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Farming 101Posted Monday, August 4, 2008, at 9:22 AM
Living in the city for years didn't teach me about farming. Not many city folk have need for a tractor, combine, or other farm implements, and the public schools I went to didn't spend much time on Ag education, or I wasn't paying much attention which could be entirely possible too.
I had some farming relatives when I was a kid, but my time on the farm was limited to a visit of a few hours and were not much of an educational experience. The things I clearly remember from those visits was the butchered chickens and the resulting headless parade, the cream separator, a hand water pump in the kitchen, the rain barrel, and the gravel roads to get there. So now that we live in farm country, I really want to understand why my neighbors do what they do in the fields, the timing involved, and how they go about accomplishing their goal.
In my quest for information, my neighbors have been very willing to share their farming knowledge such as why there is silk on corn, and showing me the operation of farming equipment. I kinda feel like a kid wanting to learn something fun and new, but bothering my neighbor with "childish" questions probably makes them wonder where in the world I came from.
With that in mind here is a list of topics that I think could be included in a Farming 101 advanced education class for people like me...
Vehicle operations. Covers multiple vehicle types from typical passenger and off road vehicles through all types of heavy equipment including off camber and slippery condition operations as well as vehicle recovery. Sometimes the tractor gets stuck!
Diesel Mechanics - Fix your tractor, combine, or other diesel power equipment.
Auto Mechanics - Fix your farms pickup truck.
Building Construction/Maintenance - Includes concrete, roofing, carpentry etc.
Animal Husbandry - How livestock do their thing.
Horticulture - How plants do their thing.
Meteorology - Is it raining and if not, when?
Entomology - How bugs do their thing.
Chemistry - Compounds designed to improve crops, kill weeds, or destroy insects.
Plumbing - Those center pivots pump it and livestock need it!
High Tech - GPS, computers, and robotics OH MY!
Crops - What can be grown.
Crop Rotation - Sustainable farming principals explained.
Basic Electricity - It's nice to have a light in the barn!
The Commodity Market - Selling Ag products to the highest bidder.
Business Management - Keeping the books straight and making a profit.
Legal Issues - What can get you into trouble?
This is just my first few thoughts about farming and farmers knowledge level. You really can't teach a lot this stuff as OJT (on the job training) is probably the best teacher, but getting a better basic understanding of what goes on just outside my front door is high on my priority list, and a Farming 101 course is just what I could use.
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