Author: anonymous

Agvocate or Aggravate?

If you are reading this, it is likely you read other agricultural and farming blogs as well so you may have noticed this “trend” that I will be discussing. There are more and more people writing blogs, social media posts, etc advocating for agriculture (agvocate). While having additional people working to bring awareness to agriculture and farming we need to be careful how we are going about it. I’ve recently noticed a spike in the amount of anger displayed in Blogs, Facebook postings, Tweets, etc. Remember we are trying to Agvocate not Aggravate our audience.

I 100% understand that many times these postings are written in response to something and you are angry, but to the non-farming community you can easily seem like a mean, cruel person with anger issues. This is not how we should be promoting a cause we feel so strongly about. It is due to these strong feelings about our way of life that we allow these emotions to take over our work, but at what cost? I also get fired up when a company/corporation condemns GMO’s or herbicide use, when a politician proposes legislation without understanding the entire impact, when the major news media mostly ignores the wildfires that destroyed so much, but anger isn’t always the best delivery method of your message.

Of course that angry blog post reaches a lot of readers and that video rant posted on Facebook gets a couple thousand views and a few hundred shares, but it is usually the farming community reading and watching these posts, sharing with their friends and families, people that already understand where you are coming from. We as whole, need to do a better job taking a step back and a deep breath before trying to agvocate. As we strive to educate the public about all things ag. related, lets make sure we carry ourselves as professionally as possible so our audience is more likely to listen and understand without believing we are all angry, crazy people.

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Raising Kids on the Farm

I recently saw a Facebook Post written by one of the popular Agvocates (I’m sorry, I can’t remember who it was that wrote it) talking about raising kids on the farm, chores, responsibilities, and allowances.

One of the questions asked was, “Should farm kids get paid to do chores?”. The comments section was exploding with opinions on this topic, answers were landing all over the board. Whether you think they should get paid monetarily or not doesn’t matter to me and each family is different. What I think we can all agree on however, is the lessons learned on the farm will take those kids further in life than some chore money ever will.

I make it no secret that I did not grow up on a farming operation. My father was a police officer, my mother was a paramedic and now a rural route mail carrier. Both were farm kids growing up, we lived on an acreage and I was raised in a manner similar to their own upbringing. We had rocks to pick and weeds to pull, buildings to maintain and construct, groves to clean up, trees to trim, the list goes on for miles and I was expected to pull my own weight. In addition to that some of my closest friends were farm kids were I was always willing to help out when visiting and I spent a considerable amount of time with my Grandparents in the summer on the farm. I learned a lot over the years about what it means to put in a hard days work, taking pride in a job well done, and always finishing a project that gets started.
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I am of the opinion that there is no better up bringing for a kid than on a farm. Children learn early on that everyone has responsibilities and a job to do before fun time begins, how to troubleshoot and fix a problem, working on a budget,how to help each other, and so much more. These traits are not only learned but become engrained in them, traits that shape who they are as a person. Life on the farm teaches so many life skills that it would be impossible to list them all.

These skills and traits stay with a person their whole lives, whether they stay on the farm or not. I spoke to an employer once about the perfect type of employee, he told me that when he is looking over resumes if he spots a candidate that was a member of 4-H or FFA or mentioned growing up on a farm, the resume goes towards the top of the stack. He said in his experiences employees that were raised on a farm have a better work ethic, better problem solving skills, more eager to do a job and do it well, and were almost always great team players.

I think we can all agree we want what is best for our kids and it is this sort of upbringing that can fix part of the troubles in society today. If you are raising a family on the farm I give you a pat on the back. It may not be easy, but in the long haul it will all be worth it in the end.

Mud Slinging

Yesterday I received an email in response to an online advertisement we’ve been running regarding the Agrovantage Crop Management products. This individual wanted a little more information which I gave him. Shortly thereafter I receive a simple one sentence reply, “My fertilizer rep with XYZ (I’ll leave out the company) says your stuff is junk”.

Now while I, multiple growers across all 50 states, and several yield champions would disagree with that statement I knew there was really nothing more to say to this individual as his mind was made. What annoyed me most about the situation is the blantant disrespect from a fellow salesman in the industry. It is unfortunate that this sort of thing happens, and seems to be happening more often, not just to me but industry wide.

I don’t speak for XYZ fertilizer company and I wish they wouldn’t speak for me. The same goes for seed dealers, soil sampling companies, etc. I make it a rule to never bad mouth or sling mud at the competition. However I’m not afraid to tell you that Green tractors are better than red đŸ˜œ

Farmer Ingenuity

It is no secret that farmers may be the most resourceful bunch you’ll ever meet. Sometimes they are just trying to create a quick fix to an issue to get by until a more permanent solution can be done, other times they look at something and figure they can build it themselves cheaper, and yet other times it is just for the enjoyment of doing something themselves.

I recently saw a picture of a 4020 John Deere tractor powered by a Deutz engine (for those who don’t know, in the John Deere world this sort of thing is sometimes considered an unforgivable sin), completely farmer done. Now, I don’t know his reasoning for this project, I imagine it had to do with having a tractor that needed and an engine, and an engine waiting to be put to use, but in any case you have to admire the amount of work done to get the finished product he wanted.
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I even know a couple of guys who have built scrapers for skid loaders out of scrap steel and old rubber tracks for pushing manure or snow. Farmers everywhere have been converting, modifying, and even building machinery to fit their needs. A quick google search will find you multiple home made tractors, tractors linked together, home made attachments, etc. In fact some of these farmer inventions have gone on to be mass produced, not only being sold to bigger manufacturers but also independently.

This ingenuity doesn’t just stop at big machinery, every day farmers find creative ways to solve smaller problems. I know a man who was sick of gates being left open and unlatched by kids and visitors on his livestock farm, he solved this problem by making nearly all his gates on his farm, self-closing and self-latching with the use of some scrap steal and some old springs out of a junk pile. I’ve seen home made wire unwinders to assist in repairing or replacing barbed wire fencing that attached to a tractor, skid loader, ATV, etc. I guarantee you could stop by any farm in America and find at least a couple farmer-built gadgets or gizmos to help make their life easier.

We’d love to hear from you, whats your favorite farm invention, gadget, or thing-ma-jig?

This Old Barn

There is something about America’s old barns that keep me captivated. I don’t know if it is the old architecture, the real dimension lumber, the history, or the smells but I can’t resist exploring these old landmarks dotting the landscape.

It is amazing to me to think that 100+ years ago family and friends came together to build these important buildings, some times before the farm home was even built. Hand sawn, hand nailed, and without the advantage of cranes, telehandlers, and other modern equipment.

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One of my favorite barns is the old “horse barn” at the farm where my mother was raised. Not only did countless animals take shelter in that big barn but it was an intergal part of the lives of 5 generations with the 6th generation just getting old enough to show interest. It has been in the family since it was first built so many years ago. A walk through that barn is like a step into the past, built by Irish immigrants with repairs and changes made throughout the course of time to suite the needs of the current generation of farmers. Today it stands tall, with new tin on the front and sides and mostly used for storage, and as a tribute to those who worked the ground before us.

Preseverving these old barns is as important to me as teaching our kids history in school. They all have their own unique story to tell. Some of those stories are of heartbreak and tragedy and some of pure joy. Not only do I urge you to go explore an old barn if given the chance but go talk to the oldest member of the family about it. You may learn more than you ever dreamt you would.

#Harvest16 Photo-Recap

Late this past fall we asked our Facebook Followers to submit some #Harvest16 pictures. We had submissions from all over the U.S. We figured with all the wintery gloom now was a good time to put them all together for you. Thanks to all who submitted!

Elephants or Donkeys?

The end is in sight, at least I think it is. Yes, I’m talking about the election, the day that we find out how many people lied about moving to Canada. I know just about everyone is ready for this to be over and sick and tired of the election that has been dragging on for what seems like an eternity.

I was very recently asked, “Are you voting for the Elephants or Donkeys this year?”. I admit it took me a second to understand the question, Republican or Democrat, Right or Left. Well as I stood there wondering how I was going to get myself out of yet another pointless political debate, where neither side agrees, and just gets irritated, the answer struck me like a 2×4 across the head. I replied “Elephants or Donkeys? I think I’ll just stick with cows”