I must make a confession. I am the combine driver for our farm and there are a few things that I need to confess. I spend lots of hours in our combine and there are some weird things that I deal with. Let’s get started . . . Continue Reading
As a farmer, we take pride in what we grow. We work closely with our seed dealers/agronomists to decide what seeds to grow. We plan and plan. We prepare our soils in order to give our plants the best chance during the growing season. Then when spring is upon us, we plant the seeds. We give them nutrition. We give them protection from pests. And then . . .
Mother Nature who controls all
We rely on Mother Nature to hold her end up. She is our partner. But a partner that we have no control over. She does as she does.
And then . . . this happens. This picture is a soybean field that was destroyed by hail. No, this was not our field, but it belongs to a young passionate farmer. All I can say to him is “I’m sorry.” It’s so hard to see someone who is just so excited about growing a crop and his farming future and then to see this happen to him. And there is nothing we can do. There is nothing anyone can do but to listen and give words of encouragement. As crazy as it sounds, but he felt like a failure. In his head, he knows not, but the heart doesn’t always follow. And I understand because honestly, we would feel the same way. Even after 40 years of farming.
Yes, he has multi-peril insurance. That is what crop insurance is for. So for those that condemn insurance subsidies, here is a great example of why we need it. If our crop insurance was not subsidized, the premiums would not be affordable. And most of you would be amazed how much we pay in insurance premiums. And it’s really hard now because of the low commodity prices.
So this field will be replanted. It’s earlier enough on the calendar. More than likely there will be a yield reduction because replanted beans rarely yield as well. But at least (hopefully) there will be a crop to harvest.
But more than anything, this is just one example of the stress we go through. All to put food on your plate.
Daily Farming Struggles
Tomorrow is another day. Another day of unknowns. Another day of not being in control. Another day of putting your faith in God. Another day to realize we are blessed in being allowed to do a job that we are so passionate about. Another day to persevere and become stronger. Another day as a farmer . . .
Other Related Posts
Farm life is very different than my city friends lives. And it’s really hard to explain. Here are just a few struggles that I face that my city friends don’t know.
1. Meal time is non-structured.
Meal time can be a struggle. Since there is no such thing as a 8-5 job on the farm, your evening meal could be anywhere from 4 pm to 10 pm (or later?). Meals could range from “made from scratch” homemade meals to throwing a frozen processed bacon cheeseburger you just bought from Sam’s Club in the garage microwave. On the run meals–especially during the busy times. Oh wait, isn’t it almost always busy??
2. Dates take on a whole new meaning.
Farm life is hectic and dates can look different. It could mean a ride in the farm truck to pick up a tractor part located 90 miles away. Daytime dates are a real thing. Sometimes it’s just “let’s go to town for an ice cream cone” or “just a walk down your gravel road so you can catch up on the day.” You just make the best of it and take them when you can.
3. You will know more about ‘farm things” than you ever wanted to know.
And some of it may even make sense–eventually. There is no shortage of farm discussion points. Some days, after a 20 minute one-side conversation, I give him the “dead stare” like really, you think I know what you are talking about? Or do I really need to know that? Like the time he tells me in great detail how he fixed the baffles on the hog barn. Or taking apart the tractor to fix the hydrolic hoses. He knows immediately when I give him that look that he probably has crossed the line and he is boring me to tears and have no idea what he is talking about.
4. Farm husbands are not always in tune with pop culture.
Your kids love the fact that dad isn’t always up on the latest fad. Case in point. Years ago when our daughters were young, Hardees sold California Raisin posable figures. Being the cheap mom I was, I never bought into those fads. One day, my husband needed to pick up supper using the drive through (probably because he either smelled or was dirty) at Hardees. The order taker asked my husband if he wanted Raisins. He yelled back to the girls and asked them if they wanted Raisins. Here is where the “cluelessness” comes in. My husband, thinking he is ordering cookies, thought he was asked if he wanted raisins in them. The girls, who are NOT clueless, knew exactly what was being asked. I am sure they looked at each other and thought, yes, we have one over dad. Of course they wanted Raisins! So, yes, they came home with (California) Raisins and my husband had no idea why they were part of the order. To this day, it still makes us laugh.
5. The Sights, The Sounds, The Smell
When we have people visit from “the city” we know our environment is different than what they are used to. We have hog barns on the same place that we live. Maybe it’s because I am used to it, but there are only a few days of the year that I don’t open my windows because of the smell. To my city counterparts, I am sure the faintest smell is noticeable. But the sights and the sounds are undeniably the best. To see wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, coyotes (well maybe not coyotes), deer, oppossum, and the occassional skunk scurrying across the farm, enjoying nighttime campfires, and to hear the constant bird chirppings in the early morn, frogs croaking in the distance, the scuttling of squirrels scampering and the distress call of the killdeer when you come too close to her nest. It. just. doesn’t. get. better.
Even though our life on the farm is different than my city friends and the struggles are real, we wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Life isn’t about the big things, it is the little things. And I have learned to appreciate and enjoy the little things in life.
In this world of 24-hour news coverage, surprisingly it is hard to find a feel-good message. And it’s always good to hear an uplifting story, even in the face of a tragedy. And that is exactly what our small community experienced recently. Many of you may have heard of the devastating explosion/fire that occurred at an elevator in our community. I am not going to focus on the devastating explosion and fire, but instead, I am going to share my observations about the human component that surrounded this event. Every time I think about how our community came together, my breath is literally taken away by the pride that fills my airways . . . Rural America is the absolute best place to live.
Explosion and Fire
So let me give you a short recap of what happened. On Thursday, December 28, a grain elevator in Northrop, MN exploded. Multiple nearby homes were damaged and three employees suffered minor injuries. The elevator is owned by a local family farm where they used the elevator to store corn, which is fed to their hogs. While the explosion itself was serious, things turned south very quickly early the following morning (Friday, December 29) when the elevator became engulfed in fire. And it was a major fire. The emergency personnel would be on the scene until the early evening of Sunday, December 31, fighting the fire. 62 hours straight of pumping water. Over a million gallons of water was trucked in. There was a steady stream of emergency lights, fire trucks coming and going delivering water.
Here is where the terrible tragedy brought out the very best of our community. During the fire, temperatures were very cold. I mean, very cold. Daytime highs didn’t get above zero. But with our local fire departments, it didn’t matter. They were there doing their job.
Their volunteer job.
More than 50 surround fire departments came to offer their assistance. Yes, you read that correctly. More than 50. Fire trucks were freezing up. Businesses were offering their sheds for the fire trucks to unthaw. There was a continuous stream of water trucks assisting with the fire and every firefighter needed. Once word got out about how many emergency personnel was involved, businesses and people stepped up to the plate. Numerous grocery stores and restaurants prepared and delivered food. The local bar, located across the street, closed their business and opened up as a place to warm up and eat. Warm and dry socks and gloves, chapstick, hot meals and warm drinks were available along with words of encouragement. In fact, some local stores ran out of these needed items. Our community couldn’t do enough.
Our community couldn’t do enough.
Tears came easy thinking about how our community pulled together. I have a renewed appreciation and pride for our emergency personnel. I will never look at a firefighter the same way again.
Is this a unique situation? Absolutely not. People in rural America have a special eagerness to help their fellow man. Rural Americans rush to the aid of members in need, no matter what. That’s just who we are.
A few years ago, the community came together when a young father/farmer was killed tragically in a car accident. And personally, our family was the recipient of this same type of help. Many years ago, my father-in-law suffered a heart attack and went into surgery for a heart bypass. All during fall harvest. Neighbors, who were never asked, came to help us. They were true heroes.
Even though the news media will tell us that people who live in flyover country are looked down upon. Not thinking we are at the same level of our suburbanite neighbors. Or, perhaps, maybe they don’t think of us at all. But one person who has not forgotten us in rural America is the President. It was so refreshing to see our President speak at the National American Farm Bureau conference. The first President to speak at this conference in the last 25 years.
We are proud of our community. No matter our strengths or weaknesses, people come together when they see the need. And it feels good. There just is no better place to live. And that attitude shows through as we build our communities in ways that matter.
I would love to hear about your community. Would your community do the same? Do you see your community working to make itself better?
Additional Fire Links:
Northrop Grain Elevator Fire
Northrop Elevator Burns