Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Back to School

     School is finally back into full swing, something I have been dreading for a while. For the past five months I have been without school and just working on the farm. The only good thing about this time of year is I can now use the saying, “I have homework” to try to get out of the things I don’t want to do! “Really Dad, I swear this English paper is going to take me the whole way through harvest to get done!”

August is known as national back to school month. When August hits it’s time for all students to brush the dust off their backpack and gather up school supplies. This is just another reason to give a huge thanks to farmers because without them we would not be equipped with all of these supplies. Farmers not only supply us with food but they help supply us with tons of other things. 

     Think about the pencils and paper you use everyday. Those come from wood and lumber is an agricultural product. The crayons you use to draw are made mostly from soybeans. In art class the paint brushes used are made from pig or cattle hair bristles. Pig by-products are also used in the making of chalk and glue.

  You also can’t forget about all the new clothes you bought for school. Thank a farmer for your new pair of jeans, sweaters, and most t-shirts because they are made from the farmers growing cotton. Those new leather school shoes would also be a farm by-product as well. Last but not least farmers  help you and the teachers get to school. Soy biodiesel often powers our school buses. The ethanol from the farmers corn fuels cars that transport both students and teachers. 

     Agriculture is everywhere, even in your schools and backpack. Have a great year at school as I am truly excited to have started my last year of high school. Senior year will simply be the best!

 ~ Kesley Holdgrafer


     By now we all know about the devastating derecho that came through Iowa two weeks ago. We can look at tons of photos of the damage and think we have seen it all. It doesn’t really sink in what all has happened however until you really get out and drive around the entire state of Iowa. Not only do you see flat corn, busted bins, busted sheds, and down trees, you also see a ton of amazing community members outside working together and cleaning up after the storm. It isn’t just community members helping, you see people from different states coming to assist as well. 

    Last week I drove out to Des Moines and during my trip I met tons of electrical trucks along the interstate, large groups of ten or more heavy service trucks at a time. We started looking at their license plates. They were from Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, along with several from Canada. Those are just a few of the many we saw on our way out. We smiled and waved at them all. They were all coming to help restore power for our neighbors, friends, and fellow Iowa residents. 

    The storm damaged power lines left over 400,000 Iowans powerless. As most of you know because you lived through it, the power was not just out for a little while like most storms, it was out for days and even a week. Most towns turned into generator cities. The destruction was state wide, not just a small area or town like with other large storms. It’s amazing to know we live in a very helpful and caring community. During times of need we all come together to help out and that is what I love about small town Iowa. Everybody knows everybody and they will always be there at your doorstep if you need anything. Nothing beats Iowa nice! 

~ Kesley Holdgrafer


Farming is Gambling

      This year has definitely been one for the books. Nobody could have ever predicted the way this year would go. For the past few weeks while talking to people and farmers I would hear them say, “some rain would be really nice”. Well we finally got the rain and as you all know it also came with some very unwanted extra strong damaging winds. As you drive around the area road farming, you can see the structural damage done, trees down, and corn flattened. There is no way farmers can see or predict what will happen year by year and each and every day really is a gamble. 

    I have heard this saying be used for years. Farming is really gambling. I have never quite understood it until this year when my brother and I started a crop share partnership with a neighbor. Luke and I each have 15 acres of our own. As soon as I signed my name on the papers this saying finally made sense. From the beginning, you are given multiple choices to make almost every day. What type of seed to plant, where will you buy it from, what will you spray, and will you pay the extra money for crop insurance? And the biggest gamble of them all is with the markets changing everyday, what will you do with your bushels, when will you sell? Should I utilize a forward contract? Do I risk storing my grain with extra expenses? My corn is standing this time but will we have more wild weather before harvest? The list goes on and on. Farming is gambling every day. 

     While growing up I was always told to never gamble. It's an addicting world that most of the time you lose in and when you do win you actually end up still paying too much. Well here we are, farmers are gambling everyday so why do they do it? They love the game, win or lose, they still wake up and go to work. They love their farm, their machinery, and their land. And as my dad always says, “If it was easy, everyone would do it!” Let’s hope the farm gambling chips fall in your favor. 

~ Kesley Holdgrafer