It’s a Tough Business
As this is our spring planting issue, I wanted to share just how important farmers are to our region and America. In our region it’s hard to distinguish farmers from livestock producers, because usually they are the same person.
It seems an impossible task as both the farmer and rancher are so involved in technology, equipment and genetics, both in crops and livestock. How does one stay up to speed on the latest news and products?
I’ve never thought of myself as a farmer. I’m a rancher who had to farm from time to time, especially haying from the Fourth of July till later in September. If I planted anything, the gophers were always the first to come up.
Equipment for farming has become so sophisticated in this day and age, you almost need to go to a school to drive a tractor. I would think it is like driving a computer in the fields. No wonder they were not allowing farmers to fix their tractors if an issue came up. On some tractors, they are guided by the computer. They really don’t need a person in the cab except to monitor how everything is going. Most combines can tell you the yields as they are moving down the rows of corn or soybeans.
The science and genetics of crop seeds are just like the genetic planning of livestock, it’s a science. I didn’t realize what all went into planting crops until I read an article in Successful Farming on a farmer planting soybeans in western Iowa, here is part of the article.
“On March 21 we planted 60 acres of soybeans. It was earlier in the spring than usual for our farm. Winter weather is likely not over here in western Iowa, so in order to make sure the beans are protected from any cold snaps, we have applied stress-mitigation products, Accomplish Max, in furrow and a seed treatment from SprayTec. If we see a prediction for very cold weather coming, then we will do a quick application of a product called Shield designed to give the young plants another layer of protection during frost conditions by helping to mitigate abiotic stress. As with many things in farming, it is a risk to plant beans on the first day of spring, but we feel pretty good about the stress mitigation program we have in place and think we are setting the stage for a great crop,” the article read.
Farmers have the patience of a horse trainer, they never give up. Like ranchers, they have to deal with the slow supply chain, inflation and high inputs such as equipment parts, fuel supplies and other high costs. And then we look at farmers in the Corn Belt who are buying farmland for $12,000 an acre. Despite the cost, they still see a future in farming.
We depend on farmers to feed us, as we do ranchers. Spring is a great time to thank our American farmers for our food they produce, at the lowest cost in the world.