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Practice Makes Progress

June 7, 2011

A few days ago, the Chanting Ref (see the About MDC page to find out who in the heck this is!) and I made the trek from my hometown in Michigan to his place in Illinois.  As we drove, I had the pleasure of listening to him practice tongue twisters and chants in preparation of his upcoming trip to auction school.  He did them for what seemed like hours occasionally having me try my hand at a few of the tongue twisters.  And let’s just say auction school is nowhere in my future.  However, this got me thinking about agriculture’s past and the future of food production.  Don’t ask.  I don’t know how it happened either.  But I got to thinking, every day, week, year, decade, and century in agriculture is a practice for the next harvest, breeding season, and plant.

Horse Drawn Harvesting

Looking back on the history of agriculture even just the last 100 years we have seen improvements in technology, practices, crop yields, and quality.  We have transitioned from animal power to GPS guidance.  Farmers used to feed their own family plus a little to sell.  Now each American farmer feeds 155 people annually.  From practices that created The Dust Bowl to those that ensure a dust bowl will never happen again.  It really isn’t much different from the automotive industry, an industry of which a large majority of Americans are consumers and familiar with.  Initially there was the Model T.

The Model T was a temperamental piece of machinery that had to be crank started by hand.  Oh, and be careful not to break your arm starting it.  Today I can start my car by the push of a button…from inside my house.  Now I don’t know about you but my car gets about 25 miles to the gallon, is air conditioned, and has the capability to tune hundreds of radio stations purely for my entertainment pleasure.  The difference between my car and the Model T is one hundred and some years of innovation.  Just as the difference between corn or broccoli or wheat yields or quality in 1900 and in 2010 is the result of years of research, trial and error, and invention.

Is there room for improvement in agriculture?  Of course there is.  Anyone who tells you they know what the perfect agricultural system is is fooling themselves.  But, just like any other industry, the men and women of agriculture are striving to become more efficient, knowledgeable, and safe in their practices.  I want to feed my family safe, healthy, and abundant food, but it will always take practice to make progress.

Keep Livin’ the Good Life!

Modern Day Cowgirl

Wanna try one of the Chanting Ref’s tongue twisters?

Check out this one here!  Betty Botter  (The tongue twisters start around 2:40)

P.S. Don’t get too excited but tomorrow I’ll try to show some photos of the horrendous moth infestation in my new house.

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