So, during my perpetual hunt for blog post topics, I happened to ask my boyfriend, Tim, what I should write about. As an agronomy major at Illinois State University, he’s building quite the library of jargon, scientific terms, and soil-related information.
Needless to say, the ideas Tim tossed at me went way of my head. The only words I recognized were “nitrogen,” “lime,” “silt,” “loam,” and “balance.” The rest of the words were about 8 syllables long and terrified me a little bit.
I know farming. I don’t know farming science. And you know what? For every type of farming there is, there’s a unique science. And some farmers are incredibly diversified, which means they have to be experts in a wide variety of subjects.
For instance, a beef or dairy farmer/rancher that raises their own forage and feed. That farmer must know how to raise the crops. Not only that, but they have to know how to raise the crops to be most beneficial for their animals. They have to be well-versed in the digestive needs of their animals. They have to understand all the risks and benefits of a specific feed regimen. There is also the fact that dairy and beef cattle may have different nutritional needs.
Don’t even get me started on the farmers that raise more than one type of crop. I’m familiar with some of the variations between soybeans, corn, and wheat care. I’m familiar with them, not exactly an expert. In fact, my knowledge of the variations is fairly shallow as compared to the scientific knowledge that real farmers have about their crops. And they have to be an expert on every crop.
Imagine how much knowledge multi-crop farmers need. Whether they’re mass-production conventional or small organic or mass-production organic or alternative or hydroponic or…well, the list goes on.
Farmers have to be geniuses of their field. Their land, animals, and income depend on them being masters of their trade. A shallow amount of knowledge could have major consequences. Every day, I’m reminded of how hard-working, intelligent, creative, intuitive, and diversified farmers are.
So, there’s some food for thought. Thank a farmer, because they spend every day learning how to create healthy, bountiful food for the world.