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Jamie Resh-Kemp, RN – Farmer and Critical Care Nurse

By Admin | July 30, 2008

Where are you from?

I grew up in Garrett County, Maryland. Currently, I live just across the Mason-Dixon Line in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?

My first college experience was at Garrett Community College in McHenry, Maryland. There I earned an AA degree in Agriculture Management.

Next, I attended the Western Maryland Police Academy in Hagerstown, Maryland. Most recently, I graduated from Allegheny College of Maryland in Cumberland.

There I earned an AA in Nursing.

What has been your career path from college to your current position?

With the agriculture degree, I managed a Southern States Store in Grantsville, Maryland.

During and after the police academy I worked as a sheriff’s deputy in Garrett County, Maryland.

Immediately after nursing school, I began working as a RN in the SICU/MICU at WVUH. This is my current position.

In addition to this, my family and I operate three beef farms.

How did you first get into farming?

I don’t ever remember not being involved in farming. Both sets of my grandparents were farmers, my Dad farmed on the side, and I married a farmer.

How many acres do you farm?

My husband and I have just less than 100 acres and we help my grandfather farm approximately 300 acres.

What do you grow and what type of livestock do you raise?

We raise beef cattle, hay, corn, winter wheat, oats, and sweet corn. We also have a small flock of chickens that provide eggs for our families.

Why don’t you farm full time?

I can’t afford too. There really isn’t much money in farming.

What is your take on organic farming? Do you use those principles in your operation?

Honestly, I don’t know that much about organic farming. I have seen the effects of inadequate use of pesticides and herbicides. It results in decreased yields and decreased quality.

Considering these things, I don’t know how this practice can be justified. We properly manage our crops with herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.

The production of meat without vaccines, antibiotics, or steroids seems controversial to me. Animals need vaccines to keep them healthy just like humans do. There are many common diseases that can be fatal to animals that can be prevented with a simple vaccination.

Similarly, common illnesses can be managed with appropriate antibiotics. It is not only inhumane not to provide these to animals, it also is economically poor practice. I do not use steroids in production of beef.

However, I vaccinate all of my cattle with a 7-way vaccine that prevents blackleg, malignant edema, black disease, enterotoxemia and pinkeye.

What is your take on people drinking non-pasteurized milk?

I personally drank non-pasteurized milk for years when we had a dairy farm. I never got sick from it.

However, we were very cautious about which milk made it to the collection tank. If a cow showed any sign of mastitis or infection, her milk was dumped down the drain.

Because of our practices, we received bonus payments for low bacteria counts in our milk. I’m sure that not all farms operate this way. Therefore, I would be cautious about where I purchased non-pasteurized milk.

Can you describe a typical work day?

My morning starts between 4 and 5 am. If I am working off the farm, I feed the chickens and my grandfather’s cows before heading to work.

After work, I feed my cows and chickens and check on my grandfather’s cows. After doing housework, I usually head to bed around 10 pm.

On days I am not working off the farm, mornings still begin with feeding the animals. The rest of the day involves catching up with animal care, field work, gardening, and house work. This is all dependent upon the season.

Evening feedings are done around 5pm. Work continues well into the evening. I should also add that most days I do take a little “me time.” I spend at least 1 to 2 hours exercising.

Do you receive any government farm subsidies? What is your response to the many people who think farm subsidies should be reduced or eliminated?

Our property is in the Clean and Green program. This insures that our property can not be sold for development.

This suits our wishes for our farm and it greatly reduces our taxes. People need to realize that if we do not provide for our farmers now, they will not be around to provide for us later.

Are you planning any changes in your farming practice in the upcoming year?

We are always improving the genetics of our animals through artificial insemination. We are also experimenting with different crops and practices to maximize yield and quality of our crops.

What do you like most about farming?

I enjoy seeing what I raised/grew. It’s rewarding and beautiful all at the same time.

What do you like least about farming?

Farmers are taken for granted and are not appreciated or valued. This is evident in how they are compensated for there product.

Would you encourage your children to be farmers?

If I had children I would encourage them to be involved in farming. It promotes work ethic and respect for the land and animals.

Disclosure: The interviewer has worked with Ms. Resh-Kemp in a healthcare capacity.

Copyright 2008 DailyInterview.com

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