Weather and Farming

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I think one of the hardest things for me to help people understand about farming is the absoute risk that it brings.  Much of that risk is there because there are so many variables that we can't control.  One of the main things I"m talking about here...the weather!


Now here in the Pacific Northwest we are extrememly lucky to not have truly extreme weather.  Our seasons are pretty consistent, for example we start harvest at the same time of year that my grandpa did in the 40's.  So I'm not talking about the overall climate shifts that happen over hundreds of years.  The weather I'm talking about is that day to day forecast, the hour to hour changes that occur since we live so close to the ocean, that is the risk that we have here.  It's the moment when you spray some herbicides knowing that it's not going to rain for another 3 hours, so you have good drying time...and then it begins to rain as you are driving out of the field...not a good feeling!


It would be like if you went to work everyday and every now and again all the work on your computer would reset, randomly.  Yes sometimes you would get a clue in the morning on the news, "Your work will start to diminish by 2pm today, with it all being completely gone by that work!"  But then you work like crazy knowing that you have until 2, 6 at the latest.  When instead it all comes at noon...and your work is all gone.


That may not be the best example, but it's that kind of stress that is so hard to deal with.  We haven't had much rain around here for awhile.  And this time of year is when we are both harvesting hazelnuts, and also trying to get our winter crops into the ground, while also taking care of the perennial crops that are still in the ground.  So rain, while good for many crops, causes mud, which causes headaches and sets us back.


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Once the rain comes...the slugs are always close behind...and hungry!!  They come out of the ground from two feet deep to come and eat our crops!


Rain is coming this next week, at least that is what the weather man keeps telling us.  So the level of "GO" has gone up a notch because when rain hits now, there is this scary feeling like it won't stop for enough time to dry the mud to get back out there.  So we were planting like crazy, harvesting like maniacs, fertilizing and spraying.  It was one of those times when you could use another 3 workers to help you out and jump on a tractor!


So while I sit here today and the sun is still shining while we finish up our projects for now, this time I'm feeling pretty good about the rain that's about to hit.  It doesn't all work out like this and one of the biggest lessons I've learned when you see rain in the forecast, you just get done what you can get done.  Doing the best you can, is the best that you can!!

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.