Outside Looking In

Now it rains?!?

Farmers waited all summer for the skies to break open, allowing rain to hydrate their crops. Now, while they are working hard to get the depleted crops in from the fields, it decided to downpour on Friday night and into Saturday morning so farmers can't get into the fields to continue working.
Some rain gauges in Minneota read 3.5 inches of precipitation this past weekend, I was told.
"We needed this so bad during the summer," said one farmer who stopped into the Mascot to visit with me on Saturday morning. "Isn't it funny that when we start harvesting what crops we do have that it rains so much that we can't get into the field."
Most farmers I talked to feel the same way.
"I got my beans in and wanted to get my corn done today so I could evaluate the harvest," one farmer said. "I've been farming for over 25 years, and I keep track of the harvest every year. We've had some down years, but nothing like this."
People living in the city don't often know about or understand the stress and struggles farmers go through some years, me included. We run to the store and buy milk or bread, never once thinking about what it took to get them on the shelf.
The FFA programs are educational and valuable in high schools. I think it would be even more beneficial for the elementary students to be educated more about agriculture whether they live on a farm or not. I know it would have benefitted me later in life.
Here are six things we should all know about farming and agriculture at a young age, as published by the Agriculture Literacy Foundation.
(1) Agriculture is everything involved with growing plants and animals to be used for something else.
Agriculture includes science, technology, and engineering. It is the genetics work used to improve the seeds and animals that farmers purchase. It is the development, design, production and sale of everything farmers use – tractors, equipment, buildings, fertilizer, and much more. Agriculture includes business. It is the financial and legal aspects of acquiring land and other assets needed to farm. It is the marketing, sales and distribution of the plants and animals produced.
(2) Nearly everything we eat, wear and use comes from a plant or animal raised on a farm. Aside from metal, stone and plastics made from petroleum, nearly everything we use includes something from a plant or animal raised on a farm.
(3) Farming is a job, a way to make money. Young students don't always think of farming as a source of income. Many think farmers raise crops and livestock to feed their own families. They don't realize that farmers sell most or all of what they produce to earn a living.
(4) Farms today are specialized. Years ago, farmers raised a little of everything. They made a good living off 160 acres of crops, a few cows, laying hens and some hogs. They also had a large garden and the farm produced nearly everything the family ate. Farming has changed in recent years. If farmers raise livestock, they usually raise one type. This enables them to acquire facilities, technology, knowledge and skills needed to produce it well.
(5) Farming is high-tech. Farmers use iPads, laptops, drones, robots and more. Many livestock barns have Wi-Fi, webcams, and automated feed and climate control systems. Farmers can monitor a cow in labor or adjust the temperature in a barn from their smart phones. If the power goes out, generators kick in and the farmers is alerted with a text message. This technology enables farmers to be efficient and provide precise care to their animals.
(6) Farmers are problem solvers. They use math often and most are tech savvy. They must have a good business sense to be successful. Seventy percent of farmers have a higher education, including a college diploma or trade/vocational certificate.
One thing I've learned in recent years while writing farm-related stories is that farmers are eternal optimists. Crop yields are expected to be down throughout the state because of the spring and summer drought this year, but farmers still look for the good in a down time.
"Well, we needed the rain even if it's too late to help our crops," the visiting farmer said. "The rivers and lakes are still low, and this rain will help."

Contact Us

The Minneota Mascot
Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492