Water, Water, Everwhere

I know I had mentioned that there might be a video blog post today, but my weekend was a blur. From the time of my arrival in Bloomington on Thursday night, up until coming back to school on Sunday evening, I was swamped. A wedding, farm work, and a barrage of other commitments set me on a fast-track to low productivity as far as media goes.

Well, spending time on the farm did give me an idea for another blog post. The field we were at is terraced, meaning that rows of elevated grass are placed strategically along sloping hills to reduce soil erosion and encourage the eco- and farm-friendly flow of water.
This is an image of the field I’m discussing, as seen on the Satellite View from Google Maps.
This field, from its highest point to its lowest, has a difference in over 40 feet of elevation. That’s a big difference for a field. It can lead to some messy water problems, too. Thus, the terraces were introduced and a balance was struck.
It’s amazing how much of a difference a few feet of elevation can make. There were fairly sizable areas that couldn’t be planted because of standing water or mud wallows. While the wetness is a hindrance now, it’s important to remember just how valuable rain is. Come June, July, and August, the perfect timing of rain is a must for crop development. September and October can be ruined by excessive rain.
While many people say “Corn is King,” I’m a bit more inclined to think that rain is actually the king of agriculture. Water can make or break a field, a farm, and a farmer. Rain can wash away crop treatments like pesticides and fertilizers. Rain can drown seeds and plants. Rain can give life and take it away. Rain commands yield. Rain can waste a day or buy time. It can be your biggest wish or your most notable fear. All of this depends on time placement in the growing cycle, and conditions.
Rain can also bring its rowdy friends. Lightning, tornadoes, high winds, hail. These are generally not what farmers like to see. Entire sects of the insurance industry rely on agriculture’s fear of these weather-related catastrophes.
So, whether you farm, have farmed, know farmers, or none of the above, think about it. Next time it rains, consider when and where. Consider who and what. Chances are, the rain you’re complaining about could be offering stability and welfare to a farmer somewhere. Or, the rain you’ve been wishing for could be delaying harvest, drowning seeds, or causing crop damage.

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