Farms. They are everywhere. They are lifelines of all countries.
I remember as a child hearing how the Brethren Church sent young people to other countries to show them how to farm. And, a calf or goat could be sent to a settlement to provide milk and meat, a way to start a herd for those too poor to buy meat or with no means to obtain it due to isolation. Feeding a world.
I have lived in three states, Ohio, Wisconsin and Oregon. In every one of those states, the farmers are appreciated. Of course, there is no finer soil than that in Darke County, Ohio. Wisconsin provides wonderful dairy products that are sent throughout the world.
It is a misnomer that farmers are not appreciated. More than ever before, we know that the land is important. We know that new methods and products are needed to protect the farmer as well as the consumer and the wildlife that lives off it, hides in it and rears their young in its trees and soil.
My lovely state of Oregon is the number 1 U.S. producer of hazelnuts, crimson clover (which is absolutely gorgeous), three types of grass and red and white clover seeds, sugar beets for seed, potted florist azaleas, Christmas trees, rhubarb and blueberries. It is number 2 in production of Kentucky bluegrass seeds, pears, peppermint, spearmint, Australian winter peas and Dungeness crab. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is a great site to check out these fact.
Oregon is a specialty-crop state with more than 220 recognized commodities. There are more than 34,600 farms and ranches covering about 16.4 million acres. An average farm is 474 acres. And, don’t forget the wineries. Oregon has 725 statewide with 500 in the Willamette Valley, which is where we live.
With the changes in weather patterns, farming will change. Conservation and cooperation is a priority. New ways of farming and perhaps even considering new crops will be the change. More food will be needed for livestock and people. Water is already causing some areas to be abandoned for farming. Irrigation will not be enough. Hardier plants will be developed. Land will be more precious. The farmer is not forgotten. The farmer is our lifeline.
We see farmland and forests being eaten up by real estate developers. I remember when I was a child that one of the future soothsayers said that one day people would live on top of each other. Indeed there seem to be more apartments than I ever thought possible.
Farmers and farmland are priceless commodities. Their needs and causes are taken up with those of us who use our voices and our votes. I am a farm girl and proud of it. Thank you, farmers.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.