It is nice to have farmers praised instead of vilified as is happening more and more. The problem, as we see it, is the fact that more and more of the population has no direct knowledge of farming or farmers and in their infinite superior wisdom feel they need to instruct the lowly, ignorant farmer so they don’t strip the land of all it’s nutrients and abuse their animals. This is tongue in cheek of course because a lot of people do know that farmers are not ignorant and instead are highly educated individuals that strive to responsibly produce food to feed our country and many people around the world. They do so with the the knowledge they have acquired through experience, education, and ongoing schooling to learn the latest techniques. Most of the farmers around here have bachelors degrees from college and I know quite a few that have advanced masters and Dr. degrees so dumb they are NOT.
I always am surprised at the impression that farmers abuse their animals and strip the land of it’s nutrients. Now think about this for a minute. Why would we as farmers/ranchers risk the things that we either sell for our income or use to grow crops that we sell for our income. Farmers need income too. If the land is not taken care of or the animals abused it will directly effect the livelihood of the farmer and they are just not going to do this.
Movies and television promote the idea that the farmer doesn’t know what he is doing and just look at the pickup and tractors they use in these ads or movies. Most came from the 1950s and no one I know use equipment that old or outdated unless they have fixed it up to drive in parades.
Most farmers I know really do care for their animals, even the ones that they know will end up being meat on someone's table. Every farmer/rancher I know will get up in the middle of the night to care for his animals, load and haul them to the veterinarian if they are sick and protect them from weather problems. The care of the animals come first before the farmer can rest.
Farmers do work long hours – not a 9 to 5 job for sure. There is lots of physical labor and lots of “brain” labor too. Farmers have to know what chemicals to use, how much, when to apply etc. They need to know what the nutrition is in the food stuffs their animals are eating and find out if they are getting what they need to live and grow and what supplements they need to have a well balanced diet. Farmers have to know how to run and fix their very expensive machinery which include many modern computerized concepts. I still have a hard time believing we have a tractor that will drive itself with the GPS unit installed in it. John rides along to watch the gauges and to turn at the end of each pass so it can drive itself to the other end of the field.
Being a farmer and farm family is one of the best lifestyles around despite the long hours and hard work. We get to raise our children to learn the value of hard work and the rewards of learning as they grow. We get to help plants and animals grow and we depend on mother nature to help us along. I love living on a farm as we have neighbors that help when needed and will come if you call but we all respect each others privacy too.
Fresh air, blue skies and living with mother nature every day….perfect.