“Man – despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments – owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” – Paul Harvey
As a child, I remember lying on the floor in front of the T.V. watching Saved By The Bell, The Muppet Babies or Beakman’s World except when my dad came in the house at either exactly 12:15pm or 5:15pm. At those exact times, you would change the channel to the local news because that’s the exact time they would have the weather forecast. He didn’t have to ask (or tell). We just knew to immediately change the channel. Because there was NOTHING more important than a farmer catching the 10-day forecast twice a day. Even more important than when Zack kissed Jessie during that high-school Shakespeare play when he was Romeo and Jessie was Juliet.
Weather to the farmer predicts everything. When to plant. When to harvest. When to buy. When to sell. When to call in the Insurance man. When to throw in the towel. I really can’t think of anything that has more of an impact on overall success or failure as the weather.
So when I heard the weather lady say we’re supposed to get two months of rain in the next five days, I kinda threw up a little.
This is on top of the record-pace setting February we’ve already had. On top of the 129-year record-setting 2018 rainfall for the Tennessee Valley and on top of 2017 also being extremely wet.
I would say the row crop farmers are able to patiently wait at this point. They may be eager to get in the fields to do some plowing in preparation for spring planting, but they can wait a little longer till things dry out (hopefully). But cattle farmers aren’t as lucky. Cattle farmers are most likely in the four month of putting out hay bales. And unless you run on complete concrete, you are tearing up your pastures to get your cows hay when the ground is this wet. Pigs love mud, but when it’s this wet, they’re bellies are practically dragging in said mud. And that could cause some infections. Same for cattle. We put hay out for them to eat. We also put (cheaper) hay out for them to lie on, because they aren’t pigs. They’re too prissy to lie in mud. Many cattle farmers are looking at breeding soon. If you’re timing insemination, you have to really prepare when you start and finish those protocols as to make sure you’re not doing it all during a rain storm. Because who wants to get pregnant while rain goes up your nose and in your ears? Not me.
Farmers are the ultimate opportunists. I mean who else gets punched in the face more than a farmer and keeps coming back year after year. But we also can be a pretty whiny group. I know I shouldn’t complain about this rain, because we could be in a drought by the end of the summer. But if the sun could shine for like an hour, I’d be happy.
Think of your farmers this week in the southeast. Instead of turning up your nose when the Herdsman has to go in Wal-mart barefoot to get diapers because his boots are caked in mud, maybe offer to buy him some dry socks instead. Motto this week isn’t Eat The Dirt. It’s Eat The Mud. There’s plenty to go around.