30 Days of Thoughts

I’m going to do some thinking…sounds scary, eh?

It’s November, and I have lots to be thankful for, I have lots to share and I have lots to talk about…and I’m going to try to do it all – 30 days straight.

Some posts will be short, some will be longer, some may be a photo, some may be video. What I can guarantee is that it will be all me. Well, not ALL me, but you know what I mean.

Day One:

Today’s thought:

Image via Vital Awareness page via Ag Proud page. :)

Image via Vital Awareness page via Ag Proud page. 🙂

This image has brought a ton of thoughts to my head. But before you go off, telling me that there are serious allergies, and serious health issues, and some people really, truly cannot eat certain foods, please, rest assured that I realize that. Completely.

My thoughts on this image are not so much to do with the different needs that we have, it’s how we handle them.

We are quick to judge and determine that the food choices we make are superior to the choices that others make. And when I say “we,” I mean society in general.

Instead of focusing so much on what we choose, perhaps we should just focus on why we choose. If you make your decisions based on fads and peer pressure, and feel a sense of guilt of never doing “enough,” that’s not how your plate should make you feel. Food is not the enemy. If you make your decisions based on research and what you determine to be best for your family, then know that you are doing the best that you can.

My decisions are not the same as the family next door. And that’s OK.

For example, I spent the last six days (off and on) in the hospital with George. Trying to work with the dietary staff on what he could/could not have was a logistical nightmare. We finally got to the point where is dietary restrictions were just listed as, “Let Mom handle it.” No one knows better than a parent, especially a parent of a child with diet restrictions.

George, summer 2012 - all sass and attitude! Make the food choices you need to, no guilt required.

George, summer 2012 – all sass and attitude! Make the food choices you need to, no guilt required.

At the end of the day, we all have a common goal: providing for our family. How you get there is a personal journey, and one that I will not condemn. But I ask for the same respect in return.

And the world would be a better place. Right?

I’m joining a group of amazing people with our “30 Days” themed posts. I’ll include a link to each day on this post, as well as a link to all my blogging friends joining in. Here’s a start:

And here’s links to each of my 30 Days posts:

If Farmville had a Farm Bill

Research would tell us that most people are a few generations removed from the farm. This means that it can be more difficult for us to explain what’s happening out here, just because we’re not talking the same language.

What if that were to change?

Research would also tell us that a vast majority of our society enjoys playing online games, one of which happens to be a farming-based game called, “Farmville.” If you’re reading a blog post, or an email, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of it.

So I’m going to make an attempt to combine the two, so that I can use a little of what I know, and a little of what society can relate to, and see if we can get a basic understanding of what the Farm Bill can accomplish. (Wish me luck.)

Let’s start with the basics of how it should work…in theory (I’ll throw in some of the contingencies later):

In Farmville, you start your game and are given opportunities to earn some coins, so that you can start to play the real game, then you pay to “break ground,” and then pay some more to plant seed. The cost of the seed is in direct correlation to how much you can make, the higher the cost, the higher the return.

Then you water your crop, make sure it’s taken care of, (maybe even check on a neighbors crop), and when the time is right, you harvest, reaping the benefits of your work.

The game follows the basic principles of farming, for the most part. But the game already has a farm bill built into it.


Yes, Farmville does, indeed, have a farm bill.

Look at the set up of the game. You know your costs going in, you know your benefits coming out, you still have risk (you may come to harvest too late), but the risk is minimal if you play by the rules.

Imagine the game without those safety nets? It would look more like this:

You would come back from planting, putting most of your coins into the new crop, then find out that the crop is no longer worth anything. Losing all your coins and having to start from scratch, hoping you could find a way to scrape together enough to begin again.

You may go to help a neighbor and find everything gone, in the blink of an eye…and have no recourse to recoup your losses.

Developers would factor Mother Nature into the game, randomly setting players back at the beginning, where they have a choice to start the game over, or pick a new game to play.

And imagine, just about getting the gist of what was going on, and getting to be somewhat successful in playing the game, just to find out that the rules have been changed, the game has a bug and the developers no longer want to fix it.

Does that sound like a game that would be fun to play? How many complaints would the developers get over the wildly fluctuating rules and obstacles? Would there be anyone left to play at all?

In real life, the farm bill can provide a safety net that allows farmers to keep playing the game…but in this case, the game is keeping our plates full, our backs covered and our vehicles on the road. And it shouldn’t be a game at all.

Mother Nature can wipe out a crop in the blink of an eye.

Mother Nature can wipe out a crop in the blink of an eye.

In real life, the farm bill may not guarantee that every crop is successful, but at least one crop failing wouldn’t kick you out of the game. Instead of paying 6 coins for a crop that should be worth 16 when harvested, you may be guaranteed at least 4 coins if Mother Nature got in the way. Not what you were hoping for, but better than nothing in the end.

No, the real farm bill isn’t a game. And those in Congress shouldn’t treat it as one. They have real work to do and short amount of time to get it done.

Every single one of us has a stake in getting a farm bill passed. Yes, there are places that can be cut from existing programs and ways to save money from a bulging budget…but that doesn’t change the importance of passing safeguards for the people that provide so much, for so many, yet number so few.

Great use of advertising!

Using toy tractors and farming the paper isn’t the only farming I want our children to be able to enjoy. But their future is at stake as well!

They estimate that 80 million people play Farmville. Imagine if just 10 percent would contact their elected officials about the importance of the farm bill?

Perhaps we should give them extra coins for submitting an email?

Please realize that this simplified version comes nowhere near explaining the true complexity of the bill…I realize that as well. But we need to act and we need to think, and I’m not sure our elected officials are doing either of those things very efficiently right now.

Is our farm “green”?

Recently I’ve had an influx of new followers on Twitter. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and my smart phone, I was able to be notified right away.

At first, I didn’t think much of it, but then I noticed that one had added me to a list. The list was titled “green bloggers.”

Come again?

My first response was, “Boy, are they going to be disappointed.” But then, with encouragement from some social media friends, I realized it was an amazing opportunity. How could I pass it up?

You see, “green” is another one of those terms that has been hijacked. It is defined so differently by so many, and yet, those that it means the most to (farmers), use it the least.

In fact, I was first offended to be called “green.” To me, it meant that I was more concerned about how my food got to my plate, instead of just being grateful that I could put anything there to begin with.

To me, it meant that I thought more about how creation began, and less about how it would continue to exist.

To me, it meant that I was willing to believe that God could use science to create cures for diseases and ailments, but He couldn’t possibly use science to prevent starvation and hunger for so many of His people.

But none of that is true.

Being green is an awareness, not an action. It can be, but doesn’t have to be. Being green is making decisions knowing that you’re doing what’s best for the next generation, based on what you know and your experiences. Being green is as personal as religion. Yet, being green is NOT a religion.

A lot of times farmers shout from the rooftops, that they are the original environmentalists. And although that is true, it doesn’t do us much good to keep reminding people…instead, let’s show them.

Actions speak louder than words. So let our actions speak for us.

Is our equipment larger than decades ago? Yes, but that means fewer trips down the field, less fuel and greater time savings. Do our fields have company signs on them? Sure, but it’s more for our information than anything else. That way, farmers know which brand, which variety worked best for the conditions that year. Kind of like labeling your garden rows.

ultrasound technology in calving

Technology can be very useful in farming, including ultrasounding for calving!

The biggest question? Is technology worth it? My simple answer is yes. Unequivocally. Technology allows us the opportunity to use state-of-the-art tools and equipment to use less fuel, less chemicals and be more aware of our impact on future generations.

But the best part of it all? The ability to choose. You can choose what does/does not work for your farm, your family, your table, your health. And that’s the most important advancement of all.

I no longer will fear the label of being “green.” Instead, I will embrace it. And perhaps, before long, my grass will be, too.