Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trying to stay cool

Since I had very little exposure to agriculture before meeting farmer-husband, my initial response to his profession was, “COOL! A farmer!” And to this day, my response is the same, but for totally different reasons.
At first, farming seemed nostalgic to me, as if I were stepping back in time. I thought farmers were simple people who lived life at a leisurely pace while chewing on a piece of wheat. Boy, was I wrong!

Since the beginning of time, mankind has had to work the ground and labor and toil and sweat in order to produce enough food and fiber from which to survive. It has only been in the last 100 years that farming in America has lost its position as the number one industry. We are no longer a 3rd world country- thanks to advances in technology and in the areas of pesticides and fertilizers. The addition of these chemicals to modern agricultural practices allowed people to move away from their farms and live in the city, advance their education, and work in offices, factories, schools, and hospitals. Farmers were suddenly able to not only provide more for their families, but also for their communities and then their country, and now the world. The goal of farmers was no longer their family’s survival, but provision for others. Conventional American farmers today continue to strive to provide a safe, affordable and abundant food and fiber supply to our country and to the world. Anyone who has lived or worked on a farm, or ever known a farmer can attest to the hard work, dedication, and sometimes blind faith that it requires to produce a viable crop.

More and more I am noticing how popular the words “farm”, “plantation”, and “country” are becoming. I did a short search online just recently for blogs containing the word “farm” in the title. I was looking for other gals like myself, who blog about farm life, or who are married to farmers, or who believe in promoting American agriculture as I do. I found plenty of blogs that have “farm” in the title…but very few that were about a real farm. I realized then that the word “farm” conjures up a warm fuzzy feeling for a lot of people, and therefore they name their house on five acres a “farm.” They think they live on a “farm” when really they just enjoy gardening and have a few yard chickens. They have taken a word that should be synonymous with hard-working men and women who provide the food and fiber for our country and used it to mean a quaint little grassy knoll owned by a city-slicker who has never actually stepped foot on a working farm.

I wonder how easy it would be to get “farm” copyrighted?

So now when I tell people I live on a farm, or that my husband is a farmer, it takes a few minutes of conversation for people to realize that I actually mean a REAL FARM--the kind that grows crops on a large scale; the kind that has the really big tractors; the kind that we all rely on to survive.

Pretty cool, huh?


The Cotton Wife said...


Super Maw Maw said...

You are absolutely right about our thoughts of farms being nostalgic...I completely agree. Like I've always said....I'm a farmer in my own mind.....kind of like when I watched the winter olympics, I thought I could ice skate.

Amy H said...

BUT! It is important to realize that there are those of us who DO have a house on five acres and rightfully call it farming because we have so many animals,and we are producing food for more local families than our own. What else would it be called? There are different models besides large scale farming. There is a huge movement toward small scale, sustainable, local agriculture and farming. There's more than one way to skin a cat! So, please, respect those of us who do have husbands who work full time in the city, run a small farm whenever we can, and provide for others. Just because we weren't fortunate enough to marry into large scale farming doesn't make it less important or significant in our hearts and lives! Love ya!

Tracie said...

Amy, I really appreciate your comment. I am currently working on a blog that addresses a lot of what you mentioned. You are absolutely correct in that there is a large movement toward small scale, local agriculture. But in a world where 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night and food production has to double in the next 50 years to accommodate for the world's population growth, large scale commercial food production is essential. While we recognize that what we do is not part of the "movement" that you mentioned, we believe that that movement is a personal choice that a lot of Americans can afford to make. But the people of the world cannot survive off of that movement. We are very proud to contribute to the food and fiber that the US and the rest of the world has to have to survive.
I realize that because we derive our entire income from Agriculture we will have a different perspective on all of these things than people who don't. Again, I really appreciate your comment and recognize that your family works very hard at what you do and that you are very committed to it. Love ya too!

Tracie said...
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