Monday, January 7, 2013
Death and Tractors
She was 7 years younger than dad and died 12 years later to the day. They both lived good lives, all of the siblings lived good lives. She took care of her husband Jim, then took care of the 3 sisters she lived with in Florida. Then she cared for her daughter and grandson until they had to take care of her. She ended up at Otterbein, the nicest nursing home around her last few years.
A farmer asked what tractor do you pull a 6 row corn planter with. It was a lively discussion on Machinery Talk 2 days ago. A younger friend wrote me this; "Well, I don’t feel so alone!! What is ironic is most of these guys are very smart folks and probably are more efficient/profitable per acre than the BTO’s!! I am some what disappointed that they don’t come out of the woodwork too often. I would much rather read posts about guys trying to figure out how to take 2013 technology and adapt it to work with simple older reliable equipment than to read 15 posts about which is the better semi to buy or where to find a chrome exhaust for brand new tractor or who makes the biggest bestus planter."
I am reminded that over 90% of the commodities are now produced by less than 10% of the farmers or farm operations. We are in a minority within our own minority! This even came up at dinner after the funeral. My family doesn't care for big farms, GMO's or the lack of small, independent farms. But that's the way it's went in America. Big Agribusiness is big and we few small farmers left are truly a minority within our own minority.
My family often asks me what is going on in farming since I am the last one left of a long line of farmers. Our oldest, Matt, is doing a little farming while teaching agricultural science but it's not enough to support his family. The number of families left where all of the family work on that farm is very, very small.
One friend of the family told me her husband is actually afraid to eat the food available in America! He thinks genetically modified food and spraying glyphosate on all of the crop ground is not good for America or our health. Many people fit in that category but there is little they can do about it. The love the advent of farmers markets and subscribing to a farmer to get their summer produce but that's very incidental still, compared to big agriculture and what we buy at the store and the restaurant.
Male, white, agriculture represents a dying breed! I am one of them. Will we survive? Where will our food come from in just 90 years, the length of Aunt Jane's life?