Harvest Time

Blake Hurst gives thanks:

If the movie “Food, Inc.” can be said to have a theme, it is that corn is too cheap. Cheap corn has led to industrial uses, cheap fast food, and, horror of horrors, corn fed to cows. This year's harvest is bad news for documentary makers, because we're bringing in a tremendous crop. Corn prices are at two-year lows. Author of Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser's pain is palpable, but a big harvest should be a cause for celebration for everyone else. Farmers make the news when weather causes low yields and high prices, but plentiful and reasonably priced food is such a given that nobody but we farmers celebrates a great crop like this one. The rest of America should celebrate, and be grateful for the abundance that agriculture provides.

There is nothing more fun than a record crop, if you're a farmer. We have a monitor in the combine that approximates yields as we pass through the fields. In the last several years, due to floods, droughts, and a very memorable wind storm (if you recognize your farm on one of those tornado-chaser videos, it's a very bad sign), we've rarely hit 200 bushels per acre on that monitor. This year, I've had days when I barely dropped below 200 bushels per acre. I'm old enough to try to capture this crop, this year, in my memory, given the very real possibility that I'll not farm long enough to see its like again. We farmers are protected from extremely low prices by the government, our crop insurance is subsidized by the taxpayers, biotechnology has made yields and pest control more predictable, we can harvest and plant in a fraction of the time it took my grandfather, but we're still at the mercy of Mother Nature, and she's a tough taskmaster. When we escape her worst, it's a harvest of joy.