Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Farmers and ranchers live in an ocean of numbers. And like the tide, the numbers - pigs-per-litter, gain-per-pound, bushels-per-acre, dollars-per-bushel - can't be held back; they keep coming and keep adding to our nation's food story.

It is not so much I mind having chosen a career path so vague as to rank somewhere below "illegal alien bus boy" in terms of status, but rather, I get no respect for doing it from my home that really rankles my soul.

I looked down at my lunch plate feeling pangs of guilt. Something was wrong with the picture. My plate held a hot dog in a soft, white bun leftover from my husband's company picnic.

Change is inevitable. We don't have to like it, but we do have to deal with it. You probably want to brush off preparing any kind of emergency plan for your farm operation.

The glowing orange tops of two nearby maples are the first clear announcement that change, despite the day's drilling heat and shirt-soaking humidity, is coming.

As I write this, I sit all alone on a 70-acre farm, but today it is anything but quiet. The Canada geese seem to consider this a gathering place, and today is apparently either their reunion or recruiting day.

Where's Internet privacy when you need it? Forget about snoops grabbing my credit card numbers or reading my e-mails.

It seems it's always August before my brother Tom and I make our almost-annual visit to Mill Creek Park.

(Editor's note: I wrote this column in July 2003. Re-reading it this week, it seemed like an appropriate piece to reprint.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to begin a nationwide study to monitor air emissions from selected farms starting this winter.
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