There’s been a bit of dry spell around here friends. And no good excuse other than lots of stuff going on: I’m finishing our December issue, reporting on the latest at the IDOA and helping with our latest Cultivating Master Farmers session.
(CMF: if you’re a young farmer, you need to apply in two years! We spent this week’s session absorbing estate planning and succession planning lessons from Master Farmers. Let me just say, you could hear a pin drop when some of those folks were telling their stories. Good stuff.)
And so I’m back now, with a Friday Five that’s equally full of information and ridiculousness. Because you just can’t make some of this stuff up.
Farm Toys for Tots: Six days ago, a vegan in Canada started this change.org petition to ask Walmart to stop selling Ertl’s Big Farm Livestock Hauler, calling it a “slaughter truck” and claiming it desensitizes children to violence. I know. You can’t even make this stuff up. Even my 10-year-old son just said to me, “That’s really dumb. Meat’s good for you. That’s not even all they use those trucks for.” Amen, son. And yet, 11,517 people have signed the petition so far. A group of farm bloggers decided that was ridiculous and started their own campaign: “Farm Toys for Tots.” The idea is to collect donations via their own Go Fund Me page to buy toys – including this cattle truck – and other toys related to food, farming and ranching, and donate them to Toys for Tots. Side benefit: show Walmart we appreciate rural toys. Their goal is to raise $5,000 (quickly) and they're looking for elves to help distribute. Check it out.
Cash rent standoff: This is a great series from Mike Wilson at our sister publication, Farm Futures. It’s a four-part series on cash rents, looking at the crunch between what you need and what you can afford, negotiating leases, land values and lender perspectives. My favorite quote from a farmer in the story: “Something’s gotta give.” Yes.
Farmers feed the world: The Peterson Farm Brothers are back with a new video and we love it, as always. I’ll embed it above, too.
To feed humankind, we need the farms of the future today: From a couple weeks ago, this was the Newsweek cover story and it’s long but worth it. Be sure to get to the part on ag technology, featuring an interview with Indiana farmer Brian Scott. As always, he’s thoughtful and insightful.
How the widening urban-rural divide threatens America: This is a long op-ed from the L.A. Times but worth the read. The author opines that while rural communities have long favored independence and self-reliance, urban ones are looking for more government and more ways to take care of people. He applies that to our current political system, wherein those from urban backgrounds are increasingly making the rules and setting the policies for the rural (See Exhibit A: Waters of the U.S.). And then, on down the line, to the current presidential contest, where we may in fact get just what (some of us) are asking for. I cheered as I read, and wanted to cry by the end.