Lee Pitts: Too many don’t understand how hard being a farmer really is
April 29, 2016
To hear Mr. and Mrs. Urban Airhead talk, you'd think farming and ranching are activities we engage in for our own foolish pleasure.
They talk about how much water we waste as if we are filling our Olympic-size swimming pools with it. I know I wake up every morning and the first thing I think of is, "How much water I can waste today?"
Why can't city-slickers get it through their thick skulls that we aren't wasting water, but are using it to produce food so they can eat? Is it that hard to grasp that food comes from thirsty plants and animals?
I hear this nonsense all the time from urban friends. They think we lead a fairy tale existence and have such an idyllic lifestyle not having to punch a clock, as we ride our gentle horses, dismounting only to pick wildflowers. They know nothing about the evil equine who bucked me off in a rock pile and kicked me in the chest before running back to the house leaving me to limp four miles in pointy toe cowboy boots with an undershot heel, thinking, "I haven't had this much fun since my last colonoscopy. I hope I get to do this again real soon."
It's true, we may not have to punch clocks, but we punch cows. This means we have to get up every three hours at night for three months in order to venture into the freezing cold just to strip to the waist and stick an arm up the rear end of a heifer. And whoopee, we get to repeat the chore three hours later. Now that's my idea of fun, fun, fun!
Because the most dangerous thing most city folks encounter in their daily lives is the kill-or-be-killed possibility of slipping on an organic peanut at Whole Foods, they have no idea of the dangerous things we do so they can feed their faces. They think our lives are one great big Mountain Oyster Festival with a rodeo and a Reba concert.
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Urbanites think we're being cruel to animals when we venture into the great outdoors in sub-zero temperatures on Christmas Day to balance on the back of a truck to throw hay out that cost $9,000 a truck load. "Boy oh boy, this is more fun than mucking out the barn!"
Sometimes I feel like screaming like a baby lamb in the clutches of an eagle when city people say stuff like, "You're so lucky to live with nature and getting to enjoy all the cute and fuzzy animals." I wonder, are they referring to the warm and cuddly wolves who rip baby calves apart, or the pack of town dogs that killed five of my pregnant ewes and made 13 others abort?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we don't have our enjoyable moments. Like taking the first vacation in 30 years, and where do we go? To an industry confab to fill a swag bag full of free cotton gloves and insecticide ear tags. If we're lucky, maybe we'll get to sit through a three hour seminar to determine our "sustainability". Later, we'll be treated to an evening of the world's worst fake cowboy poetry that doesn't rhyme.
Look at us, aren't we spoiled rotten?
One wonders, if we're having so much fun wasting water and beating on poor defenseless animals, why can't we keep the country kids down on the farm? They are leaving in droves to live in the city where they don't have to put up with wolf kills, 14-hour work days and bureaucrats who don't produce anything and try to make it as hard as possible for you to produce anything either.
One solution to the farmer and rancher problem would be for all of them to just quit and collect unemployment. That way they wouldn't waste any water. My guess is it wouldn't be long before the 330 million people in this country would be killing each other over a few wild berries and pine nuts. School kids might actually eat their lunch in the cafeteria and vegetarians would give every cent they have for a T-bone steak. They'd annihilate every endangered species and their own pets to put some protein in their diet.
Run for your lives Muffy, Buffy and Fluffy!