Priorities in Farming

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This spring has been wild; and it isn't even officially spring yet!  The weather is incredible, and all the crops and dirt are acting like March is nearing the end instead of just getting started.  I had two calls this week that we need to plant both peas and cabbage sooner rather than later (with the subtle hint that sooner is ASAP).  The ground where these crops are going on one field is bare dirt, on another covered in a cover crop of clover.


Monday we sprang into action working fields down.  It takes awhile, especially when there is a cover crop to disk up into small pieces.  It's also hard because it's time consuming work, all day in the seat of a tractor.  Day after day after day.  Granted it's only Wednesday.  Because of this, plus some added spraying that needed to get done, projects have to be put to the side.  Pruning in the orchard will have to wait until we get the peas and radish planted.  Working on a gate is put to the side, and a porto potty awaits the bolts to make it whole again.



First pass working up the soil for radish.


As you go through days like this it's hard to not want to be frustrated with how small of a crew we run.  We have only four full time employees, and I don't know that I always count as a whole one with Hoot on my hip most of those days.  But that is what you have to do.  You have to just do all you can, so that at the end of the day when you head home and tend to chores around your own place you know that all you have done got done.  You can't ask for anymore than that from yourself or your employees.


So we prioritize constantly on our farm.  The plan for the day changes with just a call from a field man who just looked at your crop, or when the wind picks up and your plans to spray go out the window.  Farming requires flexibility and a constant level of communication on what the plan is now, and what it's probably changing to.  I am always asking myself what do we need to get done first, second and third.  And once we get those done, what are the ten next things to do?  Many times it feels more like logistics than farming, but it's all part of the game.


Weeks like this are exhausting, but I can tell you that they are also the most rewarding when they are all over.  They are also one of the reasons that when you finally get your crop out of the field you know it has all been worth it.

About the Author
Brenda Frketich is a third generation farmer from St. Paul, Oregon. She has been farming full time since 2006 and currently manages her family's 1000 acre farm. They raise grass seed, hazelnuts, crimson clover, wheat, vegetable seeds and peas. She grew up on the farm but never thought that farming was what would be her future. She left her small town to Los Angeles to get a degree in Business. But after years of city living she realized farming was in her blood. Brenda is very involved in many parts of her industry and community. She is a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in her small town. She is involved in Farm Bureau, is a Clover Commissioner, and always tries to find new ways to bridge the gap between her urban neighbors and her rural life of farming. One of the ways she does this is through this blog, and also her personal blog, Brenda is married to Matt Frketich who has also recently started farming with her. They also have a son, Hoot, and old hunting dog, Diesel and farm dog Yukon.