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Front Page » Table of Contents » Agriculture & Farming

By Ken Poland on July 11, 2010

Where are all our writers? As I start writing here, there are only 3 entries since July 1. Vacation time for some and maybe a few like me, this is the busiest time of the year?

We finished our wheat harvest a week ago. Had unbelievable yield and quality. Now if the price would just reflect that quality and take into consideration the inflation on our expenses, we would be doing fine. The prices received by the producers is about the same as it was 20 years ago and even barely matches the returns in the late '40's after price controls were lifted following WW 2. Our production levels have increased dramatically, over the years. But, our input costs have more than equaled the increased production returns. The consumers prices have increased dramatically, too. But the farmer's share of the actual value of the wheat that goes into a 1 lb loaf of bread is still only 5 or 6 cents. If the producer got all of a nickel increase on the wheat in a loaf of bread, it should double our return. A bushel of wheat makes 60 one lb loaves of bread. We get $4.00 or less for a bushel of wheat.

The traditional "family farm" is extinct.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on April 21, 2010

If you haven’t read all of Angelo Lopez’ post of April 20, you need to. He has done a great job of tracing the political maneuvering and debate over how much the Federal Government should be involved in our everyday lives. Historically, collective societies can only be measured by how they equitably treat all members of society. (rich or poor / master or servant)

Angelo, you have done a lot of reading and research. Very few people have any concept of the economy and how government has dealt with it over the expanse of our national history.

For those of us directly involved in agriculture, especially across the high plains of western Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and the Dakotas, severe drought that occurs anytime during the economic downturns in our national economy have dealt us an especially severe hardship. Government farm programs have attempted to neutralize the extreme ups and downs of production and prices. They haven't always been successful and it appears to be impossible to make them equitable to all segments of agriculture and still maintain adequate, dependable, and cheap food for the consumers.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on January 8, 2010

Mikyung, I must disagree with you concerning farming communities not communicating with one another. Ref: Current Recession: Malfunctioning Public or Incompetent Leaders?

There’s little hope for “CHANGE” without clearly communicating and educating the facts of current economic /social problems with the mass public, especially those who live in isolated regions, such as farming, mountain, or remote areas where people less or seldom communicate with neighbors, receive less internet service, less TV channels and less current information, and more cling to old ideas and believes.
I live in a farming community. The big problem is farmers don't communicate or identify with the working class people, or the middle income folks in the urban or metropolitan areas. Instead, they think their interests and fortunes put them in the industrial corporate structures. Why? I can't understand why. But, we know and communicate with our next door neighbors much better than urban or metropolitan residents do. Our doors are a little further apart but we definitly understand and share our frustrations and successes with one another.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on December 23, 2009

What has happened to rural America? Gone is the pastoral scene of family farms with neatly fenced yards and gardens. Corrals with chickens, cows, and pigs running loose within walking distance of the house have disappeared. No longer do we see fields with neatly shocked fodder and small bins holding grain to winter the livestock. The advent of the internal combustion engine replaced the neatly matched teams of horses. Mom, in her sunbonnet, and the barefoot kids no longer can be seen working the garden in the early morning.

The industrialization and commercialization of agriculture has destroyed a way of life that rewarded agriculture with a serene and simple lifestyle.

Read more of this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on December 10, 2009

I was invited to give the invocation at the National Council of Jewish Women's Immigration Luncheon, held this past Tuesday.

The guest speaker was current San Diego Union Tribune and former Dallas Morning News editorial columnist Ruben Naverrette. Naverrette's take on immigration is very interesting. The labels 'liberal' or 'conservative' are trite and not quite applicable with him - at least in his presentation. A better word is 'pragmatic'.

Ruben's example of an undocumented immigrant apple picker going to the emergency room is a great example.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on September 23, 2009

We've fed the chickens and gathered the eggs. You should have heard the racket as that house full of hens greeted me with so much cackling you couldn't tell who was saying what. I also observed that those hens who were working in the nest to deposit their eggs weren't joining in the cacophony. (ref. to this later on) I never learned to speak 'chicken' so I don't know whether they were berating me for picking on Megan and Taylor or whether they were applauding. I just stole their eggs out of their nests and left. Their security system isn't very tight! I devoured a skillet full of eggs, sunny-side up, for breakfast and promised myself I'd give the hens a special treat of some kind. The crisp bacon was delicious too, but I don't know how I can thank that poor ole porker that gave his all to satisfy my taste. That glass of milk was delicious, too. I didn't really care whether the cow who manufactured that milk wanted me or her calf to enjoy it. I deserved it. After all, it was me that sat on that one legged stool, with a bucket between my knees and squeezed that warm fresh milk out of a not too cooperative cow.

Read more of this post here ...

By Ken Poland on September 22, 2009

I just have to respond to Megan's post on the Absurdity of Modern Food. I'm just an old semi retired farmer and I've eaten most anything that was put in front of me. We raised livestock and treated them with respect and tried to give them adequate food and shelter. Their main purpose on the farm was to provide food and income. We never intentionally abused them, but neither did we coddle them.

How do you know when a chicken is happy? Do eggs from happy chickens taste better or are they any more nutritious? Do you think you can tell whether an egg, if it is fresh, came from a free range organic environment or a highly integrated egg factory?

Read more of this post here ...

By Larry James on September 22, 2009

A number of community groups, churches and neighborhood associations with whom we work appear interested in community gardening.

The combination of concerns to develop access to healthy foods, strengthen community connections, teach children about nutrition and the environment and find ways to develop new markets for goods and services drive this growing urban interest.

I've been thinking. Why not hire a full-time urban horticulturist--an urban farmer whose only job it would be to engage interested groups, organize local neighborhood efforts and coordinate the production of great, thriving community gardens?

Read more of this post here ...

By Megan Hill on September 22, 2009

I have a hard time buying eggs.

Each time at the grocery, without fail, I stand in front of the eggs and I’m completely confused.

In short, I’m trying to buy eggs from happy chickens. With the trend towards organic food and the like, one would think it’d be fairly easy to find a carton of eggs laid by chickens in a clean, happy living situation. Not so.

I’ve recently purchased two cartons from two different companies, each with myriad descriptors likely intended to help the consumer. But there are just so many—and they can mean so many things—that slapping these adjectives all over the cartons makes things quite confusing.

Read more of this post here ...

By Kelly Jacobsen on August 24, 2009

Shortly after the Obama family moved into the White House, First Lady Michelle broke ground on the South Lawn and planted a garden with a group of elementary school students to stress the importance of eating fresh, organic foods.

Now, the President and First Lady have another idea for how to provide Washington DC residents with fresh foods while also boosting the revenue of local farmers.

Read more of this post here ...

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