, the rigamarole.

Colt Knight: 27:51

So always challenges in farming. But there’s also opportunities, and I wanted to mention this. As you and your husband, W. D., were visiting this week, we’ve been talking about some of the new and exciting plans that you’re hoping to implement on your farm, especially the large birds and agratourism aspects. I would love to get your thoughts on your plans for expanding your farm operation.

Morgan Hayes: 28:20

You know, that’s the goal. The goal has always been to expand. The goal has always been that one person could work fully off of the farm. We farm at or a little above 500 acres. Not all owned. Some of it’s, you know, leased land. But it’s a pretty significant operation with both people working off of the farm. So the goal is to figure out how to bring in more income on the land that we have right now. If we need to make more growth to do it, we will, but we still struggle with that same labor that I described earlier. So we’re now looking at ways to further improve our income off of the acres we have. So we’re looking at ostriches. Very seriously looking at them. That seems like a radical decision. It’s something that has come and gone a number of times. I know it’s a little bit of a fad. In some – at least in the ’90’s it was a bit of a fad, and it looks like it’s coming back a little bit right now, but not at the level it was then. I think people lost a lot of money at that point. But we live in an area of the country that’s dealing with a lone star tick disease that creates a lot of issues with meat from mammals. So beef, pork, deer…

Colt Knight: 29:42

Lamb, goat.

Morgan Hayes: 29:43

Goat. Yep.

Colt Knight: 29:44

All the red meat.

Morgan Hayes: 29:45

All of the red meats are basically an allergy, when they get bit by it. It’s called alpha-gal. It’s a sydrome. It’s pretty predominant in our area. And there’s no real good national records on it. At least in Kentucky, we do tick tracking, and I think Maine does some tick tracking as well.

Colt Knight: 30:03

Yeah, we do quite a bit of tick work here.

Morgan Hayes: 30:05

But not all states do that, so we actually don’t have good national numbers on how predominant that disease is.

Colt Knight: 30:11

And that’s really unfortunate. But for the folks that do experience that lone star tick syndrome, and they can no longer eat red meat because they get violently ill, I’ve heard that ostrich steak is about as close as you can get to eating a beef steak.

Morgan Hayes: 30:29

Yep. I think it’s a little bit gamier, but it still has, I think, a lot of times, the texture, and a little bit of the flavor that people expect with a red meat. Not the same, but a good substitute for people that are craving one, but aren’t allowed to have one.

Colt Knight: 30:44

And so maybe that’s a good little niche for you to carve out.

Morgan Hayes: 30:48

Yeah. My husband likes birds. So we’ll see how this goes.

Colt Knight: 30:51

When you get the ostrich farm set up, I’m gonna come to Kentucky and visit.

Morgan Hayes: 30:57

Maybe we’ll do a video tour then.

Colt Knight: 31:01

And then while you’ve been here in Maine, we’ve also been driving around looking at quite a bunch of our agritourism places here, and some of the farm stand type locations. And you’re kinda getting ideas of maybe some things you could do on your farm to include agritourism, which is really getting to be increasing farm business.

Morgan Hayes: 31:21

Yeah. Yeah. I think we are looking at berries and things like that, maybe on a you-pick. But we were lucky that we have some visibility on some, not major roads, but highly trafficked roads, in the county. And that we might have an opportunity with a local college, liberal arts college in our town, and some other things that – there’s maybe a population that would be interested. And that would be wonderful if we could figure out how to have people come on the farm and see what we do. You know, we take a lot of pride in how we raise our animals. We are really invested in putting an infrastructure for rotational grazing, for raising animals correctly, making sure that we have really good facilities. And it would be really nice that people got to see all the time and effort that we’ve put into that.

Colt Knight: 32:13

I think people appreciate their food more if they know where it comes from, and how it’s raised. And we spent many generations in this country with no connection to our food for the general public. And I think now people are starting to wake up, but unfortunately, they’re getting a lot of their information from anti-agriculture people. And so it’s good for us as good practitioners to allow the public to see how we raise and treat our animals. Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree with you. I think really important that we – you know, not a completely open door policy because there’s biosecurity concerns, but allowing people to see what we’ve done, talking about what we do. We work really hard on our farm to do things the right way, to make sure, just like you said, that it’s a multi generational farm, that my kids will be able to farm that land, and it will not be used up. It will not be damaged. It will be in better shape than we received it. And that’s really important to us. And people will see that, I think, when they come and visit farms. I think they do see that when they visit farms. I think it was very obvious when we saw some of the agritourism here in Maine, how much people valued being able to see the farms.

Colt Knight: 33:30

Yeah. Well, Morgan, it was excellent to sit here and talk with you for a while. I know you’re on vacation, so we don’t wanna take up too much of your time. But, we appreciate you coming up to Maine. Really appreciate you talking to us here on this podcast, and for helping me with my beef quality assurance training that we did yesterday, and we hope to see you this way soon.

Morgan Hayes: 33:56

Alright. Well, I hope I’ll be back soon. Thank you very much.


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