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Saturday, February 4, 2012

A short post about farming and human nature.

I am a bit disillusioned with the whole concept of the noble farmer as expressed in the FFA creed.
I believe in the future of farming with a faith born not of words but of deeds... the promise of better days through better ways... and something about the owl being a symbol of wisdom and knowledge and soil judging and public speaking contests where I made up entire speeches in fifteen minutes based on information I had gleaned from Monty Python skits.
But, I digress...
My neighbor came by with a petition to sign and send to the ODA. Some of us want to plant canola.
Canola and other brassica's are restricted in our part of the state due to lobbying efforts of the specialty radish growers.
The specialty radish growers have a pretty sweet deal.
The one seed company that puts out the good contracts has the farmer psychology down pretty well. The field man comes out and tells you what a good farmer you are and kind of intimates that it is hard to find good farmers who can get the radish planted in a timely manner.
Then they micromanage the planting. Everything has to be done at the drop of a hat, but this makes the farmer feel really special. Like they are doing "God's" work or something.
In reality, radish contaminates the ground and the seed company is not looking for good farmers with BIG equipment as much as someone with virgin radish ground and a good sprayer.
Here is the funny part.
Farmers have been growing tillage radish. In my opinion they get by with it because they are the "right" farmers and because it is radish and not canola. The seed company guy just hates canola and mustard and that is what is on his radar.
There was a meeting early in the week and there was a heated discussion.
It is funny because all farmer think they invented the concept of growing what ever crop they read about in some paper from the midwest and they don't want anyone telling them what to do... Unless it is a slick seed salesman who tells them how wonderful they are and what good farmers they are and gives them a hat.
But that is just my opinion and I'm sure I have some facts wrong.
I've never been offered a radish contract so I'm just annoyed.


  1. The specialty seed companies are really worried that the roundup ready gene from canola will turn up in their export radish seed and then the Asians will never but from them again.

  2. G706-So we have another reason to hate Monsanto... But my argument was funnier and it applies to a broader spectrum of "specialty crops" and the operating philosophy of that specific seed company.

  3. I find it hard to believe that there is more demand for radishes than canola oil.. We can plant wall to wall canola here if we care to, as long as we pay Monsanto's tech fee. Or else grow a non gm variety. I have a feeling it will more likely be wall to wall wheat here this year since we have now been freed of the oppressive yoke of the Canadian Wheat Board and we will now be able to sell our wheat south of the border for the same high prices that the U.S. farmers get. (Thats me being sarcastic) Quite frankly I was satisfied with the CWB and don't think we are going to be any better off without it. Time may prove me wrong.

  4. Obviously, the canola people need new hats amd better seed salesmen.

  5. Sounds too confusing for my feeble mind; I think I'll just keep pestering people on the telephone until my job is outlawed, my employer goes bankrupt or I'm fired for really sucking at my job.

  6. When you talk about radishes are you talking about the little red things I use in salads? They damage the soil in some way? This is genuine ignorance on my part, not that ignorance is any surprise to those who know me.

    Grace and peace.


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