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/

It’s not always about Hunting on the Farm…

Awhile back I wrote about how we kill squirrels, ruthlessly, on our farm. So in contrast to that post I would like to also show a softer side of the farm…the saving kittys side. It was a nice sunny afternoon, and after a long time of rain rain rain, we were glad to finally get some work done. Dad and I were out in the shop figuring out a few things when we heard a small “Meow” coming from the wall that is between the shop and our lean two. Then we heard some small paws scratching, very little paws. Sure enough a little kitty had fallen two stories down into the space between the two outbuildings, and not in a very convenient place at all. Dad looked at me, and said, “Brenda we don’t have time to save kittens today, I’m sorry we have too much to do right now!” It sounded so sad in there, and I knew it would die if we didn’t do something (maybe a little Fire Fighter Save the cat out of the tree came over me), so I opted for logic over emotion on this one. “Dad if it dies in there, it’s going to smell so bad, and then we are going to have to tear the wall apart looking for the thing because we wouldn’t be able to hear it. At least right now we know where it is. I’m sure it won’t take long…” Little did I know that two and half hours later the kitty’s fate would be decided…

So what could possibly make this kitty rescue take this long, well because to get the dang thing out we had to first remove a side of the tin from the shop. Tin that has been there for quite a while and was held on by some nails that didn’t really want to go anywhere fast. We had to make time for dad to smash his head into a doorway, and then of course we had to go through about 50 different tools to try to chip away at the wood that was blocking her exit. I’ll tell you what though, the moment we got the tin off and could see that little kitty’s face and tiny little paws something flipped in my not so heartless father, “We’ve got to save that kitty Brenda!!”

So after we realized that our hands and arms were too big to reach we called up one of our worker’s daughters, skinniest arms I have ever seen! She came to mission “Kitty Rescue” right away and we really thought we had a chance. She was tiny, and ready to get out of there, but she was also quite chubby and in a sort of Winnie the pooh fashion kept getting her belly stuck. So we would chip away more wood from the base boards and studs (pretty sure in a big wind storm we may regret ever helping this dang kitty when we see the building go down haha!)

By then my mom had shown up and was the kittty’s cheerleader, “Come on kitty, you can do it!!” She was chanting as we all watched in anticipation! Finally after a long afternoon and with a shop wall just about torn apart, the kitty was free!!! We all high fived and it was like something completely crazy had come over us, we had just saved a life! I know it sounds corny and when you think about it, it really was super corny. But if you had been there, I’ll tell you what, you would have been high fiving and hugging with the rest of us. One of those moments that you just get caught up in I suppose. We’ve since patched the kitty chute hole and hoping this never has to happen again, but glad that in the end, it was a very good afternoon and just another unexpected day on the farm!

GM Foods & Hamsters…Don’t be Afraid!!

I recently read an article that was written about GMO foods and seeds. It was brought to my attention by the U.S. Farmer’s and Rancher’s Alliance, Food Dialogue website, they send out articles and publications that may have a negative outlook on agriculture and ask for people to respond, blog, tweet, facebook, etc, on what they think of the issue. The most recent article was entitled “GMO-fed Hamsters Become Infertile, Have Stunted Growth.” With the small tag line underneath reading, “Overall GM sounds like a sweet deal only for Monsanto (and our own FDA and USDA, repeatedly found in bed with them). It remains a bad deal for us, the consumers.” I encourage you to read the article and see what you think, but I also encourage you to read this blog afterwards, maybe I can help put some of your fears at ease. I plan to not use fear to convince you of what I believe about GM products and seeds, ps…I’m not in bed with Monsanto either!

First I was take a back by the article because it never actually cites where it got any of the information that they are claiming as facts, makes me nervous! Plus why all this bashing, when the reality is that Genetically Modified seeds have a very positive side that isn’t once talked about in this article. These are a tool that has come from technology that allows farmers to feed more people with less land. Just as GPS technology helps us be more efficient, we take all the gains that we can to produce the healthiest food per acre that we can. And we’ve come a long ways, today the average farmer feeds 155 people, in 1960 that number was only 25.8! So how can that be possible, mainly because of advances in technology, including the use of GM seeds. Here is another great article that outlines some of the advantages to feeding more with less. But this isn’t to say that we find out a new technology is there and right away everyone is using it without regard to any harmful side effects. Actually it’s the exact opposite! GM seeds and foods have been tested over and over again, and are still being tested today to make sure that they are safe for human and animal consumption. And it’s not only the FDA and USDA doing this research, the EPA and WHO are also involved in testing foods all the time to make sure that what we produce is safe. Here are a few of those regulations:


I think the average consumer would be amazed at how much research is truly done before products are given out or sold to the public. The same goes for pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, they are all under a microscope all the time to make sure safety is at its highest level. Maybe the biggest testament to this is the fact that as a farmer, I eat GMO products, my family does the same. I’m glad that we have a choice to eat whatever we like, and farm the way that we want to farm. I also appreciate all the hard work that companies put in to make sure that what we feed our kids is safe. All at the same time I don’t appreciate fear marketing to try to get people to have a bad taste in their mouth when they see GMO on a label, because if they ate what’s in the package, that taste in their mouth would still just be delicious farm grown corn.

Just be mindful that fear is out there and it’s a powerful voice, and I know at least for me, it’s made me always second guess when I see an article bad mouthing a practice that is helping to feed our ever growing population, without even mentioning any of the benefits it can bring.  Also a thanks to the USFRA, it’s nice to know someone is looking out for the best interest of American Agriculture!

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