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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
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I Farm You Eat

A Good Reminder

     Back in the summer of 2017 when the weather was more normal than today I stopped at the Shelby County Soil Conservation office to ask a question that I had for them. While I was in the office I noticed a stack of bumper stickers that they were giving away. I asked if I might take one, and they told me I could.
              The bumper sticker was green with white lettering, and I thought it was amusing. It simply stated, “I farm, you eat”. I attached the bumper sticker to the rear bumper of my farm pick up truck and did not think a whole lot more about it for several months.
              Over the past 10 days or so we have all experienced the perils of sustained sub-freezing weather. The temperature here on the farm has not exceeded the 32° measure since Christmas Eve. Everything outside has been victimized by the unrelenting cold. The ground has frozen and  heaved so much that I cannot get my barn doors open without great difficulty. My vehicles are hard to start. I have to plug in the motor block heater to get my tractor started. Even the firewood we burn in our wood-burning stove is stuck together as a result of the cold weather.
              I live on a family farm. We have livestock. We have a garden. We call ourselves farmers. But I must clarify that my farming is on a very small scale compared to some of my neighbors around me. They work much longer hours and spend far more time outside than I do.
              I have great respect for those full-time farmers who must endure the heat and cold that is a part of living here in Kentucky. They do indeed grow the foods we eat. Many Americans today forget the demands placed on farmers in the cold of winter. Even the simple task of raising chickens to provide your own eggs is challenging in cold weather. The chicken feed freezes in the bag and you must break it apart in order to feed the chickens. Their water source freezes up so you must find ways to keep their water accessible. And last but not least, you must gather the eggs before they freeze in their nest. All of that is part of farm living.
              My hat’s off to the true farmers here in Kentucky. This is a difficult winter. We have to deal with the cold. I have been breaking ice daily on my pond in order that my cattle can have water to drink. Warmer weather will come eventually. The grass will be green and the trees will produce leaves. We will forget these cold days eventually. But I hope we do not forget the many people here in Shelby County who live and work on the farm. It is because of them that we have food to eat that is healthy and nutritious. I am truly proud to have that green bumper sticker on my truck. Because they farm, I eat!