Help Please@ Wheaties:Farmer 5,Tiger Wood

From: Laura K. Paine (lkpaine@facstaff.wisc.edu)
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 10:57:47 EST


Dear Donna and others,

I've got to protest your characterization of Midwestern farmers. Having
grown up in Illinois and having worked with farmers here in Wisconsin for a
number of years, I know of no farmers, grain or livestock that have the
easy, relaxed life you describe. If it were that easy, we'd all be
flocking to farming as a profession, right?

Obviously, there are many fewer mixed livestock and crop farms and fewer
gardens on farms these days, but then, far fewer farmers are able to earn a
reasonable living from their farming and many spouses must, or wish to,
work off-farm (think about who traditionally does the gardening and food
preservation).

Somehow we think that, because a person farms, they should be
self-sufficient. Many of the farm families I know have very busy,
two-career lives, with active, busy kids. Food processing and preservation
is very time consuming. If farmers don't garden or raise livestock, it's
not because they're lazy. They've simply budgeted their limited time to
those things that are most important to them.

Kindest regards,

Laura

At 07:18 AM 1/22/2000 -0600, you wrote:
>Good question and the same one I asked when I moved to Illinois 7 years ago.
>The farmers work long hours in the field twice a year for 6-8 week periods.
>For a month prior to these events they work on their machines to get them
>ready.
>
>If they do not have a day job they spend the rest of the time-every
>morning-at the local cafe shooting the bull. Gardening and family livestock
>are too much work and the garden looks ratty anyway by August.
>
>The common midwest farmer is as detached from his food source as an
>urbanite.
>
>Donna Fezler
>GCR
>Jacksonville, IL
>
>http://www.rhealiving.com
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-sanet-mg@ces.ncsu.edu [mailto:owner-sanet-mg@ces.ncsu.edu]On
>Behalf Of Roberto Verzola
>Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2000 10:10 AM
>To: gwg2@cornell.edu
>Subject: Re: RE: Help Please@ Wheaties:Farmer 5,Tiger Wood
>
>
> >at the current price, the net is probably negative. Thus, farm families
> >growing corn would starve to death if they depended on growing corn to
>feed
> >themselves. If they are eating, it is probably because of subsidies from
> >the government, off-farm work, and depletion of capital, rather than the
> >corn they produce.
>
>Am I missing anything? Why don't they just set aside a portion of the
>land to plant or grow whatever they need to eat, and use only the rest
>of the land for their cash crop? Then they don't have to starve to
>death. More than that, they will find themselves in a better
>negotiating position (because they won't go hungry if they won't sell
>at a loss).
>
>Roberto Verzola
>
>
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Laura Paine
Crops and Soils Agent
Columbia County Agriculture Center
120 West Conant Street
PO Box 567
Portage, WI 53901-0567
608/742-9680
FAX: 608/742-9862
laura.paine@ces.uwex.edu

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