By Ron Baker

In this country, we’ve all been around farmers. I sometimes think they are the greatest optimists there are. This year is proving that once again.

I’ve heard of farm operators/owners not hiring extra help because they can’t keep them busy. The crop is so sparse that passing the combine through the field is like asking a forest enthusiast to explore a Saskatchewan pasture.

Over the years crop insurance has become a part of farm stabilization. In order to verify the status of a crop, a farmer must harvest the crop giving record of yields to the insurer when a claim is submitted. And the paperwork! All part of the current approach to farming.

Why do farmers farm?

For money? Yes, money does provide for food and shelter. Money lets you maintain your machinery for next year. Money lets you buy seed, plant, and harvest.

For people? Yes, farmers recognize the help they are to the planet. Vocational farmers want people to live and not starve. With new uses for the sustainable crops that are produced, there is also the option of providing materials that assist in housing, fuel, and other areas of life.

For fun? Yes, there is something about the soil, the air, the ability to watch a crop, and much more that brings joy. Watch a farmer standing in a fertile field – they are soaking in the sight. This is art and beauty all wrapped in one.

For family? Yes, heritage and homage to past generations provides a home that is steady over the decades and centuries. Rooted in the soil is not just a nice thought. There is something about the dirt that calls a farmer back to his family roots.

For . . . ? There are probably as many reasons as there are farmers!

So why do farmers bother to farm after a year like this year?

Many farmers will turn to you. They will eye you with amusement and maybe a bit of that stare that says, “you really don’t understand!”

Ask any artist why they have to do their art.

Because they can’t not do art!

While profit and expansion may be a laudable goal, and realism related to farming methods and practices is important, there is often that something else.

Farming is not a bother, a trouble, a fuss, an inconvenience.

Farming is a way of life.   

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