We are finally getting a bit of the white stuff. We need the moisture badly. All the farm and ranch talk is about the drought. Hay prices are through the roof. There have actually been reports of hay theft because of the high price and low supply. It seems all the commodities are high-priced. This is good for the farmer if he was able to actually get a crop but it was pretty difficult to do this year. It is very sad to see corn fields in September that have not grown up much and have been chopped early for feed. It is sad because you know that means someone did not have a good year. I hate to see that.
I may not agree with everyone’s method in getting crops to grow but I do sympathize with everyone’s struggle to make ends meet. And here is where I may make some folks cringe. On both sides of the fence. I would prefer if everyone used organic methods to farm with, but I understand conventional farming as well. For so long our country has been coached that technology is always an improvement and we see higher production and yields on fields that use conventional methods. Now that being said I don’t think we’ve been able to see/understand the consequences of conventional farming. There just hasn’t been enough data over a long enough time period. I think that is where we are headed and probably why there is a push back toward organic methods. As a whole we are starting to see evidence of the results of the chemicals etc used in conventional methods.
My thoughts are just this though. Thoughts. Nothing scientific. No research to back it up etc. It is totally anecdotal. Just my basic observations as I read the paper in an area that is almost exclusively supported by conventional agriculture and read my other side of the fence publications from around the country. I see Joe Blow from down the street at the coffee shop or driving down the road and I know he needs to make a living and support his family. I also know that I want my family to be able to live next door to his corn fields without worrying about the stuff he’s putting on the field. It is a tough position to be in. For both of us. I’m sure he doesn’t want his family ingesting the chemicals and all that end up on most fields but he needs to make enough money at harvest time to make sure those debts are paid and his family is supported.
So what does a person do? I for one buy organic when I can afford it or feel justified in spending that much more money for something. I also try to support the local guy. If I can find local and organic all that much better. That can be hard to do on things like wheat or corn. It wasn’t as difficult in Montana. In fact I used to work with a guy who’s family farm had switched to all organic and had become certified. It was interesting talking to him about the yield differences and the process of going from conventional farming or becoming a certified organic farm. Quite the process.
Anyway, back to what I try to do for our family. I try to buy fresh, local, organic produce if possible but I won’t drain my bank account. When I grow my own garden I use almost only organic methods. I will attack slugs with not exactly organic methods. I go for a variety of methods. Partly when I garden I can’t afford all the crazy chemicals that are for sale to put on a garden. Good old elbow grease works for pulling weeds, compost works for fertilizer, and living with a few holes in your lettuce or other produce works for dealing with pests. I like using ducks and would like to use chickens as well for controlling pests.
I’m not sure what got me going this morning. Oh yeah. Snow. Needed moisture. And a random thought, I’ve become a bit of the proverbial “hippie.” I’m okay with that. I’d like our world to be a better place and be able to sustain itself instead of self-destruct. I don’t like to think about life with a doomsday in mind though so I try not to get too worked up over any of it. I just do what I can to change my little corner of the world with whatever I’m comfortable with.