Bob got a call from the USDA the other night. I wasn't sure who he was talking to at first; all I heard was "40...about 85...2...I have no idea...9...no more goats!"
The call was from the Census of Agriculture. I'm not sure why they called, as we still have time to fill out the batch of paperwork (shown below) before the Feb 4 deadline.
One thing they wanted to know was how many tons of hay we had fed in 2012. "Half a hayloft full," said Bob. We don't weigh our small bales of hay, and I'm not sure any small farmer does.
Last night Bob went through all the records on our sheep operation. He was astounded to find that we lost 12 tagged lambs last summer. That doesn't count lambs that died at birth or within a few days. We found three carcasses in the pasture killed by coyotes, but there must have been many more.
It was a hot, dry summer, and the ewes and lambs went into the pasture at night more often than in a normal year, searching for grass. This year we will call them up at dusk and lock them behind the barn until morning. Live and learn.
For more information on the Census of Agriculture, go here.