With the first Day of Fall arriving tomorrow, I’m sure everyone is thinking about the pleasant days ahead. There are many who’ve opted out of taking their vacation during the Summer months and waiting until the Autumn weather arrives with the pleasant days, cool nights, and the abundant splashes of color covering the landscapes of the North. Of late, I’m again finding more people taking day trips to Eastern Iowa as well as up into western Wisconsin to visit the apple orchards and cheese factories. Apple orchards and a cheese factory are yet more entrepreneurial opportunities for our area that would certainly do well.
After reading this past weekend’s news regarding the lack of diversity in the Midwest with the farmers seeming to only want to grow beans and corn, leaves even more of an opportunity for people to create specialty crops which would bring higher prices per acre than the existing row crops. Yes, there’s always those startup costs which for most an impossibility to fund which brings to mind the idea of State start-up grants or low interest rate long term loans. As far as I’m concerned, the bulk of the farmers today have boxed themselves into a corner with their specialization to where they’re tied to growing what they’ve always been producing due to the types of machinery they own. I get a little bristly whenever any of my relatives who are farmers talk about costs and the amount of work they do on their crop-only farms. With the size of today’s farm machinery and the number of acres that can be cultivated in a day causes me to wonder what they do with the rest of their time. With the climate changes and the looming possibility of there being massive crop failures due to disease or insect infestation, there really must be more diversity going on within the grain belt States.
Some years ago I happened to open a book that was printed in the late 1800′s and found the main crop in Northern Iowa at the time to be wheat and followed by the combination of oats, barley, and corn. It’s absolutely amazing how growing preferences have changed in just a little over 100 years. I’m not sure where I read it just recently, but I understand that soybean oil is really not good for human consumption. Whenever I now look at a bottle of vegetable oil I think, “Now what vegetable are they talking about since soybeans are considered a vegetable?” I’ve always been an ardent believer in biodiversity. If something should fail in one year, there’s always something else that helps to balance it out that same year.
One of my clients today was squealing about a bill she received for some contract work she had performed. I asked her if the contractor did a good job and she said yes but wasn’t expecting the steep hourly rate that was charged. I smiled and said, “We’re all coming up to speed with labor costs these past years and certainly some are charging as much or more than lawyers, accountants, and general practitioners.” I went on to say, “There’s absolutely not enough competition in our community and contractors know they can get away with charging high rates due the weak competition and a backlog of people waiting to have work done. Today a client of mine who’s looking for a helper with his work mentioned how difficult it is to find an able bodied man who has his driver’s license. No more thinking about scary things with tonight’s shining half moon.