Saturday, July 28, 2012

Barley Loaves

Our readings at church this weekend suggest much to us as farmers and as fathers. Our society has gotten so far from the basics of life of providing for our families and sharing with others I can see why most people would never read this. Even if they read it, they surely would not understand. Is that the difference between believers and non-believers?

We are blessed with many "barley loaves" this year. We can take care of our own and take care of many others, too. So few people work in raw food production now that is difficult to say how many people one farmer feeds.

"The amount of people that a farmer feeds is dependant upon the crop he is growing and how many acres he has of it. For example, a farmer that has 30,000 acres of potatoes is going to feed a lot more people than a farmer that has 1 acre of kohlrabi. Also, a farmer with an acre of potatoes will feed a lot more people than a farmer with that same acre of kohlrabi. I mean, how much kohlrabi do you eat? (Or okra or huckleberries or other random, more rare fruits and veggies?)

The general rule of thumb that is used is that:
~According to the National Cattleman's Beef Association, advanced technology allows one farmer can currently feed 129 people. In 1960, one farmer fed 25 people.
~According to Today's Farmer, America’s farmers are the world’s most productive. Today, each U.S. farmer produces food and fiber for 143 people in the United States and abroad."

A good blogger links his stories to past blogs. I sometimes do that but it is easy to search my blog with key words like I did here.

Farming employs so many more people because it takes so much transportation and processing to take the raw food from the farm to the many foods we enjoy at home or away from home. Six to seven jobs have been created from one farmers work. It could be more.

We have so much here it is difficult to share pictures of our bounty with our friends around the world who suffer from drought or flood. This fact has created some tension on Ag Talk and even between neighbors. Timing is everything in farming and it surely was this year just as in biblical times when they wondered how in the world is five or twenty barley loaves going to feed this mass of people?

It all comes down to my faith and my demonstration of faith through my work. Blessed are those who see and believe but so blessed are those who have not seen yet believe! Those are my words from my experience as you can well tell.

That adds more meaning to the glass half full or half empty, doesn't it?

Ed

6 comments:

  1. Or rather how many golf courses does one Oregon farmer reseed?

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  2. Ah, barley. I go through a few pounds of pearl barley every year (just like okra ^-^), either for soups or as a substitute for rice in a vegetarian lentil and barley dish of my own making.

    The Jewish tradition says that they had both the starch-rich 2-row barley and the more protein-rich 6-row barley in ancient times. The only barley people eat nowadays is in beer and whiskey. Loaves Out Load...

    I had tasty whole bere barley shortbread in the Orkney islands once, one of the few places where they still grow this ancient grain.

    Don't believe everything Today's Farmer says though. Even for corn, where the USA is supposed to excel, they came only as #11 in 2009 and #15 in 2010 for productivity.
    http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=567#ancor
    (World > (List) + 2010 + Maize + Yield + unshow empty rows)

    And most of what American farmers grow cannot be used to feed humans, it's mostly animal food.
    Granted they do come first for highly mechanized starchy vegetables like the potato you mentioned, not so much so for other vegetables, but still in the top ten lead for many.

    Talking of potatoes, have you tried using Pringles instead of nitrogen in your fields? I am told it makes an excellent guanomole.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ve_7sH_5yg

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  3. Chimel, that sure wound you up! David, I don't know what to say about you!:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh well, I try to document my answers as you do your blog.
    And I don't believe the FAO stats entirely for that matter.
    I wonder how they compute the yield when several crops are grown on the same plot of land, and how it affects the cross-country comparisons.

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