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Farming deserves more respect

Author: Kristy

February 7

BY BLAKE HURST

Special to The Star

My first day on the tractor was a disaster.

I was at the wheel of a Minneapolis Moline, pulling a plow through the the gumbo clay soil of the Tarkio River bottom. My dad was perched on the fender, imparting instructions in a voice loud enough to be heard over the roar of the barely muffled engine.

He was holding on with both hands, as my manipulation of clutch, throttle, hydraulics and plow was less than smooth. I spent the day wishing I was anywhere else and ended the day feeling like my future should involve bricklaying, poetry, medicine, law or maybe itinerant preaching of the gospel. Anything, anything at all but farming.

This spring will be the 65th time my dad has planted corn on the field, where I learned to plow. Dad remembers everything; two thirds of a century of experience has equipped him with farming knowledge that is broad, deep and rare. But nothing has prepared us, or any other farmer, for the challenges we’re facing as an industry.

Farms, like any other business, involve a succession of worries. Our crop prices have dropped, and we desperately need moisture, but agriculture means we are at the mercy of weather and markets.

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