So we got some less than desirable news today, typical when you’re a farmer, but this is a little more devastating than usual. An entire bin of our canola seed is rancid so all that profit is down the drain – five figures worth. News like this is not uncommon when you have a farm but it never gets easier to handle. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for it.
Even at the best of times it’s still a lot of work. We might have a bumper crop one year but we’re still racing against the weather to get it off and in the bins. And if that crop goes in the bin and even just a small portion of it isn’t as dry as it needs to be…you know what they say about one bad seed, right?
My heart sank for a moment when I heard that news today. I was sad because of the money we lost, I was sad because an entire bin of seed that was babied since it was planted is now garbage and it can’t be used in our economy (wastage is something I just don’t do), but mainly I was sad because I know the Farmer will feel it. I see the stress on his face and I can feel the burden on his shoulders and it makes my heart break.
But the bad news didn’t stop there. There’s a monster pipeline going in around here and it seems like it’s crossing every piece of land we rent. We weren’t able to get a second cut of hay off at least two fields and a few weeks ago, some of the workers left a gate open and all our cattle from our rented pasture escaped into a two square mile radius.
Some of you may think it’s just a bale but it’s more than just a bale. It was a perfectly wrapped bale that was just waiting to be loaded when a pipeline worker hastily moved it with a track-hoe and tore it open. You know what that means? It means we just kissed the profit from this bale goodbye. And he didn’t just do it to one, there’s an entire row of them that are not saleable now. His response? “My foreman told me to.”
It’s just too much to handle sometimes. I see someone I love struggling to provide for our family and right after he finds out an entire bin of profit has gone bad he encounters an ignorant pipeline worker that tosses our bales aside as if they’re nothing more than yesterday’s trash. News flash asshole – THAT’S OUR LIVELIHOOD. IT PUTS FOOD ON OUR TABLE AND PAYS OUR BILLS.
I’m a little hot still but I’d like to have something good come from the bad today so some backhanded education is in order.
When the price of beef goes up in the grocery store, this is why. When a loaf of bread goes from $4 (an already hard-to-stomach price) to $5, this is why. When it’s cheaper to order McNuggets from McDonald’s than it is to cook a roast chicken at home, this is why. When you have to pay $10 for a pound of bacon, this is why (I know bacon isn’t that much yet but believe me, that day is coming). Every time you curse and fill up with diesel at $1.08/L, think of how much it costs to fill a 400L combine tank or a 300L tractor tank – all so there’s bread on the shelves and meat in the cooler.
We’re not asking for recognition, applause or a standing ovation. All we really want is respect. We respect this land and farm it to keep the economy in this province and country going. We respect our animals and feed them the best feed because they’re living beings and deserve to eat good food too but also because the best feed helps to make the best meat for the market. There’s some things that are out of everyone’s control, like the weather, the condition of every single seed we auger into our bins, and the genetics of our cattle but those conditions that aren’t determined by nature or bad luck are in everyone’s control.
If your foreman tells you to roll some bales over with a track-hoe, use your brain before you do it. If he asked you to move a $50 bill with a lighter would you do that? Probably not. A few phone calls would have put you in touch with the Farmer and he would have been more than happy to head out out there and get his profits out of your way.
“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
-Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution