I grew up a town kid, then met and married a farmer. It opened my eyes in a lot of ways. One thing that was a shock to my system was the idea that farmers weren’t all as buddy-buddy as the old movies and all would have you think. It really is a business and as such, there is a lot of competition. There is only so much land – and less every day what with cities growing bigger and more and more farm ground being taken out of production for development. The bits that are left get watched for any sign that they are going to have a change… if a landlord dies, or the farmer himself dies, the landlord decides they want to charge more money beyond what the current farmer can pay, or just someone farming the land isn’t doing the job quite the way the landlord wants. The buzzards circle then and everyone is going after that one bit of ground to make it their own.
I’ve heard horror stories of farmers camped-out at landlord’s deathbed trying to make sure that they get a shot at what is left.
I’ve always been very proud of my husband for not being one of the buzzards. He and his dad farmed for years and now he and my son do, and all the ground they have they have gotten honorably. The landlord has come to them and offered it to them. There was no back-stabbing or weaseling in place to get it. That’s just one of the things about him that makes me very proud to be his wife.
The other? For all the backstabbing and competition that occurs, they have this weird sense of community when someone is injured or dies and there is field work to be done. My husband has participated in many of these “harvest days” including the one that happened when his own father passed away. Today one of these days is happening. A couple of weeks ago a farm friend had a stroke. It has been a trying time for he and his family as he goes through rehab and tries to get back to the real world from the hospital (he may be home next week! Yay!). But in the meantime, the crops are ready to be harvested and the stress from knowing they are sitting in the field instead of at the grain elevator or in the bin isn’t helping. So today, as of last count, they had 18 combines lined up and I don’t know how many trucks and other support vehicles. My hubs is taking his semi-truck over and spending the day – or as long as it takes. Usually, you get that many rigs and it doesn’t even take a whole day. The rain held off that was predicted, and it appears they’ll have a good and productive day.
It is things like that which make me very proud to be a farmer’s wife.