Cyndi's Two Cents

Farmlife stimulates your senses


Commentary.

When I close my eyes at night and visions of yellow nutsedge sprouting in otherwise weed-free soil appear in my mind’s eye, I know I’ve spent a lot of hours hoeing in the garden. I do some of best thinking, planning and praying when I’m weeding and mulching.  It’s also hay season here so the smell of freshly cut, tedded, raked and baled hay tickles my olfactory nerve as I doze.  My slumber is filled with the music (or is it moosic?) of calves and momma cows separated for weaning. 

Life on the farm certainly stimulates your senses. I know my muscles remember when I buck small square bales onto the wagon bed and my back won’t let me forget the hours spent bent over hoeing those darned nutsedge plants. But as dog-tired as I might be when I go to bed at night, the sights, smells, sounds and even the tastes of the day can’t seem to call it quits.

I’ve always had a pretty good “sense” about people, too.  I’m no Pollyanna but I generally see the good in people first.  Sadly, those of us in agriculture need to use every one of our senses to guard against those self-appointed experts on how we grow our crops and raise our livestock. 

I do not believe there is one right way to farm.  I believe there is a right way for each individual farmer with his or her land and livestock in mind.  When Jim and I moved just a few hours south and west, from central Illinois to central Missouri, we had to adjust to the soil and topography.  We went from mud and sand bottomed creek beds to rock bottomed creeks beds.  Lots of rocks.

Every acre on every farm is unique.  Every head of livestock on every farm is unique.  Every steward of the land and livestock is unique. If you are going to get the most out of every asset, your best bet is to pay attention to that uniqueness.  You are sure to learn something from talking with and observing how other farmers farm.  Sometimes what you learn is that there is no way in the world their farming practices would work on your farm.  And that’s okay!  What is NOT okay in my book is placing judgement on another’s practices if they are stewarding the land, livestock, air and water differently that you do.

Organic practices are fine for some, but when I look out at the beautiful and blooming potato plants we have tended with care for several weeks and see the Colorado potato beetles have arrived, I’m happy to take advantage of the pesticide tools available.  We read the label and follow the application guidelines and harvest restrictions. 

If a consumer is willing to pay the farmer using organic practices a higher price for his potatoes, more power to that farmer.  However, if the organic farmer points his finger at me and wags his tongue with disparaging remarks about my practices and my potatoes, I have big problem with that.  There’s room for all of us in agriculture and if you must sink so low as to bad-mouth me to sell your potatoes then your potatoes must not be all that great.

 

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