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/

Still Learning…

I know that I have touched on this before, but it’s something that for me I never knew until I become a year round full time farmer.  I truly believed that farmers did what they have always done because they have always done it.  And for some things that is true, the tradition that you have with farming families runs deep.  But I think there is a strong tradition of innovation and learning that comes along with that, one which gets overlooked many times.  As a farmer many times I feel caught between this old fashioned view that people have of the management of our farms, and this forward thinking industry that I’m living and breathing.

Last Friday I wrote about how farmers are always learning and continuing their education.  And yes, as I was called out on Facebook for writing that blog during a meeting, but I only missed 10 seconds of the speech I promise! 🙂

During the winter there are many decisions to make.  Many times planning comes into play, and since we grow more than just corn and soybeans out here (Oregon grows as many as 250 different crops!) it’s not just about planting timing and budgeting for one or two crops.  It’s figuring out rotations that work, ones that don’t work, budgeting for crops and trying to foresee what could come up with each one.  And with all of that, going to meetings this time of year is essential to keeping up with what is happening in our industry.  Helping with everything from business and labor decisions to what crops to plant and how to manage them.

Just last week I attended a meeting hosted by Oregon State University.  They were talking about availability of certain chemistries that we have relied on in year’s past, what our options will be this spring and how to manage those decisions.  They also touched on varieties of spring wheat to plant, pros and cons of each.  And as we are looking at about 130 acres of spring wheat to plant in just a month this was imperative information.  And in many of these meetings we also talk about what are ways to do more with less, what are the timings of applications that make them do the best they can for your crop, etc.

This winter I will also be attending an AgChat convention up in Portland.  This is just another part of moving our farm closer (via social media) to our urban neighbors and learning more about what they want to know about us farmers out here in the country.  Being a farmer only just 30 miles from Portland, it interests me to know what I can do with social media to make my story heard by more people, and let people know what we are doing out here on the farm and that we’re proud of how we take care of our land and soil.

So like any industry, including medicine and computers, we have to be keeping up with the times and moving our business practices and farming practices forward.  Whether it be new tools to help keep our fields growing stronger, new marketing techniques and ways to reach our customers, or new GPS technology that allows us to do more with less.  Anymore it’s not just about putting a piece of straw in your mouth, throwing on a straw hat and working the back 40.  We put the piece of straw in our mouth, put on our straw hat and use GPS to drive our tractor for us now on the back 40…small but significant difference.  And in all aspects, it’s learning constantly and moving forward with all the changes that will keep us viable and farming many more generations to pass on those strong held family traditions of blood, sweat, tears and dirt.

%d bloggers like this: