16 June 2011 - Get Your Windshield Education

I have a term I use this time of year when I’m in conversation with my city friends. I suggest that they get a windshield education this summer. So, what is a ‘windshield education’, you ask? Let me try to explain.

We are into the summer vacation season. Many families will be leaving homes in cities and suburbs to travel by planes, trains and automobiles to vacation destinations. I know you will be anxious to get to your vacation destination, but I suggest you make good use of the time between your home and that vacation spot by observing what is happening on both sides of the highway.

You will be traveling through some of the most productive farm land on the planet; land that is farmed and ranched by some of the most productive, efficient, caring people on the planet, the families of farmers and ranchers across the United States.

It is a good opportunity to understand and to help your children to understand that food does not originate on the shelves of the super market. It takes a lot of hard work by these people to get it there, and the challenges they face sometime seem insurmountable. This Spring has been a prime example with dry weather in wheat country, flooding in corn and soybean country, tornadoes destroying farmsteads and spreading debris in farm fields in many parts of the country. A challenging time, indeed. Despite all of the challenges our producers face, you know that when you walk in the door of your super-market, there will be an ample supply of food there.

So, take the time to learn and observe the cattle and hog farms, the dairy farms, the corn, wheat and soybean farms, the vegetable and fruit farms and orchards and remember that 95% of those farms are owned and operated by farm families.

Finally, let me answer one question I know I will get from my readers and listeners because it happens every year about this time. People who travel by airplane across the country to the West Coast look down on farms in the Plains states and see hundreds of circles in the fields. The question comes by phone, letter and e-mail...“why do farmers farm in circles”? I explain they are not made by space aliens, but are made by central pivot irrigation systems that travel in a circle around the well in the center of the field to provide the necessary water to grow the crop. I’m glad the question is asked because it makes for another educational opportunity. Do take the time to get a ‘windshield education’ this summer.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.