Filed under: Food + Health, Society + Media | Tags: crops, drought, Farmers, flood, hunter-gatherer, meteorology, mother nature, nutrition, silt, The Farmers Almanac, weather
I have gained a profound respect for the small-scale farmers who dedicate their time and energy to grow healthy food for themselves and their neighbors. It is a daunting task to compete with commercial operations while still turning a profit. Locating a market that appreciates your produce for its nutritional value and the positive impact it has on the local economy is half the battle.
There are so many factors that influence a farmer’s livelihood. I have realized that weather is probably the most important aspect that determines if it will be a productive year for farmers. Water is one of the most crucial elements needed for plants to grow. A drought is the one of the worst natural disasters that a farmer can face. It can destroy crops and has the potential to make a farmer give up working the land all together. The other side of this weather phenomenon is excessive rain and flooding. They can be beneficial in replenishing soil with nutrient-rich silt but in an urban setting this could also bring about a slew of toxins and trash as well. Farmers put their faith in the hope of receiving decent weather. They are at the mercy of Mother Nature and have little control over it.
Timing is everything. The weather in Kansas ranges from sweltering summers to frigid winters and everything in between. Knowing when to plant can come down to a guessing game rather than a scientific prediction. Farmers have long relied upon The Farmers Almanac to guide their farming decisions. It informs them when the best time to plant is and when to harvest. Only in recent years has meteorological science advanced to the point where it can offer valuable information about impending frosts, or like this year, April snow. It still isn’t perfect, by any means, but can make the difference between the life and death of the crops.
Farming is unlike the typical 21st century job. It has been a part of our civilization since we transitioned from hunter-gatherers, thousands of years ago. We have thrived as a civilization because of farming and we owe it to ourselves to continue the tradition and keep growing.
By: Matt Bristow
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