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Honored Advisor

It happened again..... July 4 th

I have a tendency, like most, to come home and visit with someone on a holiday.  Leave the solitude I enjoy for the risk of meeting someone new (no matter how contaminated).  Haven't cut my hair or shaved for a while...... the barber went to appointments and I'm a "walk in" kind of guy, so I was loving the walk by his window while he waits for the "client" that makes him feel better than me.  Then someone decided to politicize the flu and the rest is becoming history.  (bought myself a set of shears, so I can do it myself in solitude.  .......... drop it.   ........... ok.  (I'll be playing myself and my wife today)

Today a neighbor planned a get to gether to meet.  My wife can buy pretty good potato salad so we contributed.   (she's dozing off or that might have terminated my typing so lets move on quickly)  Other neighbors joined in.  The new guy is in the gas and oil equipment business..... so no mask, well traveled, well educated guy.  Moved here to be around grandkids as his daughter works in the hospital where those 800 meat packing cases of covid never actually got treated.  He was a farm boy originally from the Shenandoah, Iowa area.   We talked about travel as older guys do and he asked me if we had been somewhere we liked....... since I don't go too often I mentioned our Iceland trip with hobby and Mrs. Hobby--- still a big memory for us.... will be probably on an eternal basis.  

He said "my brother and I still read SF website and talk about marketing "...... took me by surprise, I don't promote like I did a few years ago.  He continued  "My mother worked at the local library and saved the magazine for me for years after I first left home"

In farming a lot of us are using up capital these days, trying to survive an economic hate fest.  Were smart enough to know that the Amazon experiment in Sears/monkey wards style capitalism will come and go.  The next big thing will come and go.  But today I sat there and thought, in another 20-30 years we will see the passing of a majority of those citizens who had roots in agriculture and went on to build and make this country with that wisdom they attained "back home".  They will be replaced by people who lived in an urban setting and never knew a risk or responsibility before they left home.

Farmers are using up capital at a rapid rate and maybe SF is as well............

It has been a great legacy for us all, raising children on the farm and seeing them leave to do their best in other careers.

What will the future be other than different, as it always is.

3 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: It happened again..... July 4 th

Nothing teaches responsibility like taking care of livestock.

Youngest grand-daughter just loved this last week in ND at her other grand-parents place.

Miss B bottle feeding calf.jpg

Lets be friends.jpg

Her dad grew up helping my dad with the dairy cows and picked up his work ethic there.

Classmate of mine had a new neighbor ask him how he got his kids to do all the work

around the farm since he couldn't get his kids to do much of anything.  Classmate asked him how

old they were and when he told him 9 and 12 classmate answered "too old to learn now".

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: It happened again..... July 4 th

You have to have your "heart" in farming, because sometimes your enjoyment from your work is your only payment.  I talked with a pork producer last night who paid $45 for a weaner and is now marketing a hog for $65 per head ..."I should`ve quit 3 years ago..."   To "be your own boss" in agriculture in the future will require someone owning the hogs and you taking care of them without anything other than perhaps a performance premium.  But to have your own capital at risk is becoming more obvious to those that didn`t learn those lessons with the 8¢ hogs in the 1990s...that canary has been kept alive on the ventilator the last 25 years. 

None of my kids are farmers and to be honest, I`m relieved.  I believe any kid that finds their passion will be a hardworker in that field.  Farming is a mature business, oldest profession, even older than "you know what"  🙂  Even the "you know what" industry is losing out to robots according to the Drudge Report  🙂

I tried to find a list of the maximum number of auto makers in the US, but couldn`t. At one time there were dozens if not 100`s of minor US car manufacturers.  We weeded it down to basically the "Big 3" but out of no where Tesla is eating their lunch. And look at the many changes in Chrysler since Lee Iaccoca, they are a Kraut company with assembly of some models in Mexico. 

I think there will be niche farmers and Tractor Supply wannabe cowboys that buy their clothes and horse feed at TSC and scratch their farming itch by mowing the roadside ditches and keeping their lawns immaculate.  But production agriculture will be more specialized .  With hogs there isn`t the "farrow to finish" of 25 years ago, you might finish hogs or have nursery pigs or work in a sow farrowing operation.  And maybe with crops it`ll be specialized harvesters, chemical fertilizer applicators and they might move with the progression of the crops southern hemisphere to northern hemisphere.  Your job might be only spraying corn, 250 days a year somewhere in the world or fixing the robots that do that job...or fixing the robots that fix the robots that do that job  🙂

Senior Advisor

Re: It happened again..... July 4 th

Good posts guys, and as a reflection of where the ball is going, one probably does need to start thinking about robots and farming. Many decades ago I read a Kurt Vonnegut book called Player Piano that was about losing jobs to technology and it is more apt today obviously than it was back then. 

Once the farms are run by robots and machines, the takeover of farms will be quite easy and we can become a South African clone probably by decree from President Harris. Not a pleasant thought when you think of how many generations worked , and how hard, to keep a viable farm going.

My vote would be not to have robots and to have human beings doing the work, but then I am a guy that thinks we should have stopped with a six row planter and an IH 856 tractor, and maybe a MF 750 combine. Thats what I started out with, and those good old days seem like paradise now.