Most farmers have a particular crop that they would identify as their favorite, and I enjoy growing sweet and bell peppers. A healthy pepper plant shows glossy green leaves on a compact plant, making it relatively easy to cultivate and harvest. I love the way they look, and it’s rewarding to fill harvest containers with mature fruit that will find homes with our customers. In the winter months I dream of the neat rows of plants loaded with fruit.
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I am part of a larger community of growers who deserve to be fairly and accurately represented by our elected officials. This is one of the most important reasons why I vote.
Skilled farmers are aware that every tool and every technique for raising a crop has its risks and rewards.
One of the more exciting days on the farm is the one where we get a call just after 6 AM from the local post office telling us our hen chicks have arrived. After a short drive to pick up these small balls of fluff, we can go about giving them the care they need so they can form our next pasture-raised laying flock.
There is joy in giving these small lives a good start, but what happens when delivery is delayed and you open the box to find none of them left alive?
A massive derecho rampaged through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana on August 10 with devastating results. Winds were estimated to have reached 130 mph in places, leaving 1.9 million without power. The derecho ripped a path of destruction 50 to 60 miles wide and 770 miles long. Ten to fourteen million acres of agricultural production were flattened in Iowa, and over one-third of the state sustained significant damage from this powerful storm. A week later, people were still struggling to clean up, and power was not yet restored to over 68,000 households and businesses.
Our farm will soon observe an anniversary that we would rather not think about. On July 27, 2012, a spray plane applied a mix of three pesticides to a field adjacent to our vegetable and poultry farm.
The writing was on the wall. It had become clear to my partner Tammy and I that we would have to make some drastic changes if we wanted to continue to successfully raise quality fruits and vegetables on our farm. Changes in weather patterns combined with multiple pesticide drift incidents clearly required that we seek alternative growing strategies.
Our farm sees pollinators as important employees, and we do what we can to pay them by providing food and habitat throughout the year.
The idyllic picture of the traditional farm in the United States often features the sun coming up over a big red barn.