While I don’t imagine this is the last time the Peterson Farm Bros. will appear on my blog, it is the end of the “Life of a Farmer” series that takes viewers through a full, annual cycle of farm tasks. One of the many books I’ve read on agriculture noted that farmers are essentially owned by their farms. While some times of year are busier than others (planting and harvest come to mind), there is no time of year that the farm does not require their attention.
In this video, Greg Peterson talks about (among other things) the abundant rain they got the summer this video was made (2013). Rain is one of those uncontrollable elements that make farming difficult. In 2012, I witnessed the problems that occur when there is not enough rain. Drought that year had a huge impact on crops. However, this year (2015), as I visited corn country in Ohio, Indiana and Central Illinois, I discoverd that too much water can be even more devastating. I saw fields interrupted by great stretches of water surrounded by stunted, yellow corn stalks, and I learned from a number of farmers that crops were more harmed by excess rain this year than by the drought of three years ago. Farmers who depend on corn to feed livestock were talking about alternative sources of food for the winter, since the corn was so hard hit in some areas. Thank goodness there are alternatives to consider, but this is another reminder of how difficult farming can be.
One more thing to keep in mind when food prices fluctuate—nature is more often than not behind the shortages or abundance that we witness at the grocery store.
Leaving the Pioneer Village and Minden behind, we headed back to Arapahoe, where I enjoyed another day of learning about corn farming before heading back toward Lincoln. However, before heading east again, it’s time for another visit to the Peterson Farm in Kansas, by means of their Life of a Farmer video series. The Peterson Farm raises more than just corn, with wheat, hay, alfalfa, and cattle all present. Still, this is a good representation of the annual cycle of tasks on a Midwestern farm. So here is Life of a Farmer: March.
This blog will relate discoveries made as I explore and study the Midwest. It will feature places I visited in pursuit of tales for my books but will also follow other threads of history, travel, and culture in the Heartland. For the remarkable tales of corn and its importance in the world and U.S., check out the book, Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland. For the fascinating tale of our earliest domesticated food animal, check out Pigs, Pork, and Heartland Hogs: From Wild Boar to Bagonfest. I hope you’ll consider buying them. (And stay tuned for future titles.)
Eric Hoffer Award Winner
Midwest Independent Booksellers Association selection