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Monday, September 24, 2012

Farmers are Busy Even When "Not" Farming



I was recently asked by CommonGround to do a post on what farmers do when they aren’t farming.   Here is the second of 2 posts (it was hard to answer in just one).  Since I am a farm wife, what I do on the farm when we aren’t farming is different than what my husband Farmer is doing. 
Part 2: What do farmers do when they aren’t farming?  Simple answer:  A LOT!

Crop Scouting takes up a lot of our family time in the summer.  The boys and I often ride along as The Farmer looks to see if the crops are growing, if weeds are growing and if bugs are eating our precious plants.  We do not apply pesticides unless we see a need for them in each individual field.  It is better for the environment and soil if we scout our fields and apply as necessary.


Maintenance and Repairs on equipment take up quite a bit of time.  Oil has to be changed, blades have to be sharpened or replaced, things need to be greased or oiled and let’s face it things wear out and need repaired.
Our planter has a lot of moving parts and bearings that can wear out at the wrong time without proper maintenance.
 Hunting is a favorite past time of many farmers.  It gives them time to themselves to enjoy nature.  In our area, deer can wipe out an entire field, so deer hunting is also a way to protect the investment in a crop.

My Father-in-law a few years back with one of his prize bucks.

Most farmers go to several Meetings each year.  These could be considered continuing education by most in the business world, but we are not required to go to them.  We simply know that we need to stay on top of what is new and changing in the world of agriculture or we fall behind.  Here is a post I wrote earlier about meetings.

Comparison Shopping for big ticket items like tractors, combines and planters takes persistence and time, but can be rewarded by saving $$$$.  You wouldn’t go buy the first house or car you look at and farmers are the same way (they can be very tight with their money).


Delivering Grain after harvest keeps farmers and those they hire busy in the off season.  Often lines at the local elevators can slow the harvest, so farmers use bins on their farms to store grain until it needs to be delivered.

Storing corn in a bin is more work than just hauling it to town, but the prices and time savings are often well worth the effort.

Honey Do Lists can become quite long during the busy times of the year.  Every good husband knows if he has a few free hours, he better start on the wish list.
My Honey Do this day included my brother and one of his friends.  Landscaping is hard work, but made me very happy this day.  :)

Record Keeping can pile up in a hurry.  Luckily, my Farmer has me to take care of most of it for him.  Some of the paperwork that has to be taken care of includes:  marketing contracts, crop insurance, Farm Service Agency reports, conservation contracts, and EPA compliance measures.

Volunteering in the community is often a part of a farmer and ranchers life as well.  Helping out at school, the local scholarship selection committee, the Township Board, and the Water District Board are just a few places my Farmer volunteers his time and talents.

Farmer Organization Boards have numerous volunteer positions that need to be filled each year, so they know what farmers really want and need.  Some we have served on are:
·         Kansas Sunflower Commission
·         Kansas Soybean Association
·         Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition
·         Kansas Prescribed Fire Council
·         CommonGround Kansas

Local Events always bring out the farmers.  If it is the right time of year you can always find farmers at Farm Shows, county fairs, state fairs and the local sporting events.  It is a great way for them to network and see what worked for someone else.

Ranchers that are farmers really don’t have a lot of free time.  When they aren’t in the tractor, they are:
·         Delivering mineral and vitamin supplements to their cattle at least weekly.
·         Fixing Fences
·         Checking water supplies and installing tanks in the middle of a drought.
·         Checking cows that are calving.
·         Weaning calves.
·         Pregnancy checking cows.

Just because you don’t see farmers in the field on a tractor doesn’t mean they aren't busy.  There is a considerable amount of work that goes into keeping things going well when the tractors do leave the barn.  Here is a follow up post on what we do on our farm in the winter when we aren't driving tractors.
 

-A Kansas Farm Mom