Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thinking ahead of the storms

Prevention is the best policy from weather related farm failures

With all the recent weather, I am reminded that we should always think ahead of the storm and be prepared to act. This means that now with all the snow, we should be able to clear our farm roads and remove snow from animal housing to prevent roof collapse under the weight of the storms. Some suggestions include:
  1. Open the Attic doors of the barn to allow warm air rise to the roof line and help melt the ice.
  2. Rake off the roof (see illustration, right) to help remove the snow. A rope system tied to a 2x6 four foot long can remove snow off a gabled barn without getting up on the roof.
  3. Lower feeding equipment and any other suspended equipment for temporary relief of weight on the truss systems.
As with all snow events, water is your next concern. Be sure all water collection and handling systems are operational to handle the snow melt. Snow removal equipment and backup generation also helps protect the farm from road blockages and power outages. Be sure all emergency equipment is checked and ran periodically so that it will work when you need it.

No matter what the most common threat is to a farm a farmer needs to be prepared for those challenges.

The Future of Agriculture

Where are the New Farmers Coming From?

Like many who wonder where the next generation of labor to help us is coming from, should really ask "Where is my next meal coming from?". Like the rest of the labor force the average age of a farmer is rising. Further, when you count encroachment from cities, tax burdens, zoning of land, and the lack of allied industry support for some commodities, it is daunting to think that anyone is heeding the call to work in agriculture.

But there are shining examples out there. 4-H programs show kids how to raise animals with proper care. They also teach leadership skills and responsibility that will serve them well both on and off the farm. We should support 4-H and FFA programs to help kids, no matter from what background learn more about the world they will soon enter to work.