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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Agriculture: An Age-Old Trade

Remember last month when I told you I was writing for a local newspaper about agriculture?  
My first article was titled, "Many Farmers Means Many Choices".

And now my second article has been published.  I hope you enjoy reading about the "age-old trade" of agriculture.


A few weeks ago I was driving along the country roads to hurry home to the farm from a long week working in the city.  As I was reminiscing about last year’s harvest and preparing myself for this year’s, these song lyrics stood out to me, “Wish I was a slave to an age-old trade…..”.

As I racked my brain for what the definition of “age-old” really is, I thought to myself, “its agriculture”.  It’s growing food, raising animals, providing food for others and our families.  So when I got home, I checked the Merriam-Webster just to be sure and it says “very old: having existed for a very long time”.

And it has existed for a long time, agriculture, and even the hunter-gatherer lifestyle some of us choose to partake in.  Being a fourth generation farmer’s daughter and now being a part of a family who has been farming since before Indiana was a state, I know that agriculture is an “age-old” trade.  It is something I embrace and cherish each and every day.  However, I do realize that age-old trades are always developing and improving. 

The genetically modified seeds that we grow and sell are far better than they were in the early days of farming because they produce more with fewer chemicals.  This helps to sustain the land that our children and grandchildren will hopefully farm someday.  We grow better grasses and feed for our animals to consume to help give them a more well-balanced diet, and we now have medicines to help them through pregnancies or sicknesses.  My husband uses modern shotguns to hunt the deer and rabbits we eat; the one shot is better for the animal than the multiple shots or arrows that killed animals centuries ago.  We use technology in our farming equipment like GPS, precision planting devices and yield monitors so we are able to effectively use the land and not overuse products to produce the crops.

So even though farming is an age-old trade, that doesn’t mean we can’t make things better or easier for us.  Technology and the knowledge we have gained about growing our food and animals have developed over the years to make it better and more abundant for all.  The trade is the same—the care of the land, growing crops, delivering it to those that make food and consume it and the raising of livestock to sustain a growing world.  It’s all a part of the process and the trade; 
it’s just different than it once was. 

And it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of the trade.  Many people in today’s society are growing their own food, raising their own animals and more.  Maybe agriculture is a trade we all possess?  And if you feel that you don’t possess it, you are still a part of the trade because you consume what the various types of farmers produce.

Our families have continued the “age-old trade” because it’s in our blood.  Sometimes I say that I have dirt in my DNA because my family has been farming for decades.  I embrace what the trade was and what it has become and I am so excited to see where it will go in the future.

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