Friday, February 26, 2010

Update on the Guest Article Submission

I received a short note from the editor of our regional newspaper saying he liked my submission and was forwarding it onto his managing editor... so perhaps my article will get published. I'll keep you posted on the status.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Protecting the Farmers/Ranchers

If you read yesterday's blog and my reference to United Kingdom's crippling laws against the farmers and ranchers. Check out this site as it appears the government in the U.K. is finally working to address the issues and problems these policies have made for the Ag industry in their land. Here is just one paragraph from the link below, and again this is what I was talking about, so let us learn from the U.K.'s mistakes!

"There is no more important industry than the production of food, but under Labour our farmers have been treated as dispensable. The Government’s belated recognition that farming matters is a welcome step forward, but it will have little credibility after more than a decade in which they have devalued British agriculture and allowed domestic production to decline.Reversing this damaging trend requires a new approach. Safeguarding our food security, maintaining the countryside and providing the raw materials for the UK’s largest manufacturing sector represents an enormous contribution to our national well-being and resilience. It is about time this was reflected by a government which understands the realities of farming and creates the conditions in which the industry can thrive." To read more about this article please click on the following link:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Organic vs. Conventional Farming

I'm trying to write an article as a possible guest commentary for our local newspaper on agriculture practices of Organic vs. Conventional Farming practices. Although I won't submit this as a whole, bits and parts of it will make it into the articles submission. Here are my unabashed thoughts – so sorry if it is long, but if you value keeping food on your table that is produced in the USA or as a consumer having the choice on where to purchase your food, then it this may be worth the read….

Sustainability, Farm to Fork, Urban Farmers, Organic Farming, you see these buzz words splashed around the media in varying forms and the articles behind them are usually depicting the American farmer in a less than favorable light. This has been a wake-up call to the producers to begin telling our story. If the American Farmer doesn't tell their story, then agriculture opponents will tell it for us and that is never a good option. Fifty years ago, most people either came from a farm or were related to someone who did, but that is not the case now. Many Americans are out of touch with where their food comes from and this is a good breeding ground for groups preying on consumer ignorance. There seems to be a mystery of who supplies the food to the grocery stores. As a farmer, I welcome the growing demand from consumers who want to know where their food comes from, but what I do not welcome are the "Luxury Food Extremists" who, through their well organized and financed initiatives, call for unrealistic regulations to be imposed on the way farmers and ranchers make our living(not to mention feed the world). These luxury food extremists are trying to turn their food choice into food law! It is amazing to me to think that someone who is not a producer is telling us how they think we should be conducting our business of raising crops or animals. Tactics* used are being fueled by emotional filled claims of livestock mistreatment or reckless endangerment of the environment. They claim that "corporate agriculture farms" are the source of these bad practices, but most corporations are family owned and operated. Farmers live on their farms, raise our children here and we eat what we produce, so where do they think we get our food from? There is room for both the organic farmer and the conventional farmer to co-exist. Let the consumer make his or her own choice of where to purchase their food and what they want to pay for their food. Let them choose between organic or conventional production, it is only fair.

Currently, the average American spends around 10% of their income for food compared to 18% in 1960 and about 25% in 1910. Ignorance on the part of the average American consumer will cost them more out of their pocket on food costs if proposed legislation on food production is implemented. Some of the proposed legislation I'm referring to are bans on sow crates and limits on hen cages, just to mention a few. Look at what California did to the Ag industry by passing Proposition 2 (Standards for Confining Farm Animals). The United Kingdom is also a prime example of how these elitist attitudes changed one of the most productive agricultural countries from a net food exporter to a net food importer. The more the Ag industry is burdened by encumbering laws, the less competitive our country will be within the global market. So the question is, do you want to depend on foreign food sources to feed you and your family if unrealistic demands put the family farmer out of business? Look at our dependency on oil; does anyone like paying $3.00 per gallon for gasoline? Just imagine what your food costs could be not to mention unsafe food practices of foreign countries if we must depend on outside sources to produce food. Nowhere in the world are farmers under more stringent laws and regulations than in the U.S.

Again, it is worth saying, there is room for both the organic farmer and the conventional farmer to co-exist. The organic farmer feeds those who seek those products, while the conventional farmer feeds the rest of the world. I saw a saying that said a "hungry man does not know right from wrong, he only sees hunger". A third of the world goes hungry every night, let us do our job and feed the world. *For some interesting reading, click on this .



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun Event for the Farmers

Joe and I were hosts this past Valentines week-end to friends who were the successful biders of a snowmobiling week-end package which was a fund raiser for the Idaho Grain Producers. I was excited to find that we actually knew the winners, Matt and Kathy, who farm down in Southern Idaho.

Below is Joe & Matt resting after one of their wild rides. What can I say about men and their toys! =)

On Saturday, we took Matt and Kathy to our annual Genesee Fireman's Crab Feed which is a local fundraiser for our volunteer ambulance/fireman. Our little farming community consists of about 1,000 people and our ambulance/fireman service is staffed entirely of volunteers. Joe was an EMT with the department the first 18 years of our marriage and we worked this event during all of those years. Now that he retired from the volunteer dept, we get to be guests instead of working it. Matt and Kathy are the crazy ones beside my husband. Our little granddaughter found us in the crowd and was giving grandma loves and hugs! =)

Here is Kathy and me taking a break. I had not been on a snowmobile for probably 25 years.... I'm a little sore all over. This was such a fun week-end and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Please don't mind the mess....

If this blog looks weird it is because I am in the process of moving it to a different private domain. So the end results should be better features and easier navagation . So for now, please keep reading at this site until it I get it re-directed. Thanks! =)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life on the Farm, February 6, 2010

As my husband, Joe and I were driving to Pullman today around 3pm, the sun was out and it was truly feeling like an early Spring day. You could see a glimmer of green in the fields, which are the little blades of winter wheat peeking out of the ground. I think it is going to be an early spring for us as we have not gotten any snow, the temps are in the 40s and it is expected to stay that way throughout February.

This picture (above) is from spring work last year. The silver tanks on the tractor and the small silver container at the very end are ammonia, which is nitrogen fertilizer. The implement right behind the tractor contains a dry blend of phosphate, nitrogen & sulfur in one of the yellow tanks and seed in the other yellow tank.

The next implement is the tool that puts the dry fertilizer and seed into the ground. In this picture (below) it shows the part of the machine called "openers" that go into the ground (to plant the seeds along with the fertilizer). I'll make short video clips that will explain this process more, so keep watching.

The reason Joe and I were heading to Pullman is that we were invited for dinner with one other farmer couple to enjoy a casual dinner with our friends who also are part owners of chemical company whom we do business with. Dinner and conversation was great and it was fun to get to know the other couple.
As I had mentioned before in other blogs, the winter season is a time for farmers to attend meetings and the day before, Joe had attended a continuing education meeting hosted by a few chemical companies that were promoting their newest products. In these meetings, they often will serve as way to help educate the farmers in the proper application of chemicals. Many farmers hold certifications to apply certain herbicides on the crops and must maintain current educational credits to keep their license.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Equipment used on the farm


While trying to give my blog a more interesting look, I came across this picture of my husband and his combine during harvest last year.  I’ve been searching for farming backgrounds to update my blog and can’t find anything out there.  So I’ll be brave and see if I can edit the free template I downloaded…. stayed tuned.   It’s sort of like a bad hair cut, you will eventually get what you want but it takes a few ugly times before you get the look you like.