A Farmer’s Earth Day Story

  Today is Earth Day.  A day that since 1970 has been celebrated as a day to recognize efforts to reduce waste.  While it started as a movement against water waste and improved air quality, it has turned into a day when everyone can take the time to plant a tree, pick up some litter, and make more of an effort to recycle. So what does a farmer like me think about on Earth day…the phrase “Every day is Earth Day for Farmers & Ranchers” tends to come to mind.  So here is this farmer’s Earth Day story…

If you ask me to plant a tree, I would smile, because last year I planted 500.

If you asked me to just wait until they get bigger and think of all the oxygen they will produce.  I would smile again and point to the 10,000 trees that this farm has planted in the past 20 years.


If you asked me to help with soil erosion, I would smile and point to the crops we have growing on hillsides to keep the soil where it’s meant to be.

If you ask me what I’m doing to help our precious bees.  I would smile and mention the acres and acres of food that I create for bees every year.


If you asked me to help keep our water clean, I would smile and point to the grass that we grow, which filters not only soil but pesticides and fertilizer.

If you asked me to decrease emissions, I would smile and point to our GPS equipment that helps us do more with less. 

If you asked me how I know our farm is sustainable, I would smile and introduce you to the 4th generation on our farm.  A small boy who is already learning what it means to take care of the land.If you asked me to celebrate just one day where we took care of the earth, I would smile because quite frankly as farmers we have been doing that forever.

The legacy of helping the earth didn’t start for my family on this land in 1970 along with Earth Day.  It started the day that my grandpa took a handful of soil and decided to start growing food and fiber for people all over the world.  And it continues now, decades of knowledge of how to take care of what God has given us, along with technology to continue improving on that legacy for generations.  So yes today on Earth Day I’m smiling, because when I look around, it’s true that this land is our office and our home.  This land is where we sweat, cry, and rejoice.  We are here to protect this land on Earth day and every day!

To read another blog from another farmer check out this one! 

Earth Day Thoughts from a “Modern” Farmer. https://daughterofatrucker.com/2016/04/18/earth-day-thoughts-from-a-modern-farmer/

1 Reason I Spray Round-up on Our Farm

We had a few nice days here in Oregon last week, and when it comes to spring time that means all hands on deck! This year in particular has been challenging because the rain just hasn’t stopped enough for fields to get dry in order to do much spring work. So in a matter of three days we were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off, fertilizing, spraying, planting, painting, you name it we were at it!

I had two sick kids at home so my role was mostly logistics manager via cell phone from the house. Nevermind a crying infant and wild toddler…I think I pulled it off pretty well.  But I did get to switch with Matt to enjoy a glorious 75 acre roundup spray application.

Round up in the past few years has gotten a bad wrap. Whether it be studies that it’s found in breast milk or the link to those oh so awful GMO crops, most are all very unscientific and unfounded. But that’s a whole series of blog posts, today I wanted to share why round up has made us more sustainable on our farm.

We have been growing no till spring wheat for about 5 years now on our farm. No till means that we don’t work the ground after the last crop is harvested. This saves not only time, fuel, and money, it also saves all the worms and bugs that have been making homes in the soil.  It gives the soil another year of resting which reduces soil compaction too.

 In order to do this however we have to be able to give the wheat a chance to grow in an uncompetitive atmosphere. If you were to take the field below, notice all the grass and weeds that are growing (basically everything that’s green)?

 That is all volunteer crop and weeds that if we planted into and never killed would be too much competition for our wheat crop and the wheat would grow a little bit, but would never be enough to even be worth harvesting.

So in the fall we spray round up on the fields to kill what grows after the final harvest of grass seed. Then we come back right before or right after planting to get one last application. Also round up only kills what is on the top of the soil, not disrupting any future plantings.

 I proudly wore my Monsanto hat, even though I was applying a generic brand of round up. I can’t help but appreciate having round up as a tool in our tool box that allows us to be better farmers and treat the land well.

Drones for Farming?

A few days ago I met up with a group of farmers to see a demo of a drone in use from HoneyComb.  Drones have started to gain in popularity for their ability to look at your fields with an efficiency that is pretty incredible.  We walk our fields very regularly, looking for weeds, trouble areas, fungus, slug damage and other issues that might come up.  This takes a lot of time, and your ability to walk an entire field, every square inch to see all those areas is pretty slim.

IMG_1166IMG_1163Although this technology is still new in regards to the types of information it can provide, I have no doubt that the extent of information is pretty limitless.  The key is getting information that will be useful while at the same time saving you and your bottom line.  We were joking that it could be used to scare geese off fields, joking mostly, but just might be another application.  HoneyComb has some great articles and examples of drones in use on their Facebook page as well.  Click HERE to check it out.

IMG_1156With the drones that we saw demoed on Wednesday it would take only 15 to 20 minutes to cover 50 acres completely.  Then you wait for the information to be uploaded to a server and sent back to you with information about your crop.

IMG_1158It’s pretty incredible and something that we have been hearing more and more about.  And people say that farmers aren’t embracing the wave of the future??  I think not!