Archive | Challenges RSS feed for this section

Looking for Weeds in an 8ft Tall Crop

25 Jun

One of the crops on our farm is Swiss chard for seed.  This year we are growing a green variety, and it has decided to grow well over 8 feet tall!!  We are also growing a field of radish seed right next door, which in most cases wouldn’t really be a problem.  However, this year we noticed that there were a few stray radish plants in our Swiss chard field.

This becomes an issue of variety purity.  Radish is pollinated by bees, so we have to get the wild (or off type) radish plants out of the Swiss chard before the bees went and hung out on those flowers and then possibly went to our production radish field and pollinated with the wrong variety of pollen.  It’s one of those fun “we love being seed farmers” type of things!

So how does one go and find radish in a field that is…well…quite a few feet taller than I am?!  Farmers are problem solvers, and Matt had an idea that maybe if we got high enough we could have a better vantage point to see down into the stalks of Swiss chard.  This field was planted with alleyways to help us better manage the crop as it grows to full height, so we decided to drive each of those two times to get a good view of the whole field.  So we hooked up the man basket to the loader tractor and headed out to the field.  Once there Matt climbed up into the man basket, I took the wheel of the John Deere, hoisted him up, and we were off.

And it basically went like this… I would drive each alleyway once per side, always too slow or too fast.  While shifting I would (maybe) make Matt’s heart beat a little faster as he “hung on for dear life” (his words not mine).  Then every once and awhile he would holler and point to some area in the field.  I would jump off the tractor into the jungle, instantly engulfed in stalks of chard, while he “navigated” me through the crop to the off type radish so I could pull it out.

Navigating Skills were as follows (at full volume to be heard over the tractor engine mind you):
“LEFT, NO YOUR OTHER LEFT.”
“MAYBE WE SHOULD USE NORTH AND SOUTH AS DIRECTIONS?”
“BRENDA…NORTH IS THE OTHER WAY!” 
“WHERE ARE YOU GOING??” 
“YOU PASSED IT….”
“TURN AROUND.  OK. TURN AROUND AGAIN.”

“DO YOU EVEN SEE IT?” 
“IT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!”
“HOW DO YOU NOT SEE IT?”

I won’t tell you what my equally witty responses were, if you know me, I’m sure you can make your own assumptions (haha!)

We didn’t find too many, but it was important that we found the few and and got rid of them to keep the purity of the radish variety.  Growing crops for seed can be tricky sometimes, there is a lot of high risk and high reward moments; and also moments that make you stop and think, “So how the heck are we going to do that??”  Like when you’re staring at an 8 foot tall jungle of Swiss chard, knowing that you need to get in there and look for tiny white flowers.

This crop will be ready to harvest later this summer.  The seed is used to grow Swiss chard for mixed green salad mixes.

FRED Talk in the Field

18 Jun

Oregon Farm Bureau has been reaching out to members to do FRED talks. FRED stands for Farming and Ranching Every Day.

I had the opportunity to chat with Anne Marie Moss with the Oregon Farm Bureau about all sorts of things ranging from Covid 19, to grass seed, to blogging all while out in a grass seed field on a beautiful sunny Oregon day!

Click here to watch my FRED talk!

Personally my biggest takeaway is, when choosing a “tripod” for your phone while on zoom, a spray boom that slowly goes down while you’re talking is not recommended. Mostly because by the end of the conversation you will basically be doing a squat and your legs will be sore. 😂 #hindsight2020

But seriously, I really appreciate all the work that Oregon Farm Bureau has done to be creative and help still keep us farming and rolling along. You can see all their other FRED Talks here. And also Like them on Facebook to stay up to date about farming and ranching in Oregon.

Water is for Fighting, Part 3, The Ask

28 May

I have been posting a series of blogs the past two days about the Klamath Basin Water crisis. 
Water is for Fighting, Part 1, Background
Water is for Fighting, Part 2, What’s Happening Now

And now, Part 3….from farmer and rancher Ty Kliewer.

My Ask
Our request is simple. We need funding so we still have upright farms and businesses in the basin next year. Like agriculture across the United States, trade wars have been painful here too, albeit the fight was worth picking and winning. Unlike everywhere else in Covid 19 America, our current potentially fatal peril has been brought upon us exclusively by our federal government. When I woke up this morning, May 10, I asked my wife to tell me I’ve just had a really bad dream. She instead reminded me Covid and water shortage is very real. In the long term, Reclamation must recognize that this project is different. The water here doesn’t belong to Reclamation or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, it belongs to the farmers that Reclamation brought here to build this community and help feed our nation. 

There are two critical needs we ask of you and the Trump Administration. First, we need federal funding assistance to keep our farms and businesses upright so we can do business in the Klamath Basin next year. Second, we need the Administration to continue to work with Project irrigators and other affected parties to develop a long-term, science-based solution that properly addresses important tribal and fisheries needs and also recognizes the unique nature of this federal water project, which was developed solely to provide stored water for irrigation of local farm and ranch lands

We have upheld our end of the bargain through generations of both strife and prosperity. It’s Reclamation’s turn to uphold theirs.

The idea for this blog series came from a simple phone call asking for help to get the word out about what is going on down in the Klamath Basin and their water crisis.  I know what it’s like to be in the minority and not feel heard.  I know what it’s like to have someone just say, “No you’re wrong because I said you’re wrong” and not have any chance to stand up to them.  These farmers and ranchers deserve to be heard and they deserve to get what is rightfully their’s.

“It’s not rocket science – a new management paradigm is needed.  The Klamath Basin is at another historic crossroads in its future.  A hopeful vision is that increase knowledge, improved management, and cohesive community action will promote recover of the fishes.  This outcome, which would be a great benefit to the Klamath Basin, could provide a model for the nation.” – Ty Kliewer

My personal ask is that if this speaks to you as an injustice, that you also share this story on your social media accounts, participate in the rally, support these farmers and ranchers.  Because as you can see while you read through this series, it’s not just about one farm or one ranch; it’s about a whole community, a large area of our state that is being effected.  The numbers below aren’t small or insignificant to our state and the health of our economy.

We need to stand together in this state to protect each other.  Not just as farmers but as small town community members.  I want to thank Ty Kliewer for taking the time to sit down to write how this is effecting his livelihood and having the courage to put his story out there for folks to see.  It’s not easy to stand up, but the more we can get our stories heard the better off the future of Oregon agriculture will be!  And hopefully the better off the next generation of farmers in the Klamath Basin will be as well.

Also one more reminder….The Tractor Rally is coming up tomorrow May 29th. You can also check out Shut Down & Fed Up to keep up to date on this a future events.  Here is one of their recent posts, I think it really speaks to the mission of the farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin.

Farming is the ultimate profession of faith, strength, hope and humility.

In truth, we farm because everything that we were, everything that we are, and everything that we will become depends upon it.

We farm for the past:

▪️For those that gave their lives protecting our nation and its land.

▪️For those that believed in the American dream, and built a life from the ground up.

▪️For those that saw a land of opportunity when looking out over miles of fields and streams.

We farm for the present:

▪️For the thousands of acres that were planted and herds that were expanded, under the expectation that this year’s water would be delivered as promised.

▪️For the individuals and organizations dedicating every free (and working) moment to campaigning for our freedom to farm.

▪️For those praying that a lifetime of investing in their livelihood might make it one more day, one more month, one more year.

▪️For the thousands of individuals and businesses that make our farms and ranches successful, and rely on our commodities to support their families and our communities.

We farm for the future:

▪️For the children that dream of running the farm or ranch that their great-great-great-great grandparents took such pride in.

▪️For the parents around the world who pray that they might be able to put safe, affordable, readily-available food on their family’s table.

▪️For the promise that one day, we might all coexist peacefully and productively while respecting our crops, our cultures and our communities.

We farm for you.

#TakingaStandforAg #KeeptheBasinFarming #ACalltoUnity

Thank you!!

%d bloggers like this: