Farmer mind reading
What is going through the deep, dark recesses of a farmer’s mind? After all, there is a lot to think about, worry about, and feel blessed about. The topics are going to range as far as the mind can stretch. But at this point in time, we might listen in on a few thoughts to understand the complexity of agriculture and how it can totally bollix one’s day or bring on a smile.
With sunshine and warmer temperatures, the farmer mind is opening as wide as the machine shed door. Sunlight replaces shop lights on the new planter attachments, designed to put a kernel of seed exactly where it is needed, 38,000 times in each acre, at speeds approaching 10 miles per hour. Memories of skinned knuckles, bumped heads, and sore backs on hard concrete paid for the new equipment. Now, it better work. Profitability depends on it, along with being able to go to the grocery store next winter.
Kicking some soil around, finding moisture, and a 50-degree reading on the soil thermometer means planting is approaching; and that spawns thoughts of long days, fueled by adrenaline and much cheaper diesel fuel than in many recent planting seasons. No planting this week. The soil is too cool, and seed is too expensive for cold, wet storage. Forecasts for multiple inches of rain may jeopardize the vitality of seed in a multiple hundred dollar bag.
For the past several days markets have ended green. That color has not been seen for a long time, and red closes at the end of the trading session had pulled hard on the heart, the mind, the bank account, and family happiness. Yes, grouchiness goes along with bearishness in the market. But last week’s rally in both corn and beans, and a continuation this week can give someone hope that the market can be friendly. After all, market prices have done more to destroy the psychological welfare of farmers than anything else. If the market goes as low as the fund managers are betting, the agricultural safety net better be strong.
Something has to give. The world is awash in grain. South America is harvesting record crops, and here we are, planting again and contributing more to the surplus. Why can’t there be a weather issue, but on someone else’s crop, of course? Prices now are less than it costs to produce a crop. The farm manager and the landlord refused to lower the rent more than $5 an acre this year. Maybe I should have told them to find someone else to farm it. But then, what would I be doing this year?
There are so many things working against agriculture right now, it is going to be tough to get the demand up for grain and raise the market price. The government negotiates a trade deal to increase exports, and opponents are lobbying hard against it. They are going to start putting GMO labels on food, and then no one will buy it. No one has died in the past 20 years that we’ve been growing GMO’s and making food products out of it, what is the big deal now?
And this election really has me worried. It is not which candidate will help agriculture the most. I’ll have to vote for whom ever is going to hurt farmers the least. Oh, well, maybe someone will change when they get hungry and realize we’re here feeding the voters.
Oh, my. I have been daydreaming too long. The sun is almost up and I have not gotten anything done yet this morning. My mind wanders just too much about nothing. I need to get focused. Let’s see what the good book says about today…
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