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Things you won’t hear

March 27, 2009
Bt Kerry Hoffman

There are some things a person will never hear one dairy farmer say to another dairy farmer.

For instance, I shall never here Steve mutter, "I am so happy Moose had another bull calf."

Moose is an awesome cow tame, milks well, has been here a long time. Even so, a bull calf from moose is like getting your 100thlosing pull-tab it really doesn't do any good.

Another phrase a dairy farmer could use to make his neighbors think he's gone off the deep end is, "I think I am going to take the day off. The weather is just glorious. Let's go spend some time walking the trail around New Ulm."

If anything, it would go something like this: "It's beautiful outside, honey. Why don't you come spend some time outside with me? We could enjoy each other's company while we wash the tractors and put shovels on the digger."

To a dairy farmer, that's romantic. I always consider myself lucky when Steve asks me to spend time with him. That means he enjoys my company and has missed me a little bit.

That reminds me. I just recently started reading a book about a cat that lived in the local library inSpencer,Iowa. I was excited to read the book. It's a bit different than what I have been reading lately.

I gobbled up the words until page 55. What I read on that page made me not want to read the rest of book. But I persisted and proceeded to keep reading.

I made it to page 57; then I committed myself to not finishing the book.

So much for Dewey the library cat.

The book was published in 2008. The author was singing the praises of living in theMidwest; growing up on a family farm. How glorious it was. Of course, when she was young, her father lost the farm and, consequently, the author is blaming the farming industry for the demise of her father's farm.

She writes: "Farm life isn't forty acres and a mule anymore. Farmers need large combines to plow big fields, and they cost $500,000 or more."

(Thank god we don't need mules anymore. I heard they smell.) I was so flabbergasted by that sentence I got out of soft bed and ran downstairs to share it with Steve. First, farmers do not, I repeat do not, plow their fields using combines. If they did, the neighbors would know that farmer has jumped off the deep end. And a brand-spanking-new combine, along with the corn header and bean header would cost around $400,000.

Can you say research? Apparently the author can't.

On page 57 the author proceeds to explain how where the penny-candy shelf was in the old general store. Today, instead of looking at delectable sweets, you can "watch the cultivators, cone-shaped chutes in front and barrels of fertilizer and poison strapped on the back, crawl across fields like tiny grasshoppers tip-toeing across a vast emptiness."

Whoa. Bitter are we?

You know, if farmers didn't use fertilizer and pesticides, and grew everything organically, the world would starve. There is no way to produce enough food to feed the world without using today's technologies.

I suppose each individual family could grow their own food for one year, in their back yard. Parents wouldalwaysfeel like going outside to weed the taters and carrots in the middle of August, right after the children's ball games.

That's another thing you won't here a dairy farmer say, "Honey, I'm done milking the cows tonight, in this blasted heat. Let's go weed the garden."

For questions, or comments, e-mail me



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