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Published May 30, 2011, 04:40 AM

Two things we all agree on

Despite what urban folks might think, farmers often disagree among themselves. Everything from proper economic policy to the best brand of tractor is debated, sometimes with logic and sometimes with passion.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Despite what urban folks might think, farmers often disagree among themselves.

Everything from proper economic policy to the best brand of tractor is debated, sometimes with logic and sometimes with passion.

And why should farmers agree all the time? Their needs and interests often diverge. The farmer who raises and sells corn naturally wants high prices for the crop; the livestock producer who buys corn to feed to his animals understandably wants low prices for it.

But there are a few things on which farmers always find common ground. Even the biggest churls in ag — the ornery, cantankerous wretches shunned in bars, coffee shops and church basements — will agree on at least two points.

First and foremost is the need for cooperative weather during planting, the growing season and harvest. Whether you operate a big farm or a small one, whether you use conventional methods or organic, whether you’re a Farmers Union Democrat or a Farm Bureau Republican, you’ve got to agree on that. It’s as basic to farming as breathing is to human beings.

A second point of universal agreement, I think, is the importance of bringing in more young blood to the aging ranks of area agriculturists. There are disagreements on how best to accomplish the goal, but the need is accepted throughout agriculture.

Just one example of how rare young folks are in ag:

This past winter, I attended an ag convention with many break-out sessions. At one of the sessions, 23 people were in the room — and only two of them appeared to be under the age of 40.

Though their numbers are small, good young people are entering agriculture. Farmers, agronomists, researchers, grain elevator employees and others — all young, all earning a living, entirely or partly, from agriculture.

These are the people who are reinvigorating agriculture today and will be its core in the future.

If you know one or two of these folks, drop me a line. Our readers would like to get to know them, too.

A time to plant — we wish

Right now, of course, most everyone involved in ag on the Northern Plains is preoccupied with what’s been a difficult, moisture-delayed planting season

As I write this, the sun is shining and farmers are busy in their fields. I hope that’s true when you read this, too. We all agree on the importance of cooperative weather,

But this spring isn’t cooperating, and that creates stories that should be reported.

Maybe you know someone who used ingenuity or unconventional methods to overcome wet conditions.

Maybe you know someone who may not be able to plant at all this year.

Or maybe you’d like to share memories of wet springs in years gone by.

Whatever your thoughts or story suggestions on delayed planting, drop me a line.

And good luck with planting the rest of the way.

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