Monday, July 9, 2007

Little known farmer facts...

For my first post, I want to give everyone a little bit of learnin bout how important farmers are to our American lifestyle of health and wealth. Most of my facts come from the American Farm Bureau webpage; the National Ag in the Classroom webpage; and the Future Farmers of America webpage.
  • The United States provides food at a lower cost, as a percentage of income, than any other country in the world. We produce sufficient surplus to be the nations leading exporter.
  • The United States produces 46% of the world's soybeans, 41% of the world's corn, 20.5% of the world's cotton and 13% of the world's wheat.
  • There are 2.19 million farms in the United States.
  • Individuals, family partnerships or family corporations own 99% of U.S. farms with fewer than 10 stockholders. Non-family corporations own only 0.4% of America's farms and ranches.
  • The American Farmer feeds an average of 130 people. In 1960, he only fed 26!!!!
  • The hourly rate for the average American farmer is about $0.90 per hour.
Can you believe all of this? Pretty amazing.

Life here on our 1600 acre farm has been an eye-opening experience for me, to say the least. To see 4 men (5 in the summer) get up every morning and drive their truck to a field, get on a tractor for 12 hours, and do this 6 days a week... Now I know why no one is going into this job anymore... it takes too much dedication. Too much hard work. Too much time spent waiting... on rain, on money, on nature to run it's course. My husband has never known any life different from farm life. To him, it isn't nearly as fascinating as I find it. Sure, he knows how fortunate he has been to have grown up in this simple life, but he can never know what it is like to be on the other side! The "non-simple life" is so ordinary. So boring. So predictable. And the funny thing about it all is --- people choose that! Now that I am where I am, doing what I am doing, I cannot possibly imagine living life any different. And we all feel that way about our own lives to an extent, but let me explain further. Out in the country, I see life happening according to life itself. Not what a human has made it into. I see the sun rise and set everyday from my porch or out of my windows. I cannot hear cars driving when I am outside. I see momma turkey's followed by 4 babies walking in the woods. I see 5 different animal tracks in my driveway (raccoon, deer, turkey, dog, fox). I don't have satellite TV or even cable. I don't have high speed internet. My family eats 3 meals a day together at the table. I can't get to a mall without an hour drive. I can see for miles just looking out my back door. And yes, I like living like this.

I plan for this blog to include funny stories, little known facts, and anything else that I think of that is related to life on the farm--I'm doing this for you city folk, who like me at one time, had no idea that there were educated people living out in the country, who actually lived a very interesting and full life!