Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring Work, Weather & the Annoyed Farmwife

This morning I was telling Farmer Joe that I was annoyed by a remark and attitude that a long time friend had made about farmers in general.  Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I don’t think so as this friend has a little bit of farming in his background (although it dates back to probably over 40 years ago) and he has been around our farming operation, so he should know better.   But when he called to see how we were getting along with putting our Spring crops in, I said we were doing pretty good and just working around the weather. 

A view of just how much tractors have changed over the past 50 years
What got my “tail-feathers” all in a bunch was the remark that “weather wasn’t an excuse, it was the farmer’s attitude about just getting in and getting the crop in that was delaying our Spring work progress".   The implied impression was that we should just be out in the field regardless of weather and that optimum soil conditions were not a valid concern, it was just the farmer’s attitude of being lazy.   Then it got me thinking if this is his opinion, what must the consumer who has no connections with farming think????   Heck, I usually learn something new about our farm production almost everyday from Farmer Joe, so I can only conclude what others who don't have a farmer to ask must think!   There is a reason why we don’t plant in muddy fields, for one, we will get our tractor and expense equipment stuck, but more importantly it will compact the soil and produce a poor crop.  I know this because I have gotten impatient and planted my small garden in unfavorable conditions.  So I have to confess, I am a crappy gardener and when my meager attempts to raise some vegetables have not produced anything, then Farmer Joe will explain what I did wrong.  (Like when I planted in too wet of soil and that it compacted the soil down too hard and then the soil would form a crust like top and that the new young plant didn’t  have the energy to break through the soil crust). So given that I know firsthand about personal crop failure with my garden, it is a really good thing that America doesn’t depend on me feeding them.  And it is fortunate for America that Farmer Joe and Farmer Jay as well as the other 210,000 full-time farmers out there who do know what they are doing and keep food on our table.

Seeding Spring wheat 2 days ago

It is a sea of green around our farm, still looks like a huge lawn
A view of the lane to the farm shop

This is Winter wheat planted last Fall and it looks like the grass in your yard right now in this stage

And so with that, let me share why Earth Day for a farmer is 365 days a year, because our livelihood and food on your table depends on how well we take care of our precious resources. This is a great article that I have copied and pasted in from Texas Ag Talks and Mike says it better than I ever could….  later on in the blog are more pictures and videos.... so hope you don't mind it being a long blog, but it is important to me that you know we do care about our land and producing safe abundant food for you and me, so I hope you will keep reading and watch the videos of what we do on our farm. 

Earth Day is 365 days a year for farmers and ranchers

By Mike Barnett

Earth Day was celebrated with great fanfare yesterday.

This annual observance serves as a reminder of the fragility of the earth’s resources. Each of us must do our part to ensure we have a clean and healthy planet for generations to come. The problem I see is that the commitments many make for a better environment are a lot like New Year Resolutions. They last for a week or two and then tend to fall by the wayside.

Farmers don’t have that luxury. They must use earth-friendly practices every day of the year. Their ability to keep farming depends on it. And so does your ability to have a full plate of food.

Many activists like to pooh-pooh the idea that farmers are environmental stewards. These facts suggest otherwise:

• Farmers do more with less. Farm and ranch productivity has increased dramatically since 1950 while the use of labor, feed and fertilizer has declined markedly.

• Dramatic yield increases. Total U.S. crop yield has increased more than 360 percent since 1950.

• More efficient land use. U.S. land used for crops has declined by 70 million acres since 1982.

• Careful stewardship. There’s been nearly a 50 percent decline in erosion of cropland by wind and water since 1982. Conservation tillage—a way of farming that reduces soil erosion on cropland while using less energy–has grown from 17 percent of acreage in 1982 to 63 percent annually.

Are agricultural practices 100 percent perfect? No. But modern production tools such as global positioning satellites, biotechnology, conservation tillage and integrated pest management enhance farm and ranch productivity while reducing the environmental footprint.

Huge strides have been made over the history of agriculture to increase food production while conserving resources. Many marvels are yet to come.

It takes awareness, commitment and research. It also takes incentive.

Farmers and ranchers know that enhancing their land and water resources will allow them to grow a crop next year and will allow their great grandchildren to grow a crop 100 years from now.

Earth Day? It happens every day on the farm and ranch.~

As for what is happening on the Anderson Farm? Well today we are rained out, but I’ll share a few videos from planting garbanzo beans a few days ago. (Click here if unable to view the videos)

And at the end of the day, we know that we have done a good days work and tomorrow (weather permitted) =)  we will be out there again until we have finished our field work.

Tractor at sundown
As always, I feel blessed that you have dropped by to read my blog or share a comment or email.  And if you have questions about farming, just ask and I'll relay what Farmer Joe has to say, cuz I have to admit he is a walking wealth of knowledge.  =)   Talk to you soon, all my best, Gayle.

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