While waiting in the doctor’s office recently, just out of curiosity, I picked up a Farmers magazine. Wow, I knew there were lots of changes in agriculture, but it goes way beyond my expectations. I would challenge the CEO of many of the big companies to have the knowledge and knowhow required of today’s farmers: machinery, marketing, quality of seeds, planting, harvesting and weather.
Today’s farmer does indeed wear many hats with a lot of smarts inside of it. No, I won't go into it because though some things I realize and understand, it was way over my head. I've always said how the farmer goes, so goes the world and now I know that is even truer than I thought.
Being a successful farmer has changed a great deal over the years. When farmers first settled in Southern Minnesota, most farms were just 80 acres as that was all the pioneer farmers could take care of. Farmers in the early 20th century were more diverse than today. They raised lots of different crops - corn, oats, wheat and barley. They also cared for many varied animals. Everyone milked cows, as well as raised hogs. The women also cared for animals, as they raised chickens and other poultry and many sold their eggs or exchanged them for groceries.
The women also did their share of spring planting. They had large gardens full of potatoes, carrots, lettuce, radishes, beans, onions, pumpkins, strawberries, etc. This year I am seeing more vegetable gardens being planted than I have observed in the past, perhaps for economy, or health reasons.
As machinery developed, farmers started working their land with machinery instead of horses and farms increased in size. As the years went by, many chose to find other means of earning a living and left the farms their families once occupied. Farms were bought up by the "die-hard farmers." Price and necessity of large machinery dictates the need for large amounts of acreage needed to offset those costs.
Many now just raise corn and soybeans. One doesn't often see farmers raising crops and still milking cows or raising cattle and hogs. Instead we see long buildings housing chickens, turkeys and swine as opposed to the small amounts once raised on diversified family farms.
Driving along our country roads, we are treated to artwork of the biggest kind. It would be hard to duplicate those rows of corn and beans that seem to go on forever in large fields, straight and green.
The landscape has changed, fewer fences and farm sites. Farming has a completely different look about it.
Patches of small grains, ground cover, hay lands, and ribbons of grass along waterways all contribute to the beauty of the land. The colors are patches of different fields like giant piece quilts accented by monstrous machines.
In the late 1800s, about 90 out of every 100 Americans were farmers. Today, the number has shrunk to two out of every 100.
Becoming a successful farmer today requires a great deal of educational preparation, knowledge of advanced technology and business skills. Farming is big business and many farmers today have gone on to learn about the business and practice of agriculture through advanced training programs at colleges and universities. The country doctor today is the veterinarian who has put in as many or more years of special training to treat varied species of animal injuries and diseases.
Take time to salute the farmer. Their expertise feeds the world. They must weigh all the pros and cons, gamble on weather year round, cherish and care for the soil for its increasing worth. Agriculture is the foundation of manufacture and commerce — and ever growing faith in God and his banker.
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, June 12th: Nancy Ver Hey, Hanna Gail Crabtree, John Wallace, Charlotte Hill, Grant Pavek, Keith & Teresa McDonald, Ryan & Amanda (Reese) Beavens and Ron & Julie Peterson
• Friday, June 13th: Steve & Rhonda Christensen, Fran & Fred Kenady, Marilyn & Gary Ulland, Keith & Kristin Hamberg, Kaden Jon Homuth, Cory Donald Haberman, Brent Reese, Ray Otteson, Tira Vangen, Corey Haberman, Tristan Richards, and Gary Jepson
• Saturday, June 14th: Camille Marjean Dunlap, Summer Stieglbauer, Herb Moon, Kelly Wacek, David Broskoff, James Deml, Obert Osmundson Jr., Richard Peterson, Mitchell Kubat and Michael & Stacy Keith
• Sunday, June 15th: Dale & Nadine Strenge, Dale & Marlene Peterson, DeWayne Hagen, James Bremer, Dale Anderson, Jennifer Robertson, Kathy Jensen, Kim Nelson, Logan Vietze and Ovanna Haried
• Monday, June 16th: Andren Richard Aaseth, Aven Leo Aaseth, Emily Otto, Bethany Otto Mikesell, Doug Smith, Lorraine Wallace, Vonda Humburg, Kenny Evenson, Kari Ingvaldson, Chase Boehme, Heather (Crabtree) & Keith Krenke, Rochelle (Butler) & Brent Chapman, Tracy & Paul Marcus, Richard & Becky Axmann, Kim (Anderson) & Rich Schneider and Dale & Marlene Peterson
• Tuesday, June 17th: Kimberly & Mike Luhring, Jim & Jeanne Worrell, Tiffany (Moon) & Josh Krueger, Natalie Jean Aaseth, Jim Hohansee, Eric Tobiason, Joshua Churchill, Aaron Casterton, Matthew Xavier, Tim Butler, Chase Hanson, and Anna Kay Hardyman.
• Wednesday, June 18th: Keturah Katherine Mae Gassmann, Brett Hagen, Dennis O'Neil, Dave Lieberg, Marie Dobberstein, Marvin Enzenauer, Bonnie Nelson, Krysti Cameron, Margo & Milton Wayne, Wayne & Diane Jensen, Greg & Linda Pavek, Brad & Tammy Thompson, Kathy (Barnett) & Chad Peterson, Amy & Brady Jensen, (2011)
Wishing you a very special day blooming with warm and happy memories!