On the Farm: Embracing change

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On the Farm by Glenn Ells

 

This is Nov. 1, and after the morning fog lifted, we have bright sunshine and enough heat that steam is rising from the wet ground. The fringe of the huge weather system that was called Superstorm Sandy in the U.S.A. didn’t have much impact here, except for the rainfall on Wednesday.

We often see steam rising after a rain in the summer, when warm sunshine follows rain, but I’ve not seen it happen in November before today. Now that I’ve written this, the above clouds have blocked the bright sunshine and removed the sparkle from the landscape. Another example of the constant change that makes living in this Valley so interesting.

This is a story in today’s “Comical-Herald” business section about an efficiency software that will be launched early next year by a dairy farmer in Port Hood. He calls it “fireblade software” and it monitors real-time data on cattle farms to enable farmers to improve their efficiency.

I wish him well and take this opportunity to point out that most of the significant advance in our industry are conceived on a farm. It reminds me of a couple of stories related to efficiency that tell of the early efforts of agricultural extension workers trying to convince stubborn, established farmers to change their ways of doing things.

In the first story, the worker was getting a polite hearing from the farmer as he explained the latest, more efficient way to do things on the farm. After a fairly long presentation, filled with suggestions, the farmer was asked what he thought. His reply was: “Your ideas are interesting, but I don’t have time to farm as well as I know how.”

In the second story, a young extension worker visited a farmer who was feeding whole grains to his hogs. This was such an opportunity to explain how grinding the grain would be better that the visitor went on at length, explaining the experimental works that proved how much sooner pigs could go to market just by grinding the ir feed.

He felt that he had made a very convincing case and was completely floored when the old farmer said, “Hell, young feller, what is time to a hog?”

Farmers today are much more likely to embrace new ideas than those in these stories from long ago – their very survival depends on it.

Geographic location: Port Hood

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