Definition: Drought

Drought– a period of dryness especially when prolonged; specifically: one that causes extensive damage to crops or prevents their successful growth. 

If there was one word to describe the Midwestern summer of 2012, it’s drought. Everywhere I drive in Missouri the corn is dried to a crisp.

These soybean plants near St. Charles, Mo., looked alright from afar, but up close were  d-r-y.

Missouri is under a state of emergency with “97 of 114” counties in severe drought. Unfortunately that includes my home county, and St. Charles county (the beans above).

Check out how the drought is impacting other states with the U.S. drought monitor.

The crops aren’t the only thing that’s dry. Think about your lawn or other growing fields of grass. Cows don’t have anything to graze on. So farmers (including my family) are selling cattle to make up for crop they have lost to the extreme heat and minimal rain.

Harvest Public Media says so many farmers are selling cattle that some media outlets are declaring this a “Cowpocalypse” (which should actually be an Agri-Word now that I think about it). “The largest ever-drop in livestock herds.”

Luckily, crop insurance might pad that financial loss for farms. However, farms like mine might be lucky enough to break even.

And as the green grass diminishes, the market prices for these crops are increasing.

How large of a boost in prices?

According to Successful Farming, if crops are considered in the severe drought category: corn prices will reach: $ 7.50/bushel. Soybean prices: $17.25/bushel. Whoa. Talk about sky-high prices.

Not a great year for crop and livestock farmers. It’s not even a good year to run barefoot in the green, green (ok, brown and crunchy) grass.

Why should non-farm folk care? Food prices are going to be significantly higher in 2013.

Therefore, this drought has an impact on us all. No rain will save the crops this year. All we can do is hope for the best, and remain optimistic. But hey, isn’t that what farming and agriculture is all about?

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Gardening

Due to the warm weather, defining garden seems necessary. Webster has three ways to define the word. 

Garden plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated: A rich well-cultivated region, and a container planted with usually a variety of small plants.

I was in North Missouri this week and I played around the farm. The farm is doing so well for an early spring. In fact, it’s been so nice that my mother took time Saturday to work in her garden. This is no ordinary, small garden. When my mother gardens, she goes to town.

Here is what she starts with every year. Do you see all of the weeds growing?

After she plants what she wants in the garden, she waits for it to grow. By mid-summer the garden is filled with wildflowers and some produce. There is some thyme, lavender and mint herbs, too.

Having a garden like this takes a lot of work. While I was growing up, my mother strived worked in her garden (my sibling and I too) all summer pulling weeds, watering flowers and cleaning out the garden pond.

Despite all of the work, this garden is my mother’s love and passion. She laid the brick patio from bricks she found in an old farm house up the road. We gathered at least 100 stones from the side of the road for the pathway you see, and she re-painted an old farm outhouse for her potting shed.

To be honest, I was never a fan of working in the garden, but as I get older I really appreciate all of the hard work that goes into having that area to grow food and flowers.

Have you noticed how gardens are becoming more popular these days? Folks garden for many reasons. Some do it to learn how their food is grown and some people garden just because it’s relaxing. People like to talk about their gardens, too. One Montana farm gal shares her experiences gardening in a blog.

There are also many different kinds of gardens. There are big gardens and little gardens (I even consider crop farming a form of large scale gardening). Gardens for food or just wildflowers. Gardens that use natural fertilizer or store-bought. Round-up or non. The possibilities are endless.

Do you garden? If so, what do you grow? Agri-Word would like you to share pictures of your garden or field during planting time and a little story.

The American Farmer…Defined

After I posted last week’s blog entry, I had tremendous response on Facebook.

One Facebook friend passed along a poem defining a farmer in her mind. I also stumbled upon another blog post discussing it. It inspired me to use it as this week’s post.

I’m a Just a Farmer, Plain and Simple 
Bobby Collier 
I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.
Not of royal birth, but rather a worker of the earth.
I know not of riches, but rather of patches on my britches.

I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.
I know of drought and rain, of pleasure and pain.
I know the good, the bad, the happy and the sad.

I’m a man of emotions.
A man who loves this land and the beauty of its sand.
I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.

I know the spring’s fresh flow and autumn’s golden glow.
Of a new born calf’s hesitation and an eagle’s destination.
I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.

I know of tall pines and long waiting lines.
I know the warmth of campfires and the agony of flat tires.
I’m just a famer, plain and simple.

I’m a man who loves his job
And the life that I live.
I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.
And I’m a reaper of harvest.
I’m the shower of seeds and I’m the tender of stock.
I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.

I know of planting corn and bailing hay and animals going astray.
I live in a complex world, but my faith guides me.
I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.

I am a man who works with God. I cannot succeed without his help.
For you see, I’m just a farmer, plain and simple.