It is a truth universally acknowledged that a ... wait a minute, that’s the opening line of Pride and Prejudice. However, another truth universally acknowledged that has nothing to do with single men is that farmers are never happy.
My mother is from the suburbs of Indianapolis, and when my parents got married, a family friend took it upon herself to pass along words of wisdom and make sure she was prepared to spend her life married to a farmer. One of those little tidbits was that regardless of what you do or don’t do, farmers are never happy and 98 percent of the time it’s caused by something they have no control over.
The last few years in the grain farming world have been tough.
We’ve had planting seasons that started in April and lasted halfway through the summer and harvests that were finished up in the snow with Christmas music playing on the radio. Obviously there were very few farmers that were in a great mood which was completely understandable considering the struggle.
But this year? So far this year is going pretty well and compared to last year, this year is fantastic, yet all the farmers around still aren’t happy. The soybeans aren’t taking off like they should be, we’re running out of time to spray certain chemicals, there’s no rain in the 15-day forecast, and the list keeps going.
From the moment seeds are planted to the time they’re harvested, we’re praying for more rain or praying for it to stop raining. We pray that there won’t be any replant and pray that if there is it comes up better than it did the first time. We pray for the temperatures to warm up so the crops will grow well or praying for it to cool down so the crops don’t get too stressed and die.
We pray for rain but only a nice gentle inch of rain and pray that the rain doesn’t come in the form of a storm with high winds, hail, and flash flooding. We pray for hot, dry weather at harvest to dry the crops down but pray that it’s not so hot and dry that we’re constantly worried about having a fire.
Will Rogers said, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” I agree with him in a sense. You have to have a certain level of optimism to put a crop in the ground year after year especially when those years are long and hard. I’d say that on the big picture stuff, farmers are optimists, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, to the day to day things that make up farming, farmers are the human equivalent of Eeyore. To be honest, farmers are the most pessimistically optimistic folks I’ve ever met.
The feeling of accomplishment that putting a year’s worth of work into the bins gives you completely overshadows the worry and stress that went along with growing that crop most of the time though. The love of farming is what gives farmers the optimism needed to keep doing it year after year even when they have no control over how the year will turn out.