Dairy farms go digital with robotic milkers

Ben and Alan Mesman with Holstein photo by Sarah Eden WallaceBy Sarah Eden Wallace / Nov. 26, 2014

It was so much fun to do a story about robotic milkers for KUOW in Seattle. You can see a video of robot milkers in action here.

I interviewed Louis Bouma of Bouma Farms in Lynden, Alan and Ben Mesman of Mesman Farm near LaConner, and Janis DeJager, the 2014-2015 Washington State Dairy Ambassador (plus a lot of adorable cows).
You can learn more about farming in our other Fair Shares!


‘Every year, you’ll get better’

Travis VanZanten showing beef cattle at Northwest Washington FairBy Sarah Eden Wallace / Aug. 20, 2014

Travis VanZanten of Lynden had shown beef cattle at the Northwest Washington Fair for five years when we talked to him in 2013. Now heading into his junior year at Lynden High School, where he also plays football, he belongs to the Showmasters 4-H club. We saw him in action in the ring, in the barn and at the washrack with his Limousin steer. He explains why he thinks Limousins (and their gorgeous glossy coats) are the best, what it’s like to compete against his friends, and a funny fair memory that landed him in the newspaper! …read more

Riding along with Raising Ace

Photos of Ace on the farmBy Meri-Jo Borzilleri / Aug. 4, 2014

We should have seen this coming, if we had any horse sense.

We should have known it when Alan and Shelley Manning’s adopted terrier, Stuie, locked eyes with one of the family Clydesdales about 100 yards away in a pasture.

On an otherwise tranquil spring afternoon at the Manning farm, Stuie abruptly ducked under the fence and bolted — not toward the horse, but toward a vacant spot in the pasture’s midfield.

At about the same time, Jay, a stallion, took off, too, in a beeline, toward the same spot.

Pretty soon, he was in full stride, and it was a sight to see. How many times in your lifetime do you witness 2,000 pounds of pure horsepower at full, mane-flying, hoof-thudding gallop? …read more


Taking flight with 4-H

Riley Marshall of Laurel Photos by Sarah Eden WallaceBy Sarah Eden Wallace / July 30, 2014

“I always thought pigeons were very cool,” says Riley Marshall, 14, of Laurel, Wash. A 4-H member since he was 10, he says he enjoys racing his pigeons with his friends. Indeed, Marshall can reel off all kinds of fun facts about homing pigeons. Did you know they can see stars in the daytime? “That’s part of the way they know the way,” Marshall explains. “If you blindfold a pigeon, it will still find its way home.” Learn even more about these fascinating fowl in this Fair Share. …read more


‘He would’ve been proud’

Clark Cotner of Birch Bay
By Sarah Eden Wallace / July 29, 2014

Army veteran Clark Cotner of Birch Bay, Wash., had just taught himself to paint when friends talked him into entering one of his pictures at the fair. He ended up winning the grand prize. He explains what showing at the fair means to him and how painting helps him heal from injuries suffered during his service. Let’s head now to the Expo Building where Cotner was doing a painting demonstration at the fair in 2013. …read more


‘I can show what I’ve learned’

Anna Cavezza of Lynden    Photos by Sarah Eden Wallace
By Sarah Eden Wallace / July 29, 2014

Now 14, Anna Cavezza of Lynden has ridden since she was 3 years old. She loves showing her quarter horse mare Typsy at the Northwest Washington Fair. Listen as Cavezza describes what it takes to compete in flags, flying across the arena to plant a flagpole in barrels at each end … in about 10 seconds! …read more