"Tell your story!" Anyone in the agriculture industry has been hearing it! It is important and I'm the first to boast how much I love to tell my story.
But, if I am honest, I'm usually telling my husband's story. He's the farmer.
Well not this year! Matt is sliding over into the buddy seat and turning me loose on my very own 60 acres! And I'm taking you along for the ride by detailing the entire process of raising corn right here, all season long!
When it comes to land, farmers generally talk in acres. One acre is 43,560 square feet - roughly the size of a football field.
The first step for any crop farmer is the most obvious (and most expensive) one - find some land.
Generally there are two options available for a farmer to obtain land - buy it or rent it.
On a side note- some farmers are given land, most families cannot simply turn over acres to the next generation that wants to come back. That would essentially be taking one family's income and cutting it in half. Generally, when a child comes back to the farm, the farm has to grow - a prime example of why "large farms" do not equal bad farms.
Buying land can be very challenging. Matt farmed for 7 years before we were actually able to buy any land. Land has to be for sale in an area that makes sense for the farmer, it has to be the right type of land for what the farmer wants to use it for, and the farmer has to be able to afford to purchase the land.
For years we kept an eye out for farms that might be for sale in our area. Several times we looked at farms that were either too far away, not the right type of soil for growing crops, or we simply could not afford them.
Just when Matt had all but given up, a couple we rented land from decided to give us the opportunity to buy the farm Matt had his eye on for as long as he could remember!
Owning a farm, instead of renting, is a financial game changer for a young farm family in the same way that owning a home, over renting, is for the average American family!
This farm was in the exact right location, with the mixture of crop and pasture land that matched our family's needs.
Additionally, the sellers were willing to wait on us to obtain funding from the USDA's beginning farmer loan program - which can be a long process. In a market where they could have contacted an investor and had their money in a few weeks, this was unbelievably gracious, a blessing we will never forget.
Traditional farm loans usually require a 30% down payment, at adjustable interest rates higher than a typical home loan. Also unlike home loans, most farm loans are made on 20 year instead of 30 year terms.
The USDA's young and beginning farmer program allowed us to be qualified for a 30 year farm loan - partially from a private bank and partially from the USDA - with only 5% down.
When it comes to a first farm purchase, many young farmers would never have a chance if it wasn't for these programs, funded through the farm bill. Matt and I were no different.
My sixty acres is part of the farm that Matt and I own. So although we do not pay rent, we do have a loan on the farm, which means there is a payment that still has to be made - from crops and calves we raise each year. That payment will be made not only from income off this farm, but from income from the farms Matt rents as well.
Renting land comes in many different forms. Farmers need to find land in the area, that is available for rent, and that can grow the crops they want to grow.
Rent contracts have gotten more creative and unique over the last few decades but most agreements take on one of two general forms - crop shares or cash rents.
Crop shares - or share cropping depending on your location- was the most popular way to rent ground for a long time. This form of rent allows the landowner and farmer to share in the risk, and the reward, of farming.
Many crop shares today are still on a standard 50/50 agreement where the landlord and farmer split the costs of putting in the crop, the land owner provides the land and the farmer the equipment and labor, and they then split whatever crop is raised off the farm half and half, or 50/50.
Another common crop share version is a different split such as an 80/20 or 70/30 share where the farmer covers all costs of the crop and pays the landowner the agreed upon share of the crop as rent.
In the last decades, the cash rent agreements have become more popular. Some of these contracts can become very complex with multiple payments, price averages, yield bonuses and more but the concept of cash renting is largely the same.
The farmer pays the agreed upon rent, sometimes in the fall, sometimes in the spring, and sometimes in two payments in fall and spring, and the farmer keeps 100% of the crop. The farmer takes on all of the risk and all of the reward with growing a crop.
Matt told me that he could probably rent my sixty acres for to another farmer for $100 an acre - so he would agree to rent it to me for $150! (By the time I harvest this crop he will be wishing he charged me more!)
Now that I have my 60 acres "rented", I have some major decisions to make on seed, fertilizers, crop insurance and more before it's time to plant.
"If you are in college or heading to college, but want to eventually head back home to a one stop light town, here are some career paths to look into."
In college, when it became obvious my now husband was going nowhere but back to the family farm, I became nervous about finding a career that I would love. His hometown was less than 5,000 people and not within commuting distance of any major city.
I loved him, and I loved the idea of farming. The thought of raising kids on a farm sounded perfect. But there were a few realities that bothered me.
First, I knew we couldn’t both stay on the farm. One of us was going to have to have reliable and steady income to cover our costs and start paying back student loans, not to mention the need for health insurance. .
Second, I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t have a stimulating career that pushed me mentally and forced me to develop as a professional. So, when I landed a job with the largest agriculture lender in the state I thought I felt like I had struck gold (I was right by the way, my job is still a pretty sweet deal!).
The more time I spent in the industry, the more I noticed that the demand is strong in many careers that can take you back home to rural America!
If you are in college or heading to college, but want to eventually head back home to a one stop light town, here are some career paths to look into.
1. Farm Appraiser: This is first for the obvious reason it’s the best career! (Or at least, it’s my career). Actually, there is a great demand for Farm Appraisers in rural America. The average age of Certified General Appraisers (the highest license available and a requirement if you want to appraise farm land), is reflective of the age of farmers – somewhere in the upper 50’s.
As a farm appraiser I spend most my time in the field looking at farms. I visit with farmers and provide services help them manage risk on their operations better. The analytical side of me loves the number crunching and data analysis I do each day. It’s a rewarding and well-paying job, for more information on this career path; visit the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
2. Farm Manager: Land ownership in our state is following trends seen in many states. We are getting more and more out of the area land owners (either through inheritance or purchase) and these land owners often know very little about agriculture. The demand for Farm Managers, someone to help guide owners in making sound management decisions for their farms, is growing in nearly every rural market.
Farm managers spend a great deal of time networking with farmers, land owners, buyers and sellers. They make arrangements for the operations of farms, they monitor progress and sometimes are even directly involved in farming properties! For information n this career path, also visit the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
3. Crop Insurance Agent: With more volatile markets and rising input costs, most farmers have to take advantage of any risk management tools they can. A huge one in crop areas is crop insurance.
Insurance agents work with farmers to help guide them through insurance policies, finding which options are best for their farms. They assist them with making claims and other aspects of insurance. For information on this career path, visit National Crop Insurance Services.
4. Crop Insurance Adjuster: Of course with all the crop insurance policies come crop insurance claims. Adjusters work with the agents and farmers to measure any loss that farmers have.
Adjusters spend a lot of time in the field working directly with farmers, mostly on their farms. For information on becoming a crop adjuster, visit the websites of Crop Insurance companies such as Rain and Hail.
5. Land Surveyor: There is a huge need for land surveyors in rural America and that need is anticipated to keep growing! The average age, much like that of appraisers, is estimated at 57..
Land Surveyor’s work with farmers, government institutions, financial institutions, attorney’s and more. They are skilled professionals that spend time in the field and also get to utilize technology. For more information on this career path, please visit All About Surveying!
What other careers are available in your piece of rural America?
Sustainability is a buzz word. Consumers often associate the word with very small or organic operations. There are a lot of pieces to true sustainability, but nearly all farmers have the ultimate goal of leaving their farm to their children and grandchildren. In fact, most farmers rank this as a priority over short term profit!
So how are we making that happen? How are modern, large scale farms sustainable? How are farms far away from you suistanble?
I am going to explore what we do here at Uptown Farms over the next several weeks with #SustainabilitySundays!
The picture you are looking at above is showing two of the most exciting technologies on our farm - "no till" production and cover crop usage!
This week, let's look at "no till" farming!
I see comments in online discussions about how farmers today are "too lazy" to plow their fields and just rely on chemical. Let's look at what is actually going on when you see a field that has not been plowed.
For years farmers thought it was necessary and beneficial to till or plow the soil prior to planting. Studies now show us this isn't true and that tillage, especially deep tillage, can really have adverse effects on our soil health as well as the soil organisms that we need for long term productivity.
Plowing can create what is called a "plow pan", which can stop water and root systems from being able to penetrate into the soil profile as effectively as they should.
Newer equipment and GMO technology allows us to maximize the benefit of "no till".
First, it helps on top of the soil. It keeps our soil covered which minimizes weed growth, helps to regulate soil temperature and helps to retain moisture in our soil. We take soil coverage even farther by using cover crops (discussed more next week).
Second, as the corn trash is slowly decomposed by our ever growing earth worm populations, it adds to the organic matter inside the soil profiles. Organic matter (OM) provides food sources for the thousands of microorganisms that we need to exist in our dirt. OM also helps control soil compaction and retain water within the soils!
Plowing does incorporate most of the OM into the soil, but in a much quicker period than the the slower and more natural process allowed by no till.
On top of the corn stubble, you are seeing cereal rye. We do not harvest the rye for a cash crop here, but use it as a cover crop. Our cover crops are planted after harvest and compliment the no till production. They will be terminated either shortly before or after the cash crop (in this case it would have been soybeans) is planted.
To me, there is nothing more exciting than cover crop technology and I will discuss it more in depth next week!
I married into a farming family. And when you marry into a farming family you realize they take some things very seriously. And this family takes gardening, and sweet corn, very, very seriously!
A few years ago I had the privilege of spending the day with my husband’s grandparents and learning about how his Grandma freezes corn – she does dozens and dozens of quarts each year. A few years later my father in law added an office and small kitchen on to his shop – so the corn freezing moved there and now they freeze with assembly line efficiency!
So today that is what they did – they picked, cleaned, boiled, cut and froze corn. The whole family got in the action – from my baby boy who just turned one to great Grandma Mildred and Great Grandpa PD who have been married over sixty years!
The steps (and pictures) we took are below. Enjoy and let me know what your family does differently!
1. Pick or buy the corn. If you are buying to freeze, make sure and ask the folks you buy your corn from. Often they will have a discounted price on multiple dozen and sometimes they will have a special price for "freezer corn". This may be some of the smaller ears (that often taste better!) or some of the corn that had the tops stolen by birds or raccoons and you can just cut those spots off.
2. Shuck the corn. Grandpa and Grandson make a great team for this.
3. Desilk the corn. There is a silk for each kernel on the cob. The silk is what transfers the pollen down to the plant to make the kernel! But, they get stuck in your teeth so its best to get rid of them before you freeze.
The first time I froze corn with Grandma Mildred she showed me how to take a paper towel and rub it up and down the ear to remove most of the silks pretty quickly. It was still quite a process.
This year however we had a MAJOR upgrade in our project. Check out the below images of this electric corn desilker!
4. Check ears for bad spots and remove. Quickly look over the ears and using a sharp knife, remove any areas that have animal damage or undeveloped kernels that you won't want to cut off into your final corn.
5. Place ears into a large pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Keeping the water hot through multiple batches gets tricky!
6. Remove the corn from the boiling water and place immediately into an ice bath. Leave corn in ice water just long enough to cool the ears down to where you can easily handle them.
7. Cut the corn off the cob. Grandpa Paul reminded me to be careful not to cut too deep into the cob or this winter when you go to eat it the corn will taste like cob instead! After you cut the kernels off, scrape up and down the ear to release some additional sugar from the ear.
8. Put the corn into freezer tubs or freezer bags. Make sure and leave some extra room in the containers because they will expand when they freeze.
9. Cover with salt water mixture. Grandma Mildred suggests a teaspoon of salt per quarter of water for the salt water mixture.
10. Put into your freezer and remove sometime this winter when the memory of 100 degree days has long since faded!
Quick Steps to Freezing Corn:
1. Pick or buy corn.
2. Shuck corn.
3. Desilk corn.
4. Check for bad spots and remove.
5. Boil corn for 3-4 minutes.
6. Place corn into ice bath.
7. Cut the corn off cob and scrape sides for extra sugars.
8. Put into containers.
9. Cover with salt water mixture (1 tsp salt/ quart water)
10. Freeze and enjoy!
The boys and I made the trip back home to northern Illinois over the weekend, without my husband who was in the fields still, and someone asked, “Does your husband just farm?”.
I understood the question. The person asking was wondering if that was his full time job or if he had another job. And the person asking was certainly not meaning any offense by the question. But it had me thinking for many of the miles home.
My husband, like any farmer, is not “just” a farmer. He is a well-educated, smart man. And this is not unique to my husband. Most all the successful farmers I know are ridiculously smart. In no way are these people “just” farmers. So here is a list of just some of the roles farmers play every day.
·Laborers: Much of their day is spent doing physical labor. Before I sat down at my desk this morning my husband had physically hauled feed to several hundred animals and picked about 30 dozen ears of sweet corn. A few months ago we participated in a Fitbit challenge and I was blown away when my husband consistently out-stepped me (the runner!).
One day I had an EIGHTEEN mile run. I got up at 4am and purposely ran around town in circles for 18 miles. He out-stepped me that day (they were building fence) by 100 steps. I cried.
·Scientists: They are constantly gathering and analyzing data, testing soils and plants, analyzing those tests to make informed decisions about what the next move will be. This year for instance, my husband has had to monitor the rain fall on each of his fields to try and gage how the nutrient content, soil health and plants will be affected from the large amounts of moisture we have had and determine if there is anything they can do to help their plants.
If you doubt the intelligence of a farmer, check out this guide from North Carolina Department of Ag that is supposed to help a person read a soil test.
·Weathermen: The farmer does not rely on the local news channel for his forecast. Instead, he gets out his smart phone and looks at a dozen different websites, analyzes the radar maps, and makes his best determinations about when to plant, when to mow hay, and when to hold off. These decisions can be the difference between making a profit or not.
People married to farmers do not check the weather either – we simply call our farmer (who is probably more accurate)!
·Chemists: Many farmers have their chemical applicators licenses and are required to study and understand the chemicals they are using. Watching my husband prepare his sprayer is like watching a chemist at work in a lab. He is intimately familiar with the chemicals he is using, their purpose, risks and hazards, and the exact measurements and mixtures he needs to be safe and effective!
·Veterinarians: Livestock farmers simply cannot rely on their local veterinarian all the time. They have to know about medications, dosages, and wound care. It’s not uncommon during calving or lambing season for my husband to have to deliver babies, treat mamma for something and treat babies for something in the middle of the night when no one else is available.
·Buyers: The options available to farmers for seed, chemical, fertilizers, loan products, equipment and more are endless. They have to spend time sorting through all of the data and reviews to make the best decisions for their operations. Unlike popular internet myth, Monsanto does not make a single one of these decisions for the farmer and Monsanto is only one of many choices they have.
·Marketers: Farmers have to market their own grain, hopefully at the right times. They have to make the final determination about what to sell and when. Again, these decisions can mean the difference between being able to make the farm payment or not.
·Lobbyists: Farmers now make up less than 1% of the population. This means each year politicians care less and less about how their legislation affects farmers. Several times a year my husband puts on his suit and tie and heads to our state capital to meet with lawmakers and tell his side of the story.
·Heavy Equipment Operators: So this is probably a given. Most people think of farmers driving their HUGE tractors in the fields. But farmers also have to navigate those giant pieces of equipment down city streets and highways, safely! This is a huge challenge for them during planting and harvest and one of the most stressful things about their job. So always remember to SLOW DOWN when you see farm equipment on the road!
·Mechanics: Farm equipment breaks down. It breaks down in fields that are miles and miles from anywhere. And most farmers can fix most anything and have to, often times in a hurry.
·Men of God: They know there is only a portion of their job they can control and huge portion they cannot. They cannot control the weather, disease, pests, prices and more. So they look up and ask the Good Lord to give them the tools they need to make it another year doing what they love.
Whatever farmers do they always do it well!
I am in Denver this week, surrounded by some of the leading minds in agriculture real estate. I have had some amazing conversations and learned much, some of which I'll try to share!
A fellow appraiser and family farmer in Washinton explained to me how many of the organics are grown in her region of Washinton (state).
You can see on my drawing above that farmers grow conventional plants in an outer area with the organics contained within the middle.
This setup allows for a "barrier" from pests. The conventional products can be treated for pests with highly regulated and tested (and safe) pesticides. The organics in the center then benefit by being surrounded by the treated area.
How would it effect yields and quality of production if growers didn't have such barriers? What would happen to cost?
Are organic farmers often portrayed as more caring? More careful? Does it alter your perception when you realize many of the organics on the market are produced by the same families who are also growing much of the conventional food?
Jackson County, Oregon has passed, and the courts have upheld, a county wide ban on growing GMO’s.
The Farmer’s Daughter does a great job giving an overview of the decision that was upheld on Monday in Oregon.
This is not a ban on the consumption, sale or processing of GMOs. It is only a ban on growing them. It’s obvious why conventional farmers would lose sleep over such a decision, but here are some other people who should be just as angry.
1. Consumers: County by county ban on production practices will negatively impact food choice and food price.
If this single county sets a precedence and farming management decisions are being made in courtrooms by judges, instead of at kitchen tables by farm families, food selection will go down and price will go up.
Consumers, preferably with reliable and fact based information, should have the right to choose which type of farming practices and products they want to support with their purchases. Farmers should then have the right to respond to consumer demand with farming practices that make the most sustainable and economic sense for their farms.
2. Small Business Owners: Any small business owner should be enraged at the government making management decisions for us.
An important and often overlooked fact is that each family farm in your community is a small business. They employ part time and full time workers, they buy and sell thousands of dollars of goods within the local community, they pay taxes, and they donate time and money to local causes.
The Government, without the support of fact or science, determined some farm families to be of more worth than others. They have handed a death sentence to conventional family farms in their county.
3. Supporters of Young Farmers: Young farmers could be wiped out if the government limits their ability to use the latest technology.
Young and beginning farmers face unique challenges compared to their more established counterparts. Our margins are even thinner than our neighbors that have been operating longer. Our debt is greater, our equity is less. We make farming decisions based on long term projections and rely on the ability to use all resources available to us.
If the government removes our ability to farm using the most advanced seed technology available, it would very well bankrupt us. On good years there may not be measurable difference in yield (income). But on bad years? We could suffer a major loss without the assistance of insect protection, drought protection, and more that GMO technology provides.
Go here for an in depth analysis of the cost and income differences of GM and non GM crops.
4. Science Community: In a single ruling, a judge rejected the lifetime work and opinions of scientists who have devoted their careers to studying GMO technology.
There is no more thoroughly tested food on the market today than GMO variety food crops. As explained by Genetic Literacy Project, 89% of scientists believe GMO foods are safe! This judge threw science, fact and reason out the window and instead used emotionally changed anecdotes to make a ruling.
5. And everyone else. It has become cliché to call someone un-American, or un-patriotic when they don’t agree with your principles. But there is something terrifying to me about a group of voters willing to strip away the ability of farm families to make their own management decisions.
It’s even more terrifying the government would make such broad based laws with no science, fact or reason.
Remember, this decision has nothing to do with the actual consumption of GMO's products. This ban only limits the ability of families to chose which production practices are best for their family on their farm.
(Note - there is no safety or nutritional difference in organic and conventional raw products. The difference in organic and conventionally grown products is ONLY in production practices.) Read here for a great analysis on the two.
3/7/2015 33 Comments
I asked several of my non-farming friends what their main concerns are when grocery shopping. Most of them rattled off a few things about health and safety and then nearly all of them, almost quietly, mentioned cost.
I am here to tell you it’s a GOOD thing to be considerate of cost at the grocery store and I am going to tell you why you can feel good about, or dare I say PROUD, about buying conventionally grown products!
1. Conventionally grown is equally as nutritious and safe as its organic counterparts!!
All foods are rigorously tested for food safety in the USA which is why in the rare case when someone does get sick from food, it still makes headlines. In many countries, a person getting sick from food is not even considered news worthy!
Hundreds of tests have been done and there are no nutritional differences in the two. Organic is a method of producing food, not a label that indicates anything about the safety or nutrition of the product.
(Review one of the studies completed for nutritional differences here: http://www.ilsi.org/FoodBioTech/Publications/10_ILSI2008_CaseStudies_CRFSFS.pdf)
Most all produce can be found with extreme trace amounts of pesticide (yes organic production does allow for the use of over 50 pesticides). There is no notable differences in these trace amounts from organic and conventionally grown making both options SAFE options!
2. Being financially smart is GOOD and IMPORTANT for your family!
I would guess most families are just like mine – living on a budget that most often is pretty tight. When you refuse to pay twice the price for a gallon of milk labeled “antibiotic free” because you know ALL dairy and meat are antibiotic free at the time of consumption, you are telling your family that their financial security is important to you!
I am giving you permission to be financially smart –without guilt – about your buying decisions at the grocery store! Moms especially tend to stress about doing the absolute best for their children. Don't let this be one of the things that adds stress -- because fresh food is always a good choice regardless of how it was produced!
3. You are supporting family farmers, whose livelihood depends on their farms!
People have a tendency to confuse the “organic” label with “local”, “small” or “family”. Yes, a lot of organic is produced that way (some is not). But guess what – nearly all conventionally grown foods are also grown BY FAMILY FARMERS!!
My husband raises conventional grown (yes that means GMO) corn, soybeans, alfalfa hay and of course cattle and sheep. We also eat what we consume. We also feed it to our livestock and children.
When you purchase products that are conventionally grown you are not supporting some scary “agribusiness giant” – you are supporting him. And hundreds of farmers just like him. A majority of which are also small farmers like our family.
4. You are supporting technology that allows a safe, affordable food source worldwide!
GMO technology is the most thoroughly tested product on the market today. In fact, there are over 2000 independent and peer reviewed studies that show the safeness of GMOs for both human and livestock consumption!
(See a discussion on those studies here: http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2013/10/08/with-2000-global-studies-confirming-safety-gm-foods-among-most-analyzed-subject-in-science/)
When you say “Yes!” to conventionally grown products you are supporting further development of this technology that has allowed us to produce more food on fewer resources than ever before!
GMO technology allows us to better care for our land and water. GMO technology allows us to use less chemical and to better negate the risks involved in farming such as drought, flood, pests and disease. GMO technology is keeping food at affordable prices.
5. You are teaching your children to base decisions on logic and fact, not fads and marketing.
Many labels were developed as a means of fetching a premium for a product. Many of these practices have higher costs and higher waste, so marketing the product for a premium is vital to the industry. This marketing is often done by ill means – misleading information, scare tactics and food guilt targeted at food produced by other, more modern means.
Organics is a $35 billion dollar per year business – so do not be fooled. It is a business – one that is not anymore concerned about your wellbeing and health than any other business is.
Trust in fact and science to take comfort in your purchase decisions. Trillions of meals containing GMOs have been consumed and not one case causing human harm has been found.
The World Health Organization, AMA, FDA, European Commission, National Research Center and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation all support the safety of GMOs.
(Someone will argue that some other countries do not allow GMOs, which is true. The reason however has nothing to do with science, evidence or any ill effects of GMOs. It is simply because their governments caved to public pressure when the public was scared by the same tactics being used here now).
Not all of us have the luxury of being able to spend limitless dollars on food. Not of all of us think it’s necessary even if we did have the money.
Many of us know that it’s OK, even something we can feel good about, to feed our families with scientifically proven products, that are safe and nutritious and grown by family farmers!
So say no to #FoodGuilt and yes to #FoodFacts!
For more information about all types of farming, please visit some of the following links:
Genetic Literacy Project
Missouri Farmers Care
For information regarding the requirements of organic production please visit here:
Amendment 1 will not protect farmers.
You are right Mr Oswald. Amendment 1 will not protect family farmers from corporate farmers (although you haven't convinced me why exactly I need protection from them.) It will also not protect organic farmers from traditional farmers. It will not protect large farmers from small farmers.
Amendment 1 will not protect farmers from drought. Or floods. Or hail. Or bad prices. Amendment 1 will be hard to enforce with the deer population consuming half our bean crop, even if it's easy to see how they are infringing on my right to farm. Amendment 1 will not protect from your neighbors cows trampling your beans. And it will not protect from cold or wind or hot.
There is a whole list of things amendment 1 will not do.
Mr. Oswald, in response to your article in Missouri Farmer Today, I would like to suggest that if you are looking for blanket protection from all of the risks we face in this business, you may have chosen the wrong business.
You see Mr. Oswald, Amendment 1 wasn't designed to protect from these things. It wasn't designed to wage a war between corporate and family farms, or large and small farms.
Amendment 1 was written to protect against a threat you chose to not even address. A threat that is far greater than any of those you tried to scare us with. A threat that will be the biggest challenge agriculture has ever faced.
A threat that we will continue to under-estimate for years more, until it's too late.
I assume the reason you did not address this threat is because your biggest donor, HSUS, is the main perpetrator of it.
Amendment 1 is designed to protect all farmers from unjust, unnecessary and costly legislation. Something HSUS spends over half it's 150 million dollar budget on trying to pass. (I must give credit to the group for the 0.43% of the budget that helped cats and dogs.)
Amendment 1 was written to stop politicians from telling me what seeds to plant, what times I can harvest, who can provide health care to my livestock. It is written to keep the animal extremists, like your donors, from telling us how to do our jobs.
This threat is very, very real in other states. They get it. They wish they would have passed right to farm before it was too late for them.
And this threat will become very real here if we do not stop it on August 5.
If your neighbor sprays your crops, or the commercial farmer wants to take your land, he will have to take it to the courts. (And any simple legal analysis would tell you that his right to farm could not, under any circumstances, trump your right to farm simply because he is larger). The neighbor who sprays your crops will still be liable for it (just like he is now). The corporation wanting to take your land will not be able to do so (just like they can't now).
I would encourage you to start having a conversation about the real issue Mr. Oswald. I would encourage you to stop using scare tactics to encourage a fight among neighbors.
We are all in this together. We all suffer when it's dry, we all suffer when it's too wet. And we will all suffer if we do not tell out of state interest groups to stay out of our farming policy.
Vote YES on amendment 1.
(Written in response to an article that was published in the Missouri Farmer Today by Missouri Farmers Union President, Richard Oswald.) To see the full article visit here: http://www.missourifarmertoday.com/news/opinion/amendment-one-would-not-protect-missouri-family-farms/article_b1335ef6-0134-11e4-be2f-0019bb2963f4.html
There is a lot of misinformation out there about amendment one. To understand it, you must understand why it was written and the challenge that farmers are facing right now.
99% of farms are family owned. Even the controversial "corporate" farms are mostly family owned farms that have incorporated for tax purposes. (For instance if Matt and his Dad Steve decided for tax purposes to become Lambert Farms, Inc). This would not change how they operate or how much care they put into what they do, it would only change the grounds on which they were attacked and how they file their taxes.
It's very difficult for family farms and corporate farms, who operate on extremely thin margins, to spend any money on PR, or public relations. We don't have time, or money, to explain how we care about the environment as much, if not more, than anybody. Or that our animals are cared for better than a lot of human beings. For too many generations we just assumed people knew this. And now we are being blindsided with the fact that there are groups out there profiting from spreading lies.
Groups like HSUS and PETA make the most money when they scare you. They scare you about animal ag, they scare you about production Ag, they scare you about your food. When they tell these lies, you get out your checkbook. The truth isn't scary or sensational, so it doesn't get any of the Internet or media coverage the lies do.
So, why vote yes on amendment one? This amendment protects our right to farm and will not allow these out of state groups to come in here and pass voter initiatives based on lies and false accusations. It will require new regulations to be carefully analyzed for their effect on farmers before being passed. It will protect us because we don't have the millions of dollars to fight the media war.
This amendment does NOT protect corporations over family farms. It does NOT change ownership laws. It does NOT override any local or state ordinances, even for large hog and cattle operations. It does NOT negate any liability on our part to follow these laws, to protect the environment and to protect the food, water and consumer.
Please vote yes on amendment 1 and if you have any questions, please ask.
The less than 1% of people that are involved in production agriculture need your help to be protected from the misinformed masses.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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