Archive for the ‘Farm Friday’ Category

Farm Friday: Sharing Our Stories

We’re in the thick of harvest around here and that means Little C (my daughter) has been able to ride in the combine, tractor, and truck nearly every day for the past few weeks. It’s a good time for her to see her dad, grandpa, and uncle since they are working long days and don’t have as much down time in the evenings right now.

She and I were riding in the combine with my dad a week or so ago and he made a comment that stuck with me. He said, “Here she is, only 18 months old, and already knows more about combining corn than half of the population.” The more I thought about it, the more I realized he made an interesting point. Little C knows what combines and tractors are. She can tell me the difference between corn and beans. This is only her second harvest, although I did ride in the combine while I was pregnant with her so I suppose, technically, it’s her third ūüôā

She's actually driving the tractor in the field. I thought it would be a few more years before I had to worry about her being behind the wheel!

She’s actually driving the tractor in the field. I thought it would be a few more years before I had to worry about her being behind the wheel!

On Monday we had the fun opportunity to show some little boys what we do on the farm. One of my friends has an almost two-year-old who loves trucks and tractors, and we worked it out for her to bring him and friend out to ride along. We had such a great time showing the boys the tractors and letting them ride through the field. One of them even fell asleep in the tractor! She told me they talked all the way home about being farmers someday.

She often asks me questions about agriculture and why we do some of the things we do on the farm, and I’m happy to answer the best I can. It’s important for us in ag to take advantage of these “teachable moments” to share our stories with people who don’t have a personal connection to the farm – which is a good percentage of the population. Most people have questions about their food and want answers – and they’ll take them from anywhere that seems credible. That’s why so many believe what people like Dr. Oz say without a second thought.

I saw this video today and it made me laugh, but also scared me just a little. Jimmy Kimmel asked random people on the street what they thought about GMOs. Their answers didn’t surprise me at all.

Jimmy Kimmel GMOs

We need to be proactive about sharing what we do and why we do it. People are looking for answers, and the majority will listen and try to understand, if we just become part of the conversation.

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Farm Friday: Aerial Applicators

So I’ve been tossing the idea for this blog around in my head for a few months, and finally decided I just needed to jump right in.

And with that, I’m writing my first post on something I’ve seen a lot of lately: aerial applicators. Some may call them crop dusters. The little yellow airplanes flying over cornfields, piloted by people who have a lot more guts than I ever will.

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It fascinates me to watch these planes do their work. Flying low over the fields, then rising up quickly to loop around and back down again. I’m not the only one… the guy driving the SUV at 40 mph in front of me on my way home from work today was a little distracted watching them, too.

The last few days the planes have been out in full force here in central Illinois, applying fungicide. A couple years ago, I was able to write a story for my day job about some of the¬†new technology used in¬†aerial application. GPS maps that show exact¬†field boundaries and prescribed treatments, instant electronic notification of field completion, and the ability to schedule fields for application up to a year in advance have all made this a economic option. Plus, when fungicide is most¬†beneficial for corn (at¬†VT stage – when the corn is tasseled), it’s¬†normally much too tall to move through with¬†other application equipment.

According to the National Agricultural Aviation Association, just under 20 percent of all crop protection products in the United States are applied by airplane, covering 71 million acres (just over 17 percent). Most crops can and have been treated by aerial application, but the most common are corn, wheat, soybeans, pastureland, and alfalfa.

So the next time you see one of those little yellow planes doing their acrobatic work, give a wave of thanks for the crucial role they play in producing our crops! And be thankful your workplace is a little more roomy than this:

Inside the cockpit of an aerial applicator. Not much wiggle room!

Inside the cockpit of an aerial applicator. Not much wiggle room!

~ FarmWife04