A LITTLE FARM POETRY …

Farming is not a job that just anyone can do
In fact it’s a job that is done by few

About 2% of people claim farming as their occupation
But 2.2 million farms is a good foundation

FAMILY PETSThere’s always work to be done; rain or shine
Oh, you need a nap? There is no time!

Throwing hay bales in the summer’s heat
Or doing chores in the rain, snow, or sleet

Manual labor isn’t always fun
But farmers do what they have to, to get the job done

Mechanics and farmers go hand-in-hand
Because farming is unpredictable and doesn’t always go as planned

Hogs, cattle, chickens, goats, and sheep
It’s never quiet on the farm; there’s always a peep

sunset plantingWhen do farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall?
They rely on Mother Nature to help make that call

An acre is about the size of a football field
The more you produce, the better the yield

Corn is grown in every state in the United States
That’s a fun fact to remember when it’s on your plate

Alfalfa is the oldest plant known that is used for livestock feed
A nutritious choice that is a supply in need

Farming could not improve without science
Together they have quite the alliance

Illinois farmers, farmKeeping equipment and genetics up to speed
Technology helps the farming industry succeed

National Poetry month happens to be April
Enjoy reading this farm poem around the kitchen table

Ali Seys
Illinois State University Student

A LITTLE FARM POETRY …

Farming is not a job that just anyone can do
In fact it’s a job that is done by few

About 2% of people claim farming as their occupation
But 2.2 million farms is a good foundation

FAMILY PETSThere’s always work to be done; rain or shine
Oh, you need a nap? There is no time!

Throwing hay bales in the summer’s heat
Or doing chores in the rain, snow, or sleet

Manual labor isn’t always fun
But farmers do what they have to, to get the job done

Mechanics and farmers go hand-in-hand
Because farming is unpredictable and doesn’t always go as planned

Hogs, cattle, chickens, goats, and sheep
It’s never quiet on the farm; there’s always a peep

sunset plantingWhen do farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall?
They rely on Mother Nature to help make that call

An acre is about the size of a football field
The more you produce, the better the yield

Corn is grown in every state in the United States
That’s a fun fact to remember when it’s on your plate

Alfalfa is the oldest plant known that is used for livestock feed
A nutritious choice that is a supply in need

Farming could not improve without science
Together they have quite the alliance

Illinois farmers, farmKeeping equipment and genetics up to speed
Technology helps the farming industry succeed

National Poetry month happens to be April
Enjoy reading this farm poem around the kitchen table

Ali Seys
Illinois State University Student

FARMING {IT’S MORE THAN CROPS & CRAP}

-BeanWalkinEvery day, I count my blessings. I’m thankful that I have been raised on a farm, where working hard is second nature. And when I say working hard, I mean hard, physical, manual labor. Whether that’s baling hay, picking sweet corn by the dozens (I’m talking 100 dozen by hand), walking beans, or scraping old barns to prepare them for a fresh coat of paint. It all needs to be done, and I’ve learned the job is more enjoyable with some country music and a good attitude.

-SweetCornMy farming parents always challenge me to grow, become better, stronger, and healthier, just as they wish for their crops. There are plenty of opportunities to be challenged on the farm. There are always new things to be learned, and sometimes that requires me to step out of my comfort zone. That includes learning to change my own oil, driving a tractor for my first time, or trying to understand marketing concepts my parents use. I’m the kind of gal who likes to have all the answers, but sometimes you have to forget about your pride and ask -cropcheckinquestions.

Farming is a job where what my family and I do today can affect results several months later. So decisions must be made accordingly and priorities must be in place. I love that I get to look out the window of the farmhouse each morning and watch the crops progress until harvest comes. Harvest time is filled with hard work and long hours. When we were younger, we associated harvest time with homework in the grain truck, lollipops from the local elevator, and a harvesttired mom and dad. Now we realize that it is a lot more than that. Harvest time means that we are finally able to reap the rewards of the time and work put into that year’s crop.

Farming is working alongside my family day in and day out in order to raise crops that helps feed the world. Can it get any better than that?

Turn the Paige to hear more of my farm story. You can find me on Facebook at Turn The Paige: The Story of Farmer’s Daughter

paige ehnlePaige Ehnle
Illinois Central College Student
Turn the Paige Blog

 

FEMIVORES: THE NEW “STAY-AT-HOME-MOM”

I came across this excerpt from Emily Matchar’s book, Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity and was sad and relieved all at the same time. You see, I grew up on a farm where the women worked at home and the men worked away from home (and this was the 80’s!). I wasn’t home schooled, but I did receive an education from my upbringing that has impacted me in a substantial way.

My mom canned, gardened, made my clothes and costumes. My dad had built our home and on the weekends would work on the property with machinery or fix the vehicles. I grew up with two of the most self-sufficient people I have ever met-the phrase ‘we can make that at home’ was often spoken of things we saw in the city 30 minutes away: jungle gyms, play houses, clothing, etc. A phrase I have adapted at home with my family now.

Spring was my favorite time of year-the smell of the air meant freedom from the walls of school, but it also smelled like raspberries and strawberries-also known as my chores. Every morning during the summer-my job was to pick the red raspberries and strawberries from the garden and put them into the green cardboard pint containers for mom to sell in town. The money was made was for our school supplies and fees for the year. As the summer wore on-the chores changed from raspberries to weeding, to watering, to peppers and tomatoes. In the cool evenings of fall I remember digging up potatoes and picking squash and pumpkins.

The summers were spotted with large canning sessions-I being mom’s right-hand in the efforts. The spring strawberry jam was my favorite-the sweet smell lingered in the kitchen for days as did the red stains on my hands. The strawberry jam, to this day, is the best jam I have ever had.

In addition to strawberry jam, we would can tomatoes, pears, apples, relish, beets, green beans, carrots and anything else my mother could. If we didn’t can it-it would get frozen or dried in the dehydrator (often apples became apple chips). Sometimes our efforts were inside in the kitchen and sometimes, to preserve as much cool air in the house, we would get the portable electric stove and move outside. Often my job was to keep the flies away-as you can imagine the flies kept a young child quite busy.

Dad would come home for lunch and lunch would be ready on the table-I often had to run out to the garden to pick the green onions, lettuce or spinach for the salad. I grew up loving spinach-in my house, it was a spring treat we only got once a year. After starting grade school-spinach was the most popular hated veggie among my classmates – a hatred I didn’t share or understand. I thought spinach made you big and strong-just like Popeye! It wasn’t until I was quite a bit older and had the store-bought canned spinach that I finally understood what my peers thought spinach to be. I had never seen spinach look so sad and desecrated-or taste so bland. I genuinely felt bad for my classmates and their exposure to such an atrocity.

Over the last 60+ years, Americans have decreased the percentage we spent on groceries by more than half. Oddly, over a time period when home vegetable gardens decreased as well. Our basic necessities have changed along with our viewpoints of money, status and occupation. In addition to the feeling that the hours of the day have begun to consume us as opposed to just running their due course. I myself, being a college graduate have begun to have this daunting feeling that somewhere-we got it wrong. Not that women shouldn’t go to school and get a degree, but we (both men and women) have taken it upon ourselves to work so hard for other people’s businesses-we forgot that our families are our primary business.

Growing up on a farm in the country with a home that was heated by a wood-fireplace and fed by the bounty of a garden-it was a job to maintain the home. Each day’s tasks were dictated by the weather, the garden, and the land. There was always something to work on and knowledgeable bodies to do it. While I feel that technology is important and I definitely do my share of dabbling-there is something to be said about living a slower-paced life and working for your family as opposed to working for someone else’s cause. I find the term ‘femivores’ funny-because when I was growing up, I called her ‘Mom’.

Carmen ShafferCarmen Shaffer
Foodigen Blog

SO, YOU THINK FARMERS ARE RICH?

It is a common misconception, thinking that farmers are big money-makers. Did you know that in 2011, the average total farm household income was $57,067, with the farm income alone being NEGATIVE $2,250? Still think farmers are rich?

Commodity prices are publicly broadcasted, but the input prices are not. It has become more expensive than ever to put seed corn and soybeans in the ground. It cost farmers just at $500 per acre to put the crop in the ground. So, figure they get lucky and sell their corn for $7.00 per bushel. With a yield of 150 bushels to the acre, that would be about $1,000. Take out the $500 for the seed, fertilizers, crop insurance, storage, hired labor, and all things necessary to keep the crop healthy, and the farmer is left with $500 per acre. With that money they have to buy their big pieces of machinery, such as a tractor, planter, or combine. Still think they are rich?

For most farmers, their crop production is their only source of income. So after all the business operations are complete, they have to support their family. With all of that, they do not have the leisure of having the opportunity of calling in sick or just taking the day off. Each day is crucial in their operation so they can be as productive as possible. There is always that possibility that they could lose everything in a matter of days, weeks, or months by wind, fire, or other disaster. Farming is an unbelievably uncertain profession to go into.

Farm subsidies are a very important part of a farmer’s business. What happens if there is a really bad drought? Or a new insect or disease introduced to their area? What if commodity prices are down? The farmer still paid that initial money up front to put the crop in the ground. When the yield is below normal, the government steps in and helps the farmer out. Private companies do not have the means of accommodating the riskiness associated with farming.

The subsidies are not free money, either. The farmers have to put forth a lot of work in order to show that their yields are down. For most programs, there is an average bushel per acre that they have as a standard. Another stipulation is that the farmer cannot enroll in multiple programs. They choose what best fits their needs.

The government is helping out its producers, but that gives a lot of help to the consumers too. Farmers are our source of food, fuel, clothing, basically anything you can think of. Would you rather support the government and our farmers, or rely of the Middle Eastern countries to provide us with our gasoline? The government has to guarantee food security for its citizens. Also, to make sure we can sustain our country and not have to rely on others to support our needs.

Do you still think that farmers are rich? Maybe the farm subsidies are not such a bad deal after all.

Katlyn Pieper
Illinois State University

FARMER’S TRIBUTE: SO GOD MADE A FARMER

Welcome to Video Week on Corn Corps! The Sundance Film Festival is in full swing and we thought what better way to celebrate than by bringing you one video every day this week that celebrates Illinois agriculture, corn production, and farm family life.

Today’s video comes to us from the Facebook page Agriculture Everyday

“The past few days there has been quite a bit of discussion on a Yahoo article about useless degrees, with agriculture topping it. It makes a few comments that I find somewhat degrading to the agriculture and farming lifestyle. Since most of the agriculture community has been upset and offended by that article, I felt the need to uplift farmers and remind them that agriculturalists are some of the strongest people I know. So please, watch the video below. Paul Harvey hit the nail right on the head in my opinion, and I am proud to say I grew up on a farm and I can attest to most of this video in some way or another.”