Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska
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Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

Farming is like Planning a Wedding

November 30, 2011Crops, Farmers and Ranchers, General Ag

Crop farming is a little bit like planning a wedding with at least a full year-long engagement. Men out there, tune in here… you may be able to use what I’m about to write to help put your wedding day (or your daughter’s) in a light you can relate to. Girls, tuck this little bit of “marrying a farmer” ammunition away in your memory bank for when it is most needed!

As I type this, farmers are caring for the soil in their fields. They are either shredding the corn stalks or allowing cows to graze them so there will be less material to try to plant through next spring. Plus, when the stalks get shredded up, they do a better job of working their way into the topsoil and start breaking down as organic matter. Farmers are also contracting crop inputs (seed, fertilizer, weed control) for next year. All of this would be similar to reserving the church and caterer and communicating plans to the wedding party.

Some fertilizer can be applied this fall before the snow flies – yep, we just purchased the bridesmaid’s dresses here, girls. They are lovely and they always cost more than we want them to, but, they are absolutely necessary for the perfect wedding.

wedding ringAll through the winter, farmers will be delivering grain to elevators, feed yards, and ethanol plants. This grain may have been sold previously for delivery during a certain month. That would have been part of that earlier mentioned planning. I’m not quite sure how this part compares to wedding planning except that there are a large number of farmers and truck drivers who make the most of sitting in line by doing a lot of visiting. Girls really, really like to talk about their wedding plans.

By late winter and early spring, farmers get all of their equipment field-ready and pick up their seed, so the first day they can run, they don’t have anything slowing them down. I’m thinking all of this is similar to hiring the music for the dance and lining up the photographer, not to mention, getting the engagement pictures taken. We cannot have a thing go wrong on the big day!

When planting season hits, it’s all out field work time. Distractions are not welcome! This is where flowers, invitations, and gift registries MUST be completed.

Through the summer, there is some work of weed control and possibly irrigation, depending on geography. The crops are growing and barring a terrible hail storm, the crop is made. Now is when a bride or groom-to-be can start feeling reality set in and begin to second guess. Have no worries – if everything was thought out well and all communication passed along, the wedding and marriage will be just fine.

Finally – fall rolls around and here we are at harvest time – the WEDDING DAY!  All of that work, planning, purchasing, waiting, trusting in products and mother-nature – it all comes to fruition and is here and gone before we know it. We all say we spend a year planning for 20 minutes when we are talking about our wedding. Harvest certainly lasts more than 20 minutes, but it really is the enjoyable, rewarding part of farming.

So, now that harvest is done…well, we are working on making all kinds of decisions for next year’s crop. Isn’t it hard to imagine an occupation where you get your entire year’s paycheck in one month? Of course, that grain can be hauled in over time and the payments spread out, but if the grain isn’t in the bin, there isn’t food on the table for the family.  Farmers have to be excellent at budgeting and business practices, as our bank accounts tend to look like feast or famine, depending on what time of year it is. Happy marriage!