I had the honor of writing a blog post for Monsanto. Kate was wonderful to work with. I picked what I wanted to write about, and she accepted what I had come up with on my first draft....easier than high school, I must say! Here's the link:
Guest post by Rachel Fishback
Top left: My great grandpa planting with his new fordson and homemade planter in the late 30's, early 40's. Top right: My great grandpa harvesting oats in the 80's
Bottom left: My grandpa Richard harvesting corn in the early 80's
Bottom right: My dad on his first tractor he bought brand new in 1979.
"Oh, how I wish farmers would just go back to farming the way I grew up."
"I think farmers should farm the same way they did back in the fifties."
This is what I've heard over and over again, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. As a farmer in 2012, I'd like people to stop and think about what they're asking for. Farmers, technologists and researchers have made huge strides and advances in our everyday practices. Some of these advances you can recall off the top of your head. Other advances, that we all take for granted, you really have to stop and think...would I want to give up that luxury?
Have you ever considered giving up your vehicle to go back to a 1950s car? No air conditioning...no GPS to navigate you through the country side...no DVD systems to entertain the kids...and no seatbelts! Would you ever dream of putting your child in a car with no seat belts? What about starting one of those cars in the dead of winter? I've watched the movie A Christmas Story, and that scene wasn't very pleasant.
How about the modern electronics we use every day in our homes? The beautiful refrigerators that make their own ice, electric ovens, color televisions with more than 200 channels, garage door openers, coffee makers or microwaves. I realize most of these items were invented or in making their debuts in some homes during the 1950s, but they definitely were not the norm. Forget computers, internet, iPods or cell phones -- that was space-age.
Medical advances. Think of the research and diagnosing tools we use today. Think of what doctors didn't have or could not diagnose. The medicine we have available today versus 1950. Wow. Do you want to go back to a life in 1950? What about giving up everything today and taking your family back in time to live in 1930? Sure, times were much simpler, but think of all of the problems and issues families dealt with. Think about what they "wished" for themselves, their children and future generations.
As a farmer's wife and mother to four young children, I know I take things for granted. I'm sure there are many Americans and people world-wide taking their everyday routines and belongings for granted. We are human. We have evolved through the decades and centuries to make our lives easier and better.
Why should farmers be told, or directed, that today's practices are wrong and we should "Go back to the way things use to be?"
Today, a farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, one farmer fed only 26. Today, our tractors and combines are mostly run off of computers...dropping one seed every six inches for proper placing of a corn plant. Our sprayers and manure spreaders are also monitored by computers to spread correct amounts of nutrients over our precious soils. The cross breeding of plants to produce a seed appropriate for my farm in Iowa is completely different than a farmer would plant in Kansas. Animals are cared for in temperature-controlled buildings year round, instead of outside in negative temperatures with cold wind chills. We are professionals. We take pride in doing our job for the environment and food supply. Technology is playing a special role in everyone's lives, especially on our family farm.
Nathan (my husband), current time, checking seed planting length in ground with his modern equipment.
Advances in research, genetics and equipment that farmers use today should be no different than advances in medicine or electronics...or everyday items we all use. We have evolved and keep evolving with knowledge, facts and thorough testing. It's amazing the advances we all have sitting in our homes, offices, shops and machine sheds. I would love to give my great-grandpa a ride in the tractor I get the honor of driving today as the seventh generation on my family farm. I don't know where I'd begin just trying to explain everything it can do!
And why? Love.
Love for our land, our family, our heritage and our future. Not only providing a safe food supply to our neighbors, but our world.
Rachel Fishback, of Washington, Iowa, farms with her husband, Nathan, in Southeast Iowa. They raise corn, soybeans and four children on their farm. Rachel enjoys blogging about family life and showcasing farming and her modern day agriculture practices at
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