Sanders: Technological age | TheFencePost.com

Sanders: Technological age

Do you feel lost when hearing technology discussions? Do terms like Bluetooth, TiVo, PCU, HDTV and mega pixels make you wonder if you have suddenly been transferred to another planet? You can have a good idea of someone's age without seeing them if you ask the right questions. Turn the timeline around. Ask your kids if they have an understanding of 78 and 33 rpm records, LPs or record players. Consider talking to your grandchildren about 8-track tapes and your great-grandchildren should learn about Victrolas and wax cylinders. (Victrola doesn't even appear in my computer spell check.)

Every day is earth day to farmers and ranchers and everyone can celebrate the agricultural sector of our economy. The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says one American farmer annually produces enough to feed 165 people in this modern age. These family farms represent about 99 percent of U.S. farms; that is they are individual, family partnerships or family corporations. Just because the word corporation, a legal entity, appears in a company name does not mean it is a "factory farm," as some say with disdain.

On the farming front, it is a novelty these days to see someone going about their tilling, planting and harvesting using horses for power. Before tractors, that was the best way to get farm work done. Now we have tractors with systems that allow hands-free driving. I am not sure what farmers do during the idle time driving up and down the fields, as they still have to turn the machinery at the end of the field; it's not like it is robots out there doing the work.

The older generation will remember tractors without cabs, and later there were comfort covers in winter and stationary umbrellas for summer. Each of these improvements made life a bit more tolerable. They were the best protections commonly available at the time.

“Before anyone says how easy farmers have it these days, think about the amenities office workers and commuters have. Aren’t these the same features that are considered necessities to most everyone?”

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Now tractors have glassed-in cabs with GPS and sitting in a glass cab requires air conditioning. Heaters and radios are regular amenities. Standard on current tractors include instructional seats, seatbelts, workstations to hold a laptop and, like nearly every vehicle made today, cup holders. Cabs create a healthier atmosphere since volumes of dust aren't as likely to be breathed in and the noise level is filtered to protect hearing.

Before anyone says how easy farmers have it these days, think about the amenities office workers and commuters have. Aren't these the same features that are considered necessities to most everyone?

Fortunately modern planters can be hooked up to digital monitors in the tractor cab to signify when one of the planter boxes is not dispensing seed. The feeder tube might be plugged or it could be some other mechanical problem, but with the notification of a beep, the farmer can stop and rectify the situation.

Farmers' days are as long as they have always been, yet these devices help farmers have better conditions as they do their work more efficiently. ❖