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Posts Tagged With: family farm

June Jump

It’s the time of year when corn seems to just jump out of the ground.  Although “watching the grass grow” brings to mind thoughts of shear borden, check out these pictures of Anna standing in the corn field.

These pics were taken 8 days apart!  Corn seems to jump out of the ground in June!

No kidding, these images were taken 8 days apart.  The top one, where the corn reaches her waist, was snapped on June 15th.  I took the second, showing leaves several inches above her head, on June 23rd.

I probably should have measured it, but that’s what? Two-ish feet in about a week?

Sweet corn grows quickly too, but most varieties you’d plant in your garden won’t get much taller than 4-5 feet total.  Field corn can be about 7-8 feet tall, depending, so the jump is more impressive.

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This is me by some field corn last year on July 4th.  You can see the tassels on top, so it won’t be growing any taller.

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(Tassels are the wheat-looking stems coming out of the top, btw.)

Maybe seeing corn grow still isn’t what you want to do on a Saturday night.  But it could be a whole lot more interesting than watching paint dry. 😉

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Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Resolve to Learn about Your Food in the New Year

The New Year is a great time to set goals for yourself and if being healthier isn’t something you need to work on, well, that would make you pretty awesome.  For the rest of us, and yeah, that’s me and my family, learning about your food can seem like an overwhelming task.  So I’ll be taking the month of January to break down some of the major concerns about the food you eat.  No diet plan, no supplements to buy, just straight-forward knowledge.

I’m ready to go with posts about:

Before we jump off the deep end, lets stick our toes in with a few facts.

I write about me, my farm, my family.  Every farmer has his own story.

Regardless of how different they may be, 97% of of the farms in the US are owned by families.  Corporations own just 3%.  We are men, women, American Indian, Hispanic, Latino, African American, big, small, organic, conventional, livestock, crop, first generation, fifth generation, moms, dads, children, and grandchildren.

Nothing I could ever write would encompass us all.  What works on my farm won’t help my neighbor.  What is true for my family isn’t the same for a potato grower in Idaho.  And for all the thousands of farmers holding to good old American values there are those who don’t.  But that’s not farmers, that’s people.

In fact I can only think of two things we have in common.  The first is that there are just over 3 million of us in the US.  That’s 2% of the population.  We are a minority.

The second is that we eat.  We eat the food we grow.  We feed it to our children.  The choices we make on our farms are important to us, just like they are to you.

Because there aren’t many of us you might not know a farmer.  Maybe you haven’t been on a farm since you were a kid, or maybe never at all.  There is a 98% chance your family doesn’t grow the food we eat.

My goal is to share what we do and to help you make choices about the food you buy.  I want to show you the decisions we make and why we make them.  And no more than I can tell my neighbor what is best for his farm, I’m not here to tell you what is best for your family.

But knowledge is power.  So resolve to learn about your food in the new year.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m a Farmer and I’m Voting Yes on Amendment 1 Part 2

Follow the Butterflies.  Um, no, that’s not it.  Follow the… paper trail?  I’ve got it!  Follow the money!  If you really want to know what’s going on, follow the money.

In my last post I told you why I’m voting Yes for Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1.  And before I continue I should probably tell you where the money comes from on the “Yes” side.  Here ya go:

Missouri Farmers Care, Missouri Soybeans, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Farm Bureau, MFA Incorporated, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Pork Association,  Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, FCS Financial, Missouri Grocers Association, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, Missouri Dairy Association, MFA Oil, Missouri Egg Council, Missouri Equine Council, HUNTE, Missouri Family Network, MoFed, Missouri Sheep Producers, Southwestern Association, United Producers Inc., Missouri Electric Cooperation, Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, Mo Ag, The Poultry Federation, American Soybean Association, St.Louis Agribusiness Club, Missouri Levee and Drainage District Association, Missouri Association of Meat Producers, United All Breed Registry  

Plus a whole host of private individuals I will not be typing out.

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Gerkes own a vineyard and winery and they will be voting Yes on Amendment 1!

Want to know who is supporting the “No” side?  I like this graphic.

Vote Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

But HSUS? Aren’t they the Human Society of the United States?  Don’t they help puppies or something?

According to their own financial report HSUS took in $169,900,291 in 2013.  Again, according to their own report they helped118,328 animals.  Sound odd yet?

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

This Future Farmer of America will be voting Yes (or at least her parents will!).

Almost 6 million went to “management and general,” and 25 million went to more fundraising.  Just under 55 million went to advocacy and public policy!  That’s one third of their budget, in case you forgot your calculator.  And what are they advocating for?

The end of puppy mills, they say.  The end of factory farming.

But if you follow the work they’ve done you’ll see it’s much more than that.  They want to be rid of farming all together.

Don’t believe me?  Then take it from the horse’s mouth.  In a speech in 2006 the vice president of farm animal issues said “We don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed… unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of waiting until we have the opportunity to get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry.”

The director of Animal Cruelty Policy (that thing they spend 55 million a year on) once said “My goal is the abolition of animal agriculture.”

HSUS isn’t a human society that takes care of abandoned kittens.  Last year they sent about 1 million dollars to local animal shelters.  Out of nearly 170 million.  They are a lobbying organization with millions to spend– against farmers.

So that’s where the money leads you.  And maybe, if you thought the wording was too open ended or the proposed amendment was too extreme, maybe you’ll understand where we as family farmers are coming from.

Maybe you’ll support us.

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Kelleys raise cattle on their family farm. They are voting Yes!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Hursts are a muli-generational farm family whose grandkids love helping in the greenhouses. They are all voting Yes!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

Help make sure this little guy can come back to 8 Story Farms someday, join his family in voting Yes!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

The Gregorys are voting Yes on August 5th as well!

Family Farmers are voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1

This little guy is already planning to come back to the Whitt family farm, so his parents will be voting Yes!

 

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m a Farmer and I’m voting Yes on Amendment 1

I stand to benefit from Missouri’s constitutional amendment 1.  I know that.  What you might not know is that you will benefit too.

I just finished reading dozens of articles saying that we don’t need excess legislation, farmers are fine, agriculture shouldn’t be afforded special rights, and by the way, if you farm with your brother or father and have an LLC you’re probably a bad guy anyway.

My favorite so far was a comment on Facebook by a lady telling me I should take some time and learn how food in our state is produced.

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri’s Constitutional Amendment 1

Indeed.

But in all seriousness, why has agriculture suddenly lit up your Facebook feed?

The ballot amendment itself is short and sweet.  It reads: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?

So what are people worked up about?

This farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

This is the Chinn family, hog farmers in Missouri who will be voting Yes!

Well, some say its about Chinese ownership of farms in Missouri.  I think many of us would prefer Missouri businesses to stay in the hands of Missourians, but unfortunately this is an entirely separate ballot issue.  But the Chinese are already here and in this regard, Right to Farm will change nothing that isn’t already happening.  Make no mistake.  This really isn’t about China.

This farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

The Brays farm row crops and cattle in Missouri. They are voting Yes!

Others are really concerned about “big ag.”  Huge corporations who care nothing about the environment could run amuck with this free license to earn a profit however they like.  So consider this.  Ever since the Civil War federal law has superseded state law.  Farmers, organic and conventional, small and large, moral and unethical, still abide by The Clean Air and Water Acts.  Plus the actual constitutional language states that farmers and ranchers are “subject to duly authorized powers.”  It’s not about the environment.

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

This girl’s family knows the importance of ag. The Browns will be voting Yes!

On the other hand many are worried about the “little guy.”  They say this will do nothing to protect the small farmer.  On the contrary.  The language was specifically chosen so that anyone earning more than $1000 annually is covered.  That’s a pretty small “little guy.”

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

The Cope family is voting yes! They are ranchers in MO.

And then there is the issue of being vague.  To clarify, here is the constitutional language.

That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy.  To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in the is sate, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”

A few years ago a county in Missouri tried to stop farmers from running equipment after 10:00 PM because it was “noisy.”  The case went through several layers of litigation before being resolved.

My farm family is voting Yes on Missouri's Constitutional Amendment 1

The Durhams are row crop farmers and they are voting Yes on August 5!

But what next?  Can you predict what crazy will look like?  I’m grateful for the protection and you should be too.  Here’s why.

Remember how I said you would benefit from Amendment 1 too?  Lots of people don’t get that.  They see this as unnecssary.  They wonder why farming deserves the same rights as speech or bearing arms.

I guess I believe eating is a fundamental right.

This farm family is voting Yes on Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1!

The Riekhofs are voting Yes!

I don’t remember it but I’ve heard healthcare was a different world before doctors worried about being sued constantly.  Before malpractice insurance hit the roof and prices sky rocketed.  Before everything a doctor did was measured against what a lawyer could do with it.

That day and age is coming for agriculture.  Actually it’s here.

This farm family is voting Yes on the Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1!

Her parents are voting Yes to give her the chance to stay on the Hackmann family farm if she wants to.

What will a world full of red-tape and insurance premiums look like for you?  Money.  Scarcity.  Sort of what health care looks like today.

Yes, I want my kids to come back to the family farm in 20 years if they like.  I want my husband to do the work he is passionate for.  I want to look out my window at the amber waves of grain and the fresh cut corn stalks.  But mostly I want to feed those kids, my husband, even the world.

This isn’t about China, or big ag, or little guys.  It’s about food security.  And I’m voting Yes.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

A Farmer’s Gamble

This is our wheat field.

A farmer's gamble

There are different ways to grow wheat, but on our farm we plant it in the fall when the wheat has a chance to germinate and grow just a little before the cold weather sets in.  During the coldest months wheat hibernates and then with the first rays of spring sun the little sprouts are ready to green up again.

Or they’re supposed to.

 

The reality of this year was the POLAR VORTEX.  Snow flurries began just days after the wheat was planted and the spring sun, well, we’re still not sure its around to stay.

Which means an entire wheat crop has been lost.

A farmer's gamble

We brought out an agronomist and the insurance adjuster to look at the fields.  Both pointed out that, besides the bare spots where no wheat is even growing, the plants that are growing are not healthy and only a third will develop wheat berries.  Of that third almost all are developing wheat heads that are growing sideways instead of straight up.  That means they won’t pollinate well, loosing another third of whatever crop we might have had.  Then there is the matter of the plants being small and stunted, meaning the combine won’t be able to pull the crop into its reel and we’ll loose even more grain.

The end result was estimated to be less than 2 bushel of wheat per acre.

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Yeah.  That’s about the same as nothing.

Thankfully we will be able to kill the wheat (the lingo is “burn” the wheat) and go ahead and plant beans in those fields.  It will hurt most where we planned for a wheat harvest in June so we could repair terraces in the summer.  Beans won’t be harvested until after repair work is over, meaning these fields will wait another year.

A farmer's gamble

But farming has always been a risky business and we knew that before we planted wheat last fall, or before we planted crops the previous spring, and even before we ever began to farm at all.  Every year is uncertian; every crop is just hope.

Every day is a gamble for a farmer.

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

The View from Here

A harvested field {DaddysTractor.com}

Yesterday the harvest crew descended on the field around our house.

This is now my front yard.

Could be a whole lot worse. 🙂

Categories: Family | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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