You are not a farm widow.

Since social media and blogging has become a big scene, I have noticed a trend. Farm wives jokingly calling themselves ‘farm widows’. In this context farm widow refers to somebody (generally the wife) who spends long days and nights alone while the spouse (usually the husband) is busy farming.

Since planting season is in full swing in Iowa, I just wanted to take a moment to say: you are NOT a farm widow. Your husband will come home tonight and climb into bed with you. Your children will get to play with daddy again. You are not a widow. You have a hard working farmer husband, be thankful for that.

As a farm wife every time my husband leaves to run a tractor or climb a grain bin I can feel a little pang of anxiety deep down inside. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupation worldwide, killing thousands each year. Every year thousands of spouses and children never make it home. Thousands of women never get to kiss their husbands again. They are farm widows.

My husband works long hard hours to provide for not only us but for you. For the world. Be thankful for your farmer and don’t call yourself a farm widow as a joke.

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My thoughts on GMOs, fertilizer, organic foods, antibiotic use, and other controversial ag topics.

Now I don’t claim to be a expert on any of these topics, but I know enough to have an opinion. Growing up I’m sure we all heard ‘eat what’s on the table, or don’t eat at all’ maybe you even tell your kids that now. Well that’s what I’m telling you. Eat what’s on the table, or don’t eat at all. Farmers are doing their best, using the latest technology, to feed everyone, everywhere. You may go to the grocery store and buy your food, even bring it home and cook it, but I hate to burst your pretty little organic, vegan, antibiotic-free, GMO-hating bubble – WE grow it and without US you would not have food. Period.

If you want GMO-free, organic corn from a no-till field, have at it! Nobody’s stopping you. Go out and buy your OWN equipment and land. If you feel you can do better, do it yourself. I don’t know if you know it, but land and tractors cost a little more than your Prius. We don’t need to change the way we’ve done things for years to accommodate to you. Worry about yourself and the food you eat, not what the rest of the world is eating. Plenty of people are completely happy eating the food we provide. There are regulations in order to make sure the crops are nutritionally safe. GMOs, fertilizers, antibiotics are used because they need to be in order to provide enough food and are used in a safe manner. So if you’re not happy with what we’re working hard to put on your plate, grow it yourself. We’re not forcing you to eat what we grow. Yes, you have the right to your own opinion and to eat what you want. But you also have the right to grow your own food.

So you’re the consumer, you should have a say in what food is grown to feed you? True. But when the food is completely safe and nutritional, you don’t have a right to force your opinions and beliefs onto everyone else. You can eat organic food, be vegan or Paleo, or GMO-free, I don’t care that’s your choice. There are plenty of those options available. So take what you can get, and be happy!

It has to do with a lot more than food also. Corn and soybeans are used for so much more than human food, and farmers have to fill that demand too. There are many uses you might not even know about. For instance, corn is used in: penicillin, ethanol, starch, whiskey, oil, glue, plastic, batteries, diapers, matches, textiles, dyes, crayons, drywall, varnish, spark plugs, toothpaste, aspirin, tires, livestock feed, and so much more. Soybeans are used for biodiesel, ink, lubricants, crayons, foam, animal feed, adhesives, carpet, upholstery, varnish, lacquer, oil, flooring tiles, cleaners, and again so much more. GMOs and fertilizer help farmers to get the most of their crop, so they are able to provide the most that they can each year.

Livestock and antibiotic use is another hot topic. Just like humans do when they are sick, farmers treat sick animals with antibiotics. Without antibiotics animals would die from illness and spread it to the other ones around them. There are regulations on the use of antibiotics for livestock. Livestock cannot be sent for slaughter for a certain time period after they have received an antibiotic, once the time period has passed they are back to normal and healthy to consume.

And don’t get me started on anti-factory farming activists. 96% of farms are owned and operated by families. Factory farming is family farming.  ‘Factory farms’ is just a big scary word that activists like PETA have made up to make farmers look bad in the media. Most farmers don’t abuse their livestock, they take care of them, respect them, and treat them humanely. Occasionally, there are cases of abuse. And those people are worthless scum. I get that. But let me put this in perspective for you: There are some awful, worthless parents that abuse there children. But that doesn’t mean all parents abuse their children and we don’t treat all parents like they abuse their children. So why act like all farmers abuse there livestock?

For some people the problem is more about the equipment then the crops themselves. They are worried about emissions, diesel exhaust, our carbon footprint, erosion, and the ozone. I get that these are legitimate concerns, but farm equipment is not the only things that pollutes the air and many people besides farmers are far more detrimental to the environment. Erosion over the years has been greatly improved. Tractors, semis, and diesel trucks have emission equipment on them, they have been greatly restricted and produce much less emissions to harm the environment. Farmers use much less fertilizers these days, and the formula is safer. All other chemical are in their current safest form and scientist are constantly working to make them safer.

I think everyone needs to remember farmers are doing their best. We aren’t out to get you, we aren’t trying to harm you, we’re just trying to provide you with food (and many other things).

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It’s here.

You can see it. You can hear it. You can smell it. It’s in the air.

Harvest.

We just got into the fields a couple of days ago.

And with this brings long, long days and endless service call for Kyle.

My boyfriend will become a figment of my imagination for the next several weeks.

Sigh, here we go again!

Here’s to harvest.

More posts and pictures to come.

The Countdown.

The countdown has begun. The weeks are ticking down. Soon it will be here. Harvest. The corn and beans are still green enough they can’t be harvested but you can tell by them getting browner everyday that harvest is near. This is a bittersweet time of year. It’s great weather, perfect for being outside and having bonfires. But it’s SO busy. It makes for some long days, early mornings and late nights.  And my boyfriend is basically nonexistent. Some days I don’t accept farming very gracefully. Sometimes I just want to spend time with Kyle without him having to leave on a service call or to drive a tractor/semi.  It’s gets lonely, I won’t lie. Meals get delayed. And I get jealous of those girls who can go out to a dinner and movie with their boyfriend without delay, interruptions, or ending the night early. There’s a lot of nights were it’s just me & Jules (our dog) until pretty late.  But I get over it, it’s just a  part of life. No farmers = no food. I knew what I was getting into when I started dating Kyle, but some days that doesn’t make it any easier. You have to learn to be flexible, like really flexible.

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Tips to Survive Harvest:
1. Find a hobby. Hello, blog.
2. Learn to be flexible. This is probably the most important.
3. Help out in the field or just ride around.
4. Spend time with family & friends.
5. Get a pet. Black labs make pretty good buddies.
6. Acceptance. This is happening whether you want it to or not.
7. Finish up those crafts and unfinished projects you have laying around.
8. Relax and have some “me” time. Catch up on that book or favorite TV show of yours.
9. Preparedness. Get things finished before harvest starts if you can, plan appointments, parties, etc. at slow times (I don’t think that really exists), make casseroles or cook-ahead freezer meals, and keep in mind what needs to get done other than fieldwork.
10. Take.a.deep.breath.

Rain, rain, go away.

Rain, rain, go away. We need some sun! The farming operation has only been in the field a little over a week total! And bad news, there’s a chance of rain every day for the next 10 days. More than likely we won’t get any planting time in until mid-June. We leave for Vegas & the Grand Canyon on June 13th so hopefully the fields have dried out and all the planting is done by them! There is talk of a possibility of having to switch to beans instead of corn because of time limitations. Since planting has been pushed back so far, when they are able to plant there will be some VERY long days & nights. Kyle will have to work at the shop all day and probably help with farming all night. It’ll be a long couple of days. The farming operation has about 75% of the crops in leaving about 1500 acres. So if everything goes good it should take 2-3 of planting to get everything in and done. There is still standing water in local field, they are a muddy mess. Roads are closed because water is rushing over them, and the ditches have water rushing through them with a current equivalent to the Mississippi. The next field drive down from our house is actually washed out.

Diesel prices & fieldwork.

A couple of days ago I went with Kyle to town to get parts and go on a service call. When we drove by Kwik Star we checked out the fuel prices. Can you believe that diesel is cheaper than gas? Unleaded gas was $4.02, super unleaded gas was $3.99, and diesel was $3.79. It’s 20-23 cents cheaper that gas! It’s been years since gas surpassed the price of diesel. Kyle even said he thought he’d “never see the day when diesel would be cheaper than gas”. I guess we’ll start having to drive Kyle’s truck around more, because you know diesel is cheaper than gas… 😉

With the long LONG winter (there was a snow storm May4th!) then a very wet start to spring it pushed backed the start of farming greatly. We’ve only been in the field for about a week!  So the men have been working from dawn til dusk (and after!) to get the corn in as quick as possible. Kyle’s been manning the shop by himself and has had some pretty long days with all the service calls to work on equipment in the fields. And it continues this weekend, he had more service calls and has been helping in the field. These are a long couple of weeks, filled with 12-16 hours days, handwork, and eating alone; it’ll be nice to have my boyfriend back (until harvest).