|Noxious weed in wheat - RYE!|
|Tuffy and Donkey|
Here we are in the middle of April and life on the family farm has already begun to get busy. Spring is my favorite time of year as the trees start to get their leaves and the flowers are blooming. I love waking up in the morning to the sounds of birds chirping outside our bedroom window. But with all that also comes the sounds of tractors working the fields and power tools in the shop as they prepare and repair the equipment for another season of planting and harvesting crops.
The Family Farm faces many new challenges each year. We know that farming's a business and it's got to work economically if you're going to remain out there on the farm. Risk management is essential to insuring the success of any family farm. With the rising costs of fuel and fertilizer alone, we know the one expense we do have some control over is the cost of labor. With that being said, we realize we do not begin to pay our children enough for the many hours they contribute to the family farm operation; just as it was the case for past generations. And yet without them, we would not be able to keep the family business in operation today. Very few young people become farmers today, and half of all U.S. farmers are between the ages of 45 and 65, while only 6% of all farmers are under the age of 35.
Farmers are looking for ways to diversify across agricultural products. The old-school way of farming is a thing of the past. Like any other industry, farmers have had to accept and learn how to implement the many tools that technology has to offer. The Internet is a valuable tool to utilize. Our son Brett has made it his mission to “clean up the farm”. Like all farm sites, you acquire a lot of old equipment that no longer is valuable to the operation of the farm. It sits there year after year and becomes overtaken with rust and becomes one more obstacle you have to mow around. With the use of the Internet he has listed this old equipment on such sites as Purple Wave and Craigslist hoping that our junk will truly be someone else’s treasure. Much to our surprise there are people out there who are looking. Many thanks to Brett for taking the time to take pictures, make the contacts and list the items on the Internet. Mowing will be much easier this summer!
In the next month we will start the task of pulling rye that is growing in the wheat. “Rye is the enemy and it must be eliminated” according to my husband. So my husband and I along with two of our kids will walk the many miles and acres of wheat, looking for each and every stock of rye to pull. I will admit I don’t begin to pull as much as Jeff and Brett do but I will attempt to help.
I love life on the farm and would not trade it for anything. It’s hard work – but hard work is good for you. We like working outside and we like seeing the product of our efforts. We also enjoy the challenge of how to do things better and are willing to adapt to an ever -changing world of agriculture. But more importantly, it’s a life style that we look forward to passing down to our children and grandchildren. A lifestyle like none-other!
PS: It amazes me that a lot of people still don't know where their food comes from. And it doesn't all come from a grocery store. For many people, the connection between farm and fridge is vague at best.