Category Archives: Farming

Farmer Firefighters

The neighbor farmer had a fire this week. It was the first fire of Harvest 2016 and probably will not be the last. The farmer firefighters arrived quickly to help out.

I was cutting a turf type fescue field when I turned the corner and saw smoke. I immediately called my dad and then my uncle. My dad was not near our truck. However my uncle was near his and when I said “Fire” and where it was he responded with “On our way!”

Farmer Firefighters

View from the edge of our Fescue field right after it started

All local farmers have at least one water truck. Our hot dry summers and crisp dry grass straw increase the fire risk. Our water trucks are the best insurance to protect our crops and equipment.

Farmer Firefighters

Our Water Truck, I love this truck.

Farmer Firefighters

My Uncle’s Water truck

 

The farmer of the field was already heading down the lane with his water truck. My uncle was the next to arrive. The fire department didn’t arrive until at least 10 minutes after my uncle.

The local fire departments are volunteer. It takes some time for them to get on their way. This is not a criticism, it is just the way it is.

Often times the farmers have the fire under control or out by the time the departments arrive. Farmer firefighters are crucial to our rural farming communities. When possible we help protect our neighbors’ equipment and crops.

 

Farmer Firefighters

View from my windrower

Farmer Firefighters

The view from the other side. We were concerned it was near our wheat field.

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Filed under Farming, Grass Seed

The Sunshine Sprint

The last two springs the sunshine has been abundant. We were able to get done with our spring fertilizing by mid March. But this year the sunshine has been hit and miss. Since January we have had 20 inches of rain and nearly 8 inches in March.

Now every time the sun shines for more than a day we sprint to get everything done that we can in good weather!

We had a brief break in the rain in February. We were able to fertilize our wheat and plant Austrian Winter Peas and turf type fescue during this period.

Me planting Peas at the end of February

 

Peas are coated to protect from disease & pests

But then the rain came back and decided to dump another two inches this month.

Currently, we have a stretch of good weather in front of us. We have to get as much done as possible while it lasts. Basically, the sunshine sprint.


I started the week fertilizing the peas that I planted the month before during the nice weather. Now my husband is working on fertilizing annual ryegrass while I drive truck.

Let’s hope the stretch of nice weather lasts for a bit. Things need to waken up, dry out and grow!

 

Fertilizer Buggy

 

Marie Bowers

Typically my husband runs the buggy, but he was sick at the beginning of the week. I do love driving equipment!

Marie Bowers

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Filed under Agriculture, Farming, Grass Seed

Support Family Farms

Support Family Farms.

I saw this on a bumper sticker on my way home from the field Friday night. Taking a closer look, I realized the slogan was associated with a recent “Anti-GMO” campaign*.

I have seen this messaging used before in “Anti GMO” campaigns.  It continues to boggle my mind.

Ninety-eight percent of the farms in the United States and 98% of farms in Oregon are family owned and operated. Family farms come in many sizes, structures and types.  They use different methods & technologies, choosing what is best for their farms and family.  This includes using GMOs, more accurately known as genetic engineering or biotechnology. 

A quick google search of “Support Family Farms” immediately lists three organizations that claim to do just that.  However, these groups loudly advocate against biotechnology, corporations and whatever a “factory farm”** is.  In their world only if you are small, organic and sell locally then you are a family farmer. Everyone else is Big Ag and controlled by corporations.

My family farm, that I am 5th generation on, does not fit in their box. It is not small, nor organic and we are a corporation. Often I find myself testifying in the legislature on bills that would directly impact our farm. The people testifying against my position are usually associated with the aforementioned organizations.

If these groups support family farms like they claim, then how can they take the opposite stance of me and other family farmers?

Election Day is two months away. Many campaigns, groups & politicians will say they support family farms. If their definition of family farm is anything other than the fact that it is owned and operated by a family then it is wrong.  Especially if their agenda includes singling out one type of farming method and thus ultimately limits ALL farmers’ choices.

If  you hear “We Support Family Farms” think critically about how the candidate or ballot measure might impact my family farm or others like mine.

There is room for all types of farms, family and otherwise.

Bowers Family Farm

Family photo from a few years ago at our family farm. Four generations pictured.

 

*An “Anti-GMO” campaign is one that advocates for restrictions, bans or labels on biotechnology or genetic engineering. Currently in Oregon there is ballot measure 92 that would require to label food products that contain or may contain ingredients that were produced using genetic engineering. Which I will be sharing more about later.

**Factory farm is a bogus term. There are farms that are vertically integrated, which means they include most, if not all, of the steps between the farm and fork. A factory farm does not exist.

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Filed under family, Farming, GMOs