Archive for November, 2010
When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time at the agricultural department at the local high school where my father worked as an animal science teacher.I had to stay there after school until my mom got off of work. Dad would pick me up on horseback, or with a loaded stock trailer from elementary school and take me back to the Ag. Farm. I was bored out of my mind and I couldn’t wait to hear my mother’s car pull up so I could leap into the sanctuary of air-conditioning. I was almost always ready to escape from helping dad feed the animals, plant vegetables, pull weeds or sweeping off the school bus. I couldn’t stand having to go to the Ag. Farm. I grew up as most children do, and went to college for agricultural communications at the University of Florida. I had been gone from home for a while and the first thing I wanted to do was go to the Ag. Farm. As I pulled into the drive that led to the pastures, barn, classroom and animals I used to loathe, I realized how much agriculture meant to me and how I had grown to love it. Sure I was a spoiled brat when I was little, and I hated having to go outside with dad. But he taught me the beauty, responsibility and importance of agriculture. He may have coaxed me into helping with the daily chores, but in doing so he taught me respect for those who work in the agricultural industry. I now have a deep admiration for agricultural and those who live it. Thanks dad.
Agriculture, which is the industry of man’s growth of plants and animals for human use, has been man’s employer from his very existence!
Have you ever thought of the farmer that produced the original cotton of the T-shirt you put on?
Many people don’t realise how agriculture affects their lives or how they could affect others using agriculture. This will explain the increase in the rural-urban drift in most developing countries were agriculture is the sole employer of the rural dwellers. For example, percentage urbanization in Nigeria in 1975 is 23.4% and 43.9% in 2000 (UN Population Division) and only 3% of Nigerians practice agriculture which is mainly done with crude implements.
In such scenario, where the government cares much about importation of food, many young people’s eyes are veiled from seeing the opportunities in agriculture.
In Eastern Nigeria, land rotation is practiced in the rural areas partly because of the sparse population and because of the rapid regrowth of the secondary vegetation.
Mr. Kalu has a large vegetable farm in Alayi. I spend time in his farm often.
I wasn’t supposed to be doing that as a physicist but a first visit to his farm may convince you that agriculture makes sense!
He plants wide varieties of vegetables in his farm like fluted pumpkin, pepper, garden egg and okra.
Apart from answering to the three basic needs of man –food, shelter and clothing, agriculture also sees to the production of raw material and fuel which indirectly produces electricity.
If you’ve found no reason to like agriculture, why not like it for the 3Ps; The Profit, the Produce and the Pleasure!
Other sectors may have an alternative but agriculture doesn’t.
Why not join the over 44% of the world’s labour force and go back to the farm?
At Orange Patch Dairy, good nutrition and excellent feed quality are the keys to happy and healthy cows. Our cows eat rations that are based primarily on forages (chopped plant material). Since forage is the key ingredient in our rations, we work every growing season to make the best possible forages for our cows. High quality forages also help us to reduce the amounts of feeds that we purchase to balance out our cows’ nutritional needs. Alfalfa and corn are the two sources of forage for our cows. We make 5 cuttings of alfalfa on 130 acres each season. Alfalfa haylage provides our cows’ protein and energy needed to make wholesome and nutritious milk. We strive to improve our haylage quality by chopping and cutting quickly, and we depend on our fleet of AGCO tractors and our Hesston Diskbine to make that possible. We cut our 130 acres of alfalfa in one day, allow it to dry, and merge and chop/harvest it on the following day. Timing is everything, because alfalfa that is too wet or too dry will not store well in silage bags. Even though our tractors are older, they are reliable, and that’s critical when making hay. Our cows’ well being depends on it.
Our second finalist in AGCO’s Blog Contest, “Articulating Agriculture” is Kayla Ferris from Texas, USA. Remember to post your comments all week to vote on your favorite blogger.
Farm Life Lesson #7: Know who you’re Feeding
I grew up a Farmer’s Daughter. I drove a truck. I plowed fields. I even chopped weeds through my Daddy’s maize fields. Then I left the farm for a college town where I fell in love with an Agriculture major. This Farmer’s Daughter soon became a Farmer’s Wife.
My Farmer Husband and I lived in a small housing division. Every day I would watch neighbors leaving for work around 8am…and coming back home a little after 5pm. Anyone who knows anything about agriculture knows a farmer doesn’t have a 9-5 job. Why I even hoped my Farmer Husband would come home at 5pm everyday is a mystery. I had a lesson I needed to learn, and farm life schooled me one evening. I pulled out my cute farmwife cookbook, found a wonderful casserole, and spent the whole afternoon preparing the dish. I set the table and pulled my casserole out of the oven at 5:30. Just in time for supper. Only, there was not a Farmer Husband there to eat it. I waited. I decided to put the casserole back into the oven. He called about the time I was beginning to smell overcooked casserole. He was going to be another hour. In near tears, I imagined him eating cold, burnt, casserole.
That evening, I realized something. As a child, I had taken for granted the hours my Daddy worked. I would not do so again. My Daddy, my Farmer Husband, and other farmers do not have an easy job. They work crazy hours, they have no set schedule, and the fields don’t offer vacation. But they do it for us. And I’m not meaning just their families. That evening, I was worried about feeding him. He was busy feeding the world.”
We had entries from eight different countries and our first finalist, Zina Zarah Dee, is from the Philippines. You can read Zina’s blog entry below:
Ching, bakit ka nag-Agri?
(Ching, why did you choose Agri(culture)?)
Dahil higit pa sa halaman ang itinatanim ko.
(Because I plant more than just mere crops.)
Bawat punla ay pag-asa.
(Every seed means hope.)
Bawat dilig ay simbolo ng isang mas magandang umaga.
(Every sprinkle of water means a better morning.)
Bawat pagbungkal ng lupa ay kasiguraduhan ng mas malinaw na bukas.
(Every parcel of land I till ensures a brighter tomorrow.)
Dahil kahit madumi ang mga kamay at mga paa ay panatag ang aking puso.
(Because even though my hands and feet are soiled, my heart is at peace.)
Pagkat kahit pagod ay nakangiting uuwi at gigising muli sa piling ng bukid ng ligaya.
(Because even if I’m tired, I’ll go home smiling and will wake up amidst a field of joy.)”
*Original composition in Tagalog (Filipino)
*Photo taken by Zina Zarah Dee, ID lanyard of the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agriculture (2010)