Tag Archives: Agriculture

I chose to farm around it

I was visiting with my young neighbour the other morning.  He’d seen that I started haying and asked if I still use those old grainery’s in my fields.  I said no, not anymore.  He then asked me, well why don’t I burn them?  My response was “Why?”  Well if you don’t use them, why not get rid of them so you don’t have to farm around them?  I just told him I don’t mind them, they can stay.  I have 5 of them throughout my fields and pastures.  Honestly, I enjoy them.  It’s a reminder of our agriculture past.  I was baling today and thinking of his discussion with me as I baled around it.  I could see the guys with 50 and 70 foot airseeders why they’d want to get rid of it.  But I don’t have equipment like that.  Most of my equipment is in that 20 foot range.  So it’s not as big a deal.  But I knew him and he farms with similar equipment.  He just didn’t see the need in keeping an old dilapidated wooden grainery if it’s just in the way.  I don’t see it that way though.  To me it’s a legacy of the past.  Someone went to a lot of effort to build it and it’s probably stored many harvests over its time.  I don’t know how old it is but today I was picturing an old stationary thrashing machine backed up to it and harvest going on many years ago.  Someone then bagging it up and hoisting it out into a wagon to go to town.  It’s probably not that old, but of the same design anyway.  It reminds us of our past.  That we should be humble of what we have now.  Things weren’t always this easy and efficient in agriculture.  We need to remember that and those old grainery’s serve that purpose.  I’m sure in time it will eventually succumb to the elements and collapse.  Then I’ll have to pile it up and burn it.  But until then it can stand tall and proud as a reminder of our past and I’ll continue to farm around it.

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The beginner farmer and rancher

It’s so hard to start farming today. Land costs, machinery costs, just costs. I’m so grateful for where I am but I can’t help but worry about the future. How is the next generation going to get into this? How can they? And when I see the so called programs put out to help them, it just makes me shake my head. AFSC has what they call their Beginner farmer loan. I’ve seen this at tradeshows I’ve gone to when I visit their booth. I’m not going to go completely into it but it basically gives a reduced interest rate for the first 5 years of the loan. Great. But let’s think what that really does. After those first years are over, the program’s done. So what does that encourage you to do? Start big and grow fast to make the most of the program. I started my ranch small and built it up over time. And by time I don’t mean 5 years. Hell, in the first 5 years I mostly just learned what not to do. But maybe that doesn’t work anymore. But I can’t understand putting a timeline like that and selling it to people starting out. It’s just things like that get to me. They promote it as helping young farmers. That’s not helping them. Why doesn’t the government come out with something useful. Something simple that really supports people that want to get into farming. They have these Growing Forward programs for various approved projects. You can get part of the cost covered if you qualify. Why not do that for those wanting to get into farming in the first place? For those that are qualified, cover part of the cost of starting out. Some of the max amounts for projects are up to $30,000. That could go a long way for someone starting out. I look at some of the kids that I hire on occasion to help me out. They’re so good with cattle and so energetic. But when I ask them about their future, it’s always the same, there’s no way they can financially start out on their own with the cost of everything. So they get their full time job in the oilfield and just get their ranching fill on their days off helping me. They say the average age of the Canadian farmer is 52 and rising. Guess I’m still bringing the average down for now. But with no one able to get in, what’s going to happen? I hate seeing all these well qualified potential ranchers having to go work in the oilfield because there’s no support for them to do what they’d be best at.

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