Spring calving season is a busy time for farmers like Tama County Farm Bureau Rebecca Dostal who keep a watchful eye on their animals as they bring new life to the farm.
As of March, Dostal had 35 new calves on the ground from her herd of 80 mostly Black Baldy cows, a Hereford-Angus cross known for good mothering abilities.
“We had three new ones last night,” Dostal said.
Dostal has been taking care of cows since a young age, beginning on her family's farm in Decatur County.
“My dad gave me a heifer my first year of 4-H when I was nine, and they've just kind of grown with me," she said. “He helped me get my herd size to where it is now.”
She continued to grow her herd through high school and college with her dad’s help. After finishing college, Dostal brought her 22 cows with her when she moved to Tama County and started her own farm.
These days, Dostal is passing her knowledge of livestock down to her three sons, who are active with 4-H livestock projects along with sports and other school activities. Her oldest son plays football at Morningside College, and the younger two are a sophomore and a freshman in high school.
Along with the cowherd, Dostal and her husband, Calvin, grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa and pasture. They also raise Berkshire hogs, but Dostal makes no secret that her passion belongs to the cows, which come looking for her attention whenever she enters their pen.
“I love the baby calves and being able to watch them grow up,” she said. “They’re pretty easy to take care of once they’re on the ground. They're not really a high maintenance thing through the summer."
She said spring calving can be difficult some years, but this year's weather hasn’t been as tough.
“The cold is a kind of a pain, but we have facilities we can get the cows in to keep them warm,” Dostal said.
To learn more about how Iowa farmers work every day to raise high-quality meat and provide the best possible care for their farm animals, visit www.realfarmersrealfoodrealmeat.com.