Friday, June 24, 2011

Life isn't very fair when you are a farmer

Weather will make or break you 

Now before I start this post I admit farmers are notorious for complaining about the weather. It is always too hot, too dry, too windy, too rainy, too cold. Sure we are looking for perfection. Perfection means that our cattle or livestock will be comfortable, chores will be easier, and crops will grow to their maximum potential. Weather affects our livelihoods probably more than any other profession.

This year the weather seems to be even more abnormal than normal (but who really knows what normal is anymore).

In Texas and along the southern border of the U.S. farmers and ranchers are experiencing extreme drought. Currently 11.8% of the country in a D4 drought. That is the most serve form of drought possible. In Kansas (closer to me) 25 counties have been named disaster areas because of the drought. Kansas is the number one wheat producer in the nation.

It was this post read from Hallie at Ride Of Hallie's Life about the current situation in Texas, that really  got me thinking about the weather. Many of the farmers in Hallie's area use irrigation pivots (a giant sprinkler system) to water their cotton. "The irrigation is meant to be a supplement to the 20 inches of rain they USUALLY get. It takes the pivot sprinkler 7 days to complete one round, and it is only taking 2 days for the water to evaporate entirely." I think my draw dropped when I read that line.

Hallie also said that not only are this year's crops is a loss, but since there is no major rain being called for until July 2013 - yes 2013, next years crops are looking bleak as well. I really encourage you to read her story.

click here to view the U.S. Drought Monitor national and state maps

But that isn't the whole story. Every night I go home and listen to the news to hear about the severe flood the Missouri River is causing, and there was the flooding in Southeast Missouri early this year that one farmer expects will cost him a million and half dollars - he is just one of 200 in that area. Through the Dakotas and Nebraska cattle and machinery had to be moved, and crops were lost due to flooding, along with homes and buildings. The Arkansas Farm Bureau reported that more than a million acres of cropland was under water in May, and the damage to crops and forage is expected to exceed $500 Million.

It just doesn't seem fair some farms are standing under water and others can't be seen because of the dust blowing so hard. But I guess none of us signed up for farming and ranching because it was easy. We do this because farming is in your blood, it is in your soul and it is a part of who you are. 

For the consumer you might see higher food prices, but many of you won't even think about what the farmers went through this year to get food on your table. If you know a farmer or see a farmer say thanks, it won't bring this year's crop or livestock back, but at least they will know you are thinking of them. 

Just a few tweets about my friends and what kind of condition they are in:

And some guys have all the luck!


  1. Perfect post, Crystal.

    Thanks for using SM to show real-time WX results from across the country.

    From my urban casa my rural heart hurts for these speedbumps agriculturs is facing.

  2. Thanks so much for featuring my story, Crystal! And I completely agree with you, we didn't sign up for this because it's easy, we do it because we don't know any different. I think that goes for everyone involved in ag, from the biggest rancher to lowly interns like me, you can't shake what's in your blood!

  3. Agree with Hallie, we do this because we know no other way of life, it all has ups and downs, you just gotta get through them!
    Thanks for doing this post, girl!
    We are in the D4 drought, just talked to the NRCS agent wed. and she informed us of all this. Well, not like we didn't know how bad it is already, but, ya know.

  4. We are on same wavelength. Pop on over to my post. Same topic. It is critical at our places.

  5. i just blogged a list of resources i found on the usda website, to help with the natural disasters so many are facing

    hope you dont mind me sharing!

  6. I'm in eastern SD - my parents got 7 inches of rain this week, and the Missouri river is flooding in Chamberlain, one of our nearest towns. I wish there was some way we could pipe the water from the Mo to everyone that NEEDS it down south!!

  7. Did you guys know that corn, fed to fatten cattle, takes an incredible 22 to 24 inches of water to make a crop! A lot of this water comes from deep wells in the Ogalla Aquifer...drought is terrifying and can decimate agriculture production in record time. Hang in there Texas.

  8. Thanks for all your comments, and Linnettejane thanks so much for the resources.


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