Scope of Understanding

The weather forecasters had us believing there was a 40% chance of rain today, and what did we get? Snow, cold, and wind which made it all the more challenging when trying to keep appointments, and in the end, both were cancelled by a buyer, and potential seller. Oh well, at least we got a good taste of it which will make us better prepared for tomorrow’s bone-chilling. I was hoping the wind would go down with the sun, but that wasn’t to be the case. Let’s hope there won’t be much drifting in the night where there’ll be streets blocked.

There wasn’t much going on this morning other than making a run to the lumberyard to order an combination storm window that somehow managed to magically disappear from a tenant’s home. While there, I asked how business had been these past twelve months. Unfortunately, it sounded like a real struggle, and what caused the most of it, was the lack of new homes being constructed in the Mason City area, which in turn has been driving up the prices of existing homes due to the shortage of new built-outs.

I know of two particular homes that were built out in the country which are akin to mic-mansions, but only in the ranch styles, and both owners are farm families. In spite of the crisis with our Midwest dairy farmers, it looks like there’s still money to be made with those owning their free and clear many hundreds of acres of land.

Over the weekend, I watched a news video of a young couple who’d taken over their family’s dairy farm not so many years ago, and just this year had to sell out because of the continued drop in their profit margins. It was sad watching the owner’s father speaking about how he’d taken over from his father who originally started it. To think that family’s dairy farm survived two generations, and in a very short time, the third generation had sell their herd and find other work to feed their young family. One of the last comments he made to the reporter was, “I tell all the dairymen I know, that they’d better get out before ending up with nothing after their creditors come a-calling.”

I’m hoping our general public will begin realizing that if we don’t support our local producers, they won’t have extra money to spend when on shopping trips to their area stores. It seems everyone is saying that unless you have a really big operation, there’s no way you can make a living off of the land. I hope in time, some of our young farming entrepreneurs will be proving those naysayers wrong by making a good living from growing and raising everything that can be certified organic. It appears all the grocery stores are making more room for organically grown products, and even some of those items are coming from local producers. Yeah!

If you take a look at Japan’s farming practices, they have the big farmers like we do, but far more of the smaller ones who are making a good living from the the crops and livestock they’re sending to market. I watched a video some months ago of the cutest miniature combine that was harvesting rice in one of their many small acreages. That machine looked more like a toy belonging to the son of a millionaire farmer, rather than something that was created to combine fields in Japan.

As I mentioned before, I’m of the belief that if a struggling small farmer can find the market niche for a needed commodity, and then focus on just that particular need, it would be far less likely to fail because of those uncontrollable price fluctuations in our global agricultural markets, which in the end, affect struggling farmers here in North Iowa.

After it quit snowing, I ventured out with shovel in hand and started my rounds. If that wind wasn’t blowing so hard, it wouldn’t have been at all bad because of how much lighter the snow was than the our last snowstorm’s. I’ll not forget that nasty stuff we had to get moved when seeing it that Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving.

I shared my story with another dear one today regarding the encounter and subsequent email I received from that guy who was pushing snow on my parking lot that very same Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After sharing my recollection, the dear one mentioned something that gave me more of an understanding of the “why” someone started throwing “f” bombs” at me for something he’d wrongfully done.

She went on to say, “Due to the near constant use of messaging, there are fewer people who have actual face-to-face confrontations with strangers, and if you challenge them about something they’ve done wrong, they’ll either implode or explode, because of it being completely out of their scope of understanding societal mores.” The more I thought about it, I’m all the more convinced that’s what happened, which confirmed my belief that I said absolutely nothing to him that warranted such an attack. Oh well, these are the times in which we live, and you can be sure they’re far different than but a generation ago, and with that said, we must prepare ourselves for all the more inappropriate sassing.

Tonight’s one-liner is: It always feels much better while crawling up, than it does when tumbling down.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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