I'm still pretty new in my journey with faith and Jesus. Too new to be giving any kind of sermon, or biblical commentary. This isn't either. This is just me. And my thoughts.
Today is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week, which culminates in Easter. Next Sunday, millions of people will attend church that don't normally go. People who go on Christmas and Easter. Or at least attempt to go, on one or the other, most years.
I'm not judging, the exact opposite actually. For most of my life, that was me. I went, first because I was made to, and later in life out of some sense of obligation. Because it's what "good people" do. At least on Easter and Christmas.
I'll never forget the stress I use to feel. To act the right way, say the right things, but mostly, to dress the right way.
Fashion has never been a strength for me. My entire life, it's been a source of great stress. And Easter Church services come with high expectations.
Especially after you have kids. The kids have to have new outfits. I think they are suppose to match and I think it's suppose to be something you have to iron.
I am suppose to have a new dress. It can't be white yet... or maybe it can be? I can't ever remember the rules of wearing white. Except the wedding thing. I always remember that.
It's suppose to be spring colors, definitely not my go to black. My work suits won't work either. It's suppose to coordinate with the kids outfits I am sure.
Church on Easter and Christmas never felt like it was for me. The expectations were high and I was always falling short and uncomfortable while I was at it.
I couldn't find my way to Jesus on those days because I was too busy readjusting a dress I hated and wondering if my shoes actually matched my outfit.
It wouldn't be until years later, when a way too casual preacher stopped us at the local Mexican restaurant and asked us to church.
He would ask a dozen more times before I actually showed up.
It wouldn't be until the first "regular" Sunday morning, that I walked into that church with half empty pews, and that same preacher stood in the aisle telling jokes wearing a weird tie.
It wouldn't be until that preacher turned and saw me, in my blue jeans and boots, and his face lit up as he said, "I'm so glad you're here!". And he meant it - jeans and all.
It wouldn't be until I sat among those people - some dressed up, but most like me, in jeans. There were some teachers, a truck driver, a few farmers, a butcher, local business people. Regular people.
It wouldn't be until I came to church in jeans, actually comfortable in my clothes and comfortable that those around me didn't mind, that I finally could hear about Jesus. That I could finally know and feel Jesus.
I know many of you will go to church next Sunday and many of you will feel like I still do on Easter Sunday - uncomfortable. I pray that you'll still be open to hearing the good news of Jesus.
But if you're like me, and you're distracted by your discomfort, I hope you'll come back. On a regular Sunday. In your blue jeans and boots. Because that church has got news worth sharing. A story worth knowing. A man worth following.
And it's worth coming back. I promise.
To read this and other thoughts, follow us on Facebook at Uptown Farms.
D ear Neighbor,
You pass by our local business daily, even though we don’t have a storefront on Main Street. You drive by our production lines to and from work each day, although you probably just call them fields. You probably don’t give much thought at all to the corn, cattle and soybeans we are raising.
It would probably surprise you to know, that right here in Linn County, MO, a recent economic impact study concluded that $126.6 million in sales is created each year by the local farm families and that 1,173 jobs are supported by those sales. For a rural county, with total population just over 12,000, those numbers are rather significant.
On a national level, the US Grain Council highlights that agriculture accounts for 20% of the US economy and creates more manufacturing jobs than any other sector. In total, more than 21 million jobs are supported by agriculture.
Even with those numbers, we are often left out of the conversations around our economy and local growth and business. That’s on us more than you – we don’t always make ourselves as available as we should. We often struggle to get away from the farm to tell our own stories and sometimes we get aggravated with those who don’t understand our livelihood.
Right now though, we need you to know something. We need you to know that we need NAFTA.
Last fall, I was at the high school football game, where a neighbor was complaining about “grocery store beef”. Like so many others, he seemed surprised when I explained that our beef IS that grocery store beef. Our family is dependent on a much larger market than our local market.
Like most farming communities around the county, we raise more product than could ever be consumed locally, even with the trendiness of it all. Farms tend to be where people are not.
As of 2012 census, we had over 46,000 head of cattle in our county. That’s nearly 4 times our human population. The local crew could never consume all that beef. The same holds true for the corn and soybeans and other products we raise.
Your local farm families – your American farm families – happen to be extremely good at what they do. The best in the world by most measures. NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement, makes trade with some of our largest partners - Canada and Mexico - more efficient. And trade is vital to the success of American agriculture.
US Grains Council points out that the sale of corn to Mexico has went up 847% since the start of NAFTA. Missouri is uniquely at risk. In 2016 alone, 69% of our ag exports went to NAFTA trade partners which makes us the 5th highest state for percentage of exports effected by the agreement. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that 8.2% of Missouri job are connected to NAFTA trade.
Your local farm families are entering our fourth year of an agriculture downturn. The USDA reports that farm income has decreased 42% over the last three years. Many of your local farmers are not in a financial position to withstand the economic blow that would be delivered from a withdrawal. Young farm families like my own would be hit the hardest.
We love the communities we call home, and we are passionate about helping rural communities thrive. In order for our local business to continue to have strong impact on our rural economies, we need you to know that #NAFTAworks. And we need you to share your support with our elected officials.
Your Local Farm Family
Yesterday, I took a short nap on a flight.
That may not sound like a post-worthy accomplishment, but for someone who, 24 months ago, couldn't even think about getting on a plane without breaking out in a cold sweat from anxiety - it's a big deal.
By no means have I eradicated my fear of flying, but I can say with confidence that I have stopped letting my fear of flying control me. In the process, I have gotten comfortable enough on planes that I have taken my last 14 flights without any anxiety medication!
I wasn't always afraid of flying. Growing up, I flew regularly enough, and never had any problem. It wasn't until the flight home from our honeymoon - a completely normal, uneventful flight- that I first started to have trouble.
Later on, when I learned more about fear of flying I found that it's very common for people to not suffer from a fear until they get older, often with marriage and children increasing the fear.
I landed from our honeymoon and had to get up the next morning and immediately fly to Denver for work. Each flight over the next year got progressively worse.
I would spend the entire flight gripping the armrests, sweating, constantly in a panicked state of mind. When I did arrive to my destination I would be completely exhausted.
Eventually, the anxiety got so severe that I started avoiding flying altogether. And I did successfully for several years.
Then, I had an opportunity. Several actually. Opportunities too good to pass up. But it meant I had to fly.
Here's what helped me start flying again, and continue flying today.
1. I talked to my doctor and got medication.
I know I titled the post "flying without Xanax". But in order to get comfortable flying, first, I had to ACTUALLY fly.
That meant I had to take a huge step. I had to admit I had a problem and ask my doctor for help.
She prescribed a classic anxiety medication and assured me it would help to take the edge off.
I was worried about using it. I needed to be able to fully function on the other end of my flights, but at the same time, I needed to be able to get to the meetings in the first place.
My first medicated flight was a significant improvement. I wasn't able to sleep, and was still uneasy, but I was able to relax - slightly.
I realized pretty quickly that I wasn't going to be able to just pop a pill and pass out - I was still going to have to come up with a strategy and I didn't want to be dependent on medicine to fly.
2. I talked about my fear - a lot.
This is no surprise to anyone who has been around me. If you've met me, you probably know I'm afraid of flying. But I read somewhere that openly talking about your fears helps in dealing with them.
I started telling my co-workers before I left for a trip. I told the lady I bought coffee from at the airport. I sat down and told the people next to me, in front of me, behind me, "Hey. I'm Kate. And I'm terrified of flying. Can I have your window seat?" (That doesn't work by the way. People are very protective of the window seat.)
When I tell people, I don't feel so alone, and I don't feel like I have to hide my hear. I've also found that if things get bumpy in flight, people actually check on me!
On a flight to North Carolina, the Captain came on and instructed us all to tighten our seat belts and raise our tray tables because we were entering some serious turbulence. This was one of the first flights I hadn't taken my medicine and I must have started to look scared.
The gentleman next to me remembered I was afraid and asked if I was OK. I told him I was nervous and it would be really great if he could keep talking.
He took the cue and proceeded to tell me his life story - a fairly interesting one too including wives, girlfriends, neighbors - all the while keeping my mind off the storm we were descending through.
3. I learned about flying and planes.
Turns out, planes don't just fall out of the sky. And turbulence won't actually send a plane crashing to ground.
This sounds obvious to most everyone, and especially anyone who knows anything about planes. But it was one of my greatest fears.
I found a free course online, that takes about an hour, and learned about planes and flying. The instructor walks through the flight process from takeoff to landing. He covers everything from the noises you hear in a plane to the science of flying.
This course was a lifesaver for me. Once I learned the basics of planes and flying, I felt much more in control.
4. I learned what works for me.
I fly in the mornings when possible. I skip coffee when possible. I get a window seat. If I don't get a window seat I sit in the middle, and lean over enough that the person next to me might consider giving me the window seat. I always sit as close to the front as possible because it's less bumpy.
I fly Southwest. They are funny and the jokes help me relax. I listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts. Dave yells at people and it hides the noise of the plane. If I get nervous I watch the flight attendants - they are always calm.
All of these things help me relax, but are unique to me. Although, there is actually scientific evidence to support we are less likely to get anxious in the mornings and obviously limiting caffeine is good for staying calm.
5. I started traveling with Jesus.
Around the same time my fear of flying got severe, I felt myself being called back to God as well. Of course, looking back now it's clear that God was using my fear as a way to get me to understand a few things.
1. I am not in control.
2. I need him.
3. He's got this.
God was using multiple things in my life to pull me back, but my fear of flying - and the opportunities that were available should I overcome that fear - were definitely one of the more clear messages from him.
Prescription anxiety medication helped me get back in the saddle. But I knew if I was going to continue grabbing opportunities that took me half way around the county I would need to teach myself to fly without it.
And talking about my fear, learning about planes, figuring out what helps me relax and remembering that I am NOT in control and God is, helped me accomplish that.
As I finish writing this, I am boarding a plane headed home. My second flight for the day, fourth for the weekend - all without medication, and all without anxiety!
If you're struggling with your own fear of flying, remember it can get better!
11/16/2017 3 Comments
The North American International Livestock Exposition is wrapping up and as is customary, my newsfeed is filled with pictures from the green shavings.
There's an emerging theme to this year's photos and posts- one of emptiness. The show introduced a new, shortened schedule for the first time in years, drastically reducing the number of animals and people that held over to the end.
Those exhibitors still left are posting pictures of empty barn aisles and vacant ringside seats, even while Supreme Champions are being selected.
One of my fondest memories growing up is the yearly trip I took with my dad and brother to the Ohio Suffolk Sale. Back then, a sale was more than just a sale and there were no computers involved. We met people. We went to dinner with people, we socialized. We made lifelong friends.
We actually talked to the breeders of the stock we wanted to buy. I remember one of the top breeders in the country hoping into a pen of ewe lambs with me to help me handle and sort through their differences. I learned more in ten minutes watching him than I could learn in ten hours watching online sales.
The social experience of that sale - and all the other shows and sales - was the driver behind us returning to the show ring year after year.
In fact, it was at a sheep show in Laramie, WY, where I first met a Missouri farm boy that would change my life forever.
When I followed him to college, my sheep came too. We started showing at multiple state fairs, sleeping in barns or the trailer, occasionally a Red Roof Inn.
We spent a few years chasing banners this way, always wrapping the year up with a grueling, exhausting long-week in Louisville, KY.
We loved every second. My 20 year old self couldn't imagine anything more important. And I swore that lifestyle would never change.
And then... it did.
We graduated. We returned to his family farm. He started farming for a living in a state where the crop is rarely out by early November. I started a career where all chaos sets in in early November. Within a few years we threw a few kids into the mix.
And before I realized it, years had passed and we hadn't been there. We hadn't walked on those green shavings because our schedules just couldn't make it work. We visited for a day or two. We even sent one or two down if they were good enough to justify the cost of paying someone else. But we both knew we would never be able to do the entire thing again.
And then, this year, the schedule changed. We became aware a little too late for a big change this year, but a small fire was lit back inside. It was like we were being invited back in.
Like someone said, "It's OK if you can't make the whole thing, we still want you to come and compete. We still want to include you."
Now don't misunderstand me. The pictures of empty barns and vacant seats are crushing to me. I hate that someone might be handed that purple banner in a Supreme Drive with only a faint echo of applause.
But, I love that it gives so many families a chance to be apart of it once again. I love that show and sale organizers are recognizing that costs have increased and schedules are more demanding and this new world we live in is different than it was 50 years ago.
I applaud them for attempting to try something new to revitalize the events that make our industry what it is.
Now we have some major challenges. As a culture we have shifted to an experienced based mindset. We have no choice but to continue to make an experience unparalleled to anything someone can get at home. We have to do everything we can to foster those relationships, mentorships and family bonding time. And we have to do it in less time, with more packed schedules, than we have ever done it before.
That means our sales, and our shows, are going to look and feel different. Or at least, if we are going to stay relevant they are.
My heart aches that my boys will not ever experience the exhilarating, exhausting 10 day run known to so many of us simply as "Louisville".
But on the other hand, I am confident that our industry will collectively come together to create an elevated experience that better aligns with the world we live in.
And maybe that new experience will find a way to exclude the "Louisville crud". Although on that I am less optimistic.
This post was initially published on American Soybean Association's Pod Policy blog on November 15, 2017.
My husband started farming the same year we got engaged – and we put about the same amount of thought into each. This is to say, we didn’t think about either much at all.
We were 21 and 22 years old, driven by emotions more than reason, so we got married and started farming. Looking back now, I think both of those decisions require just that – throwing logic out the window and following your heart. If you stopped to analyze the work involved, you could never logically justify either.
Both also required a third party approval from the person who was funding the adventure. My dad was an easy sell; he picked up the tab for the dress and party without much hesitation. Our lender, on the other hand, was not so easily convinced.
Although the risk of losing everything, which at that point was really nothing, wasn’t enough to give us cold feet, it was enough to justify a denial from our lender. Crop insurance was the offsetting strength to our negative equity balance sheet. It was the safeguard our lender needed to take a gamble on us.
Protecting crop insurance is vital to protecting the ability of young and beginning (YB) farmers to enter the market. In an industry where the average farmer is 58 years old and record transitions are expected to take place in the upcoming years, we are in dire need of new people starting to farm.
(To continue reading please visit Pod Policy here.)
Shortly after our oldest was born, I started reading everything the search engine returned about how to feed children the “right way”. It would be a few more years before I realized this is almost never a good idea.
From the first article on, an overwhelming weight was being pushed onto my shoulders. The weight of fear, fear of our food.
Everywhere I looked, I was being told our food was scary. It wasn't like it "used to be". It wasn't "natural". It wasn't "simple" or "clean".
His runny nose, my extra baby weight, his occasional rashes, my cough, our inability to sleep well, the mysterious missing other sock - all clearly stemmed from consuming this new "Franken-food".
I was being told this, being sold this, by food manufactures and restaurants and bloggers and even other moms. I was being told I had to pay more, be more selective, and demand more. I had to "know my farmer" and “buy local” or else...
And I was ready to do all of that and more. This was my child's health after all and I am his mother! And no one knows better than his mother.
I also remember my first dose of reality. I was quizzing my farmer husband about GMOs, while eating sweet corn from our own field. He didn't laugh or put me off, but answered as best he could. He did smile a little at some of the crazier things I had bought into, but never laughed.
Over the next few months, and continuing today, I started learning about our very own industry - modern agriculture – from a new perspective. The perspective of a mom.
I spent more time on the farm; I spent more time with other farm families. I spent time with the scientists and researchers who develop our technology, with people who test it, with the people who actually use it. I spent time with our consumers, talking to them about our industry and hearing their own concerns. I spent time with other moms, who also happened to be well educated on farming and food.
I spent time learning about where we had been, and where we are now. I learned that both eras in agriculture - yesteryear and modern times – are represented with inaccurate, incomplete stories often told to evoke emotion instead of truth.
Soon, I realized - we are those farmers.
We are those farmers they want you to fear. We are those farmers who raise GMOs. We are those farmers who use chemicals. We are those big farmers. We are those farmers who raise that grocery store food.
We are the farmers who use GMOs.
We use them by choice. We use them because they help us fight drought, erosion, pests and fungus. They help us leave a smaller footprint and be more responsible stewards of our land. We are also the family that proudly buys and consumes products grown with GMO ingredients because we understand what they are, how they help, and the science that has proven them safe for over 20 years.
We are the farmers who use chemicals.
We use chemicals carefully and in the correct amounts. We do not “soak” your food in chemicals. We use chemicals to manage risk and our environment and to provide you a safe, reliable food source. We often rely on modern chemicals that have been developed to be more effective and less toxic that chemicals used decades ago.
But we are also the farmers who use GMO's and other technology to reduce our chemical use as much possible. Not because the chemicals we use aren't safe, but because they are expensive and require extra trips across the fields.
We are those big farmers.
From the outside looking in, people often look at us as large farmers. Surveys have indicated the average American defines a “large farmer” as anyone farming more than 100 acres. We are 20 times that.
Other farm families would consider our farm size average or standard. We farm more acres and have more animals because we needed to grow to support another family returning to the farm. We farm more acres because we have equipment and technology that allows us to. We farm more acres and have more animals because we actually love farming!
We are those farmers that raise grocery store food.
We aren't "local" to hardly anyone, with the exception of a handful of folks in Linn County, Missouri. Our calves and lambs end up on your grocery store shelves, without any labels to distinguish it as "better" or "safer". Our corn and soy end up feeding animals across this country and in food products that end up on your store shelves, again, without any distinguishing labels.
We are those farmers. The farmers you hear about on TV and social media. We are those farmers you read about on fast food bags and internet blogs. We are those farmers, but that is NOT our story. We are those farmers, but we are not scary, and neither is the food we are raising!
#My60Acres is harvested again! This was the second year Matt let me play a leading role in the management of a sixty acre field on our home farm, and my first soybean crop.
I didn't get to start the morning with him because my work schedule has been a little hectic, so I didn't join until late afternoon. But as soon as I got there, he slid over and let me take the wheel.
It might sound odd that he couldn't wait a day or two for my schedule to be better, but soybean harvest is very time sensitive. We have to wait long enough the plants are dry, but not too long.
If the plant isn't dry yet it's very tough to cut and clogs up the combine. Think about breaking a wet stick compared to breaking one that dry and brittle. The dry one snaps while the wet one is very tough to break.
However, if we wait too long, the pods can actually get so dry they bust open, sending the soybeans to the ground where we can no longer harvest them.
So, he went ahead and started harvesting while I finished my week at work and I wrapped up when I get back home.
It was beautiful to combine this year. About a month prior, we had an airplane fly on a cover crop seed that was a mix of turnips, radishes, peas, crimson clover and triticale. That cover is coming up beautifully and will protect my soil all winter and early into the spring. Read more about our cover crops here!
Overall we were surprised and happy with our yields! We had a challenging late growing season with very little rain. Seed genetics - which have advanced tremendously in the last decade - helped us to deal with that lack of water. Additionally, my cover crop was still covering the ground which helps to retain water in the soil longer.
We estimate an average of 40 bushel when making our projections in the spring, so despite a less than ideal season, we still had an above average crop that yielded 49 bushel to the acre! The higher than average yield helps to offset prices that are below where we had projected.
Soybeans are the number one crop for the state of Missouri. Missouri farm families grow so many soybeans because our soils and weather are good for growing them, plus we have established markets to sell them at.
Of the bean itself, 80% is soybean meal and 20% is soybean oil. Nearly all of soybean meal is used in animal feed. Of soybean oil, 68% is used for human food - baking and frying mostly - and another 25% is used for biodiesel and bioheat.
We still have about a week or so left of harvest, so make sure and follow us on Facebook for more #Harvest17 updates!
Last night, as I was cleaning up the house preparing to go to bed, I heard a little voice coming from our oldest's room.
"Mommy, I'm so excited I can't sleep. I'm laying really still but I just can't sleep!"
His little head was full of excitement for his early morning wake up call from his Dad. They were getting up at 5am to go deer hunting. But this time he wouldn't just be tagging along. This time HE was the hunter. It's youth season this weekend, and he's finally old enough to carry his own firearm.
For two weeks we've been talking about it. I've watched him and his dad shooting targets off the back patio. I've watched them drawing diagrams of deer and discussing where to aim for a clean, quick kill. I've heard him get lectured on the importance of a quick kill, with no suffering.
I've listened to them discuss how hunting is fun, but a huge responsibility. I've heard them thoroughly break down the laws and ethics that come with hunting. I've listened to them talk about why we hunt, how we will harvest the meat, and I've even agreed to cook it however he requests.
When Matt was stuck in the combine, I stepped up to take him shopping to get cold weather hunting gear when we realized it was going to be freezing cold.
I learned that you can get everything imaginable in camo. I also learned it costs 20% more if it is camo and that there are actually different patterns of camo. I learned there's different oranges and that not all bright orange is the legal "blaze organge". And last night I learned hunters have to take white powered donuts to the stand. Or at least hunters in this family do.
Over the last few weeks I've had mixed feelings. He's so little still. It's a real gun. He's going to kill something. I grew up in a hunting household, with a dad and brother who hunted religiously. But I am not a hunter.
And I wasn't sure how I would feel sending him out the door this morning.
I got up this morning with them. I helped him get all thirteen layers of camo on and I made him hot chocolate I put in my coffee mug. I gave him a hug, took his picture, and wished him good luck.
And when I went back inside, I realized what I was feeling. I was feeling excitement too! I was hopeful for him. And I was proud of him.
He's not home yet, so I don't know how it went. But I can't wait to hear about it. Any reservation I had must have subconsciously been erased over the last few days of watching him and dad prepare, and listening to them talk and plan.
And I've thought of all the great hunters I know - his Dad, his Grandpas, both his uncles - and those are the men I want him to grow into. They are men of honor and patience, responsible men, men who respect and love nature. Men who love to hunt.
I imagine the last few hours, sitting in the freezing cold alongside his dad, with no cell phones or electronics, watching the glory of God's creation and exercising the vast responsibility of hunting, is a time that will be stamped in his memory forever.
And when I think of all that he will learn as he grows into a seasoned hunter - conservation, responsibility, respect, self-sufficiency - I know that he belongs in that tree stand.
He may, or may not get his first deer this weekend. But either way, he's taken a huge step towards growing up. And growing into the man God wants him to be.
Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Genesis 27:3
I'm 400 miles from home, getting ready to walk into a church for a wedding, without my farmer. It's not the first, nor the last, event I'll attend without him at my side.
It's harvest season, which means anything I do that isn't in the cab of a combine, likely doesn't involve him.
It's been almost almost nine years ago since I said, "I do", and walking into another wedding has me thinking...
If you're thinking about marrying a farmer, stop.
You will think about an insane schedule, completely dictated by weather the seasons. And completely out of your control. Completely.
You will picture interrupted dinners because someone showed up for a load of hay at an ungodly hour and interrupted weekend getaways because the cows are out. The cows always get out.
You will think about being solo at everything from weddings to funerals, that is, if you can even go at all.
You will think about making budgets and vacation plans based on the price of corn or cattle, knowing full whatever you plan won't be right.
In fact, it won't just be your budget that won't go as planned. It will be everything. EVERYTHING.
You see, marrying a farmer is full of risk. And thinking on it too long might let the risk overshadow a lot of things.
Things like riding together in the combine at sunset, harvesting a crop you both poured your souls into.
Or watching your child's face light up when a baby lamb stands for the first time. Or raising your children knowing that the value of hard work will be engrained so deep in them they won't ever know any different.
Or being woke up at 1am by your farmer finally coming home - not from a night out on the town - but from a long day of working toward everything you both want.
Or sitting on the porch together, watching the sun rise over the land, animals and children the Lord has entrusted you to care for.
So if you're thinking about marrying a farmer, stop. Stop thinking and just do it!
Because this crazy, dependent on the weather and price of grain lifestyle, is truly the greatest blessing in the world.
Even if it means going to a wedding stag. (Besides, if your mom is anything like mine, she will always be your plus 1.)
Last week I had the opportunity to tour the Bayer Bee Care Center in North Carolina. I was excited, but also a little anxious for the tour.
As farmers, we know how important bees are for our food system. But we also like to think that we are doing things right. And honestly, I was a little nervous about what I might hear, and what I would, or wouldn't, be able to do about it.
Are modern farm families responsible for the alarming bee reports that flood our news feeds? Am I killing the bees?
When I walked through the doors, I was prepared to learn that I was. But here's what I learned instead...
1. Honey bees are not actually native to North America.
They were brought here by settlers who knew they would need them for food production. It's said the first bees arrived here in 1622 and that Native Americans called them "white man's flies." Even though they are not native, our food system is now dependent on them and the other 4,000 species of bees found in North America.
2. Spraying isn't killing bees.
As long as we are following label directions and spraying responsibly, which we do, our spraying practices are not deadly to bee populations. Some of our pesticides are toxic to bees but we have to remember "the dose makes the poison." The amounts the bees have exposure to with proper spraying is not enough to cause them harm. In similar concept, even though caffeine is toxic to humans, it's not dangerous to us in normal exposure amounts.
3. But mites are.
Varroa mites are one of the leading causes of honey bee death and it's becoming more challenging to deal with them as they develop resistance to what use to be effective treatments. As the researcher at Bayer Bee Care Center explained, "It's a challenge to find something to treat a bug that lives on a bug."
Varroa mites are parasites that live on the bees and can quickly infest an entire colony.
4. Honey bee populations aren't actually going down.
Even with the challenges of health and disease, bee populations have actually been steadily increasing over the last few decades, hitting an all time high in 2014.
5. Even though we aren't hurting the bees, we can actually be doing more to help.
I felt relief that our farming practices are not killing the bees, but I still left with a feeling that more can be done.
Many bees are loosing their environment and food sources. A bee will visit up to 5000 flowers per day, and many of them have to travel 5 or more miles to get to those flowers.
While we don't have the practical knowledge or expertise to manage hives, we do have the ability to grow wild flowers and other plants good for pollinators.
Which is exactly what we will do. In 2018, we plan on mapping out some areas of that farm that we can reserve for honey bees and other important pollinators! I'll do my best to keep you posted on our new pollinator areas next year.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
All Ag Industry Conservation Cooking Cover Crops Crop Farming Farmer's Wife Farm Takeover Fertilizers Food Safety Gardening GMOs Hunting And Fishing Livestock Local Farmers Modern Farming Mom #My60Acres Parenting Politics Running Rural Lifestyle Sheep Showing Livestock Sunday Struggles #SustainabilitySundays #UptownUploads