Experiences of our youth are forever with us! On the farm you got up early to do chores before school. When you came home from school you had more chores and the double duty of homework. This had the affect of producing responsibility as well as teaching priorities. If you failed to do the chores on a timely basis, animals suffered, production of foodstuffs suffered. If you failed to do your homework, you suffered!
Teachers in a rural area usually understood the busy seasons of the year and dished out homework accordingly. Education was an important element in bringing up the youth and athletic programs would usually take a back seat to homework and farming. In more recent years, with fewer farms and less population, schools consolidated to survive economically. That meant longer travel times to school and sports activities. This allowed less time at home for children to do chores and lessened the possibility of expanding livestock production.
With the advent of larger tractors and equipment used on these larger farms (due to less population), crop production and livestock production (including dairy) became more specialized in nature. Many of these larger farm operations required additional constant labor throughout the day, thereby reducing the dependence on the children. Instead of strictly being a “family" business it became “big business". Generally accepted practices using chemical weed control, less manure based nutrient application (known as chemical fertilizers) became the norm. This did reduce the need for much weed control and the labor it required.
There is a viable and respected movement to “Sustainable Agriculture" which produces “organic" and “natural" foods. This type of agriculture does require more labor and very critical balancing of crop and livestock nutrients. Much of this employs the time-tested proven methods used by older generations. This type of farming avoids many of the problems mentioned in the following paragraph.
Compare the prevalence of certain weeds that in the past did not cause a problem. Now be reminded that chemical weed control is selective to the genetic makeup of the weeds and all plant life. The result is allowing uncontrolled species to easily propagate. In addition to chemical weed control, consider that certain weeds as well as crops utilize certain balances of nutrients with which to grow. Many problems are created by humans themselves!
My discussion here is not to promote one method over another, but simply to give thought and maybe explain some changes in farming over recent years.
Farming of all types still requires dedication and determination. Weather, disease and finances are outside influences that affect farming. Being in the game requires that all challenges must be met head on regardless of how the hand is dealt.
When you take into consideration the few subjects (among many not listed here) in this article you realize experiencing this kind of life is to be undertaken with an attitude of learning and doing. This is the “Farm Experience"! It lives on within you every day.
The small business and “Farm Experience" is the most reliable source of “Common Sense" available anywhere today. The creators of the Constitution all were farmers and small business owners-NO professional politicians! Your memories and dreams were formed because of your experiences. Richard Monson has put together farming videos and stories of earlier times. Enjoy a visit at: http://OldFarmTechnology.com/13811