Changing with the times
It is no secret that we live in an ever-changing world where time waits for no man, and it seems as though things are never the same from one day to the next. We in agriculture see change all around us, and when you think back over the last century there have been significant changes within agriculture. It wasn’t that long ago that a hundred horsepower tractor pulling a six-row planter was common practice. These days you might not be able to find parts for them! I think back to the stories that my grandpa would tell me about farming the high plains of eastern Colorado. His farming career began by driving mules pulling a breaking plow. They would farm a quarter of ground with three teams, changing teams at each end of the field to allow them to rest. If they farmed more than five acres a day, it was a productive day.
The mules were replaced by a Ford 8N tractor. They went from farming a single row at a time to a two-row planter. Overnight they doubled their production. Fields that would take a week to plant could now be done in three days. During World War II a failed physical prevented my grandpa from military service, but he did his civic duty by farming and ranching on a government contract, providing beef and pinto beans to the army. It was during this time that time changed again and Grandpa began farming with a Minneapolis-Moline Model U and again doubled his production by going to a four row planter. In a span of 20 years Grandpa had gone from farming with mules, to a tractor that could do four times the work in less than half the time.
When you think about it, the advancements that have been made in production agriculture in the last century have been staggering. We now have the technology to link tractors with combines so that they can match speeds, drive themselves, and work autonomously. Fields that used to take weeks to work, now can be farmed in a matter of hours.
We in the ranching world are not immune to change either. We produce more beef, with less cattle than ever before. We have learned how to use genetics to our advantage, and by integrating good range management and rotational grazing practices, we have improved vast swaths of range. By developing water sources, we have allowed cattle to utilize their grazing lands more efficiently. Thanks to improvements in vaccines and animal health, we are better able to produce a wholesome and nutritious product for the end consumer.
I have to sit back and wonder what the next 100 years of agriculture will bring. I am proud to be working everyday to improve upon those that came before me, and strive to leave a legacy for my children to take over and improve upon again one day. One thing is certain, there is no other industry that produces the kind of people that agriculture does. Throughout the years farmers and ranchers continue to be the hardest working, most genuine people to walk the earth. The reward for our labor may not be a large paycheck, but we get to be close to God’s creation, and spend everyday blessed by the fruits of our labor.
That’s all for this time. Do your part to be a change for the better and take care of your side of the Barbed Wire. God Bless.
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