Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I don't know about how it is where you live - but is anyone else seeing this when they drive around their nearby farm country:

There should be crops growing, not weeds.

That's right... all we see right now is nothing. Nothing planted. Nothing growing. Nothing done. Zero. Zip. Nada. Folks, this is a little unnerving. We drove a little further and this is what we saw:

More nothing.

More nothing. Most of the fields aren't even plowed because of our crazy weather this spring. Its been too wet for the farmers to get into the fields and get their land prepared for planting. I talked to an old timer last weekend who said he's never seen anything like it in his 35 years of farming.

By now most of the commercial crops - soybeans and corn - should be in the ground and the land as far as you can see should be green. Not covered with corn stubble from last year or just filled with weeds.

We are also rapidly approaching the cut off date when farmers who have "crop insurance" will just call the whole season a loss. If they can't get the crops planted then they won't be ready for harvest in the fall. At this point an early frost would be crippling.

The good news is that we are looking at a week of mostly dry and hot conditions - but that's not true for the northern part of the state - or the rest of the Mid-West. With the destructive weather - flooding and tornados - this could be a tricky summer for food production. I'm not talking about fruits and vegetables, I'm talking about the commercial crops that work their way into almost every item in the grocery store.

If you don't think that a failed soybean or corn crop will affect you, think again. I'm not saying there will be blood in the streets if folks can't get their soda pop or their Doritos.... but much of these unplanted crops go for livestock feed. So that cheap burger meat you get at the store won't be cheap for long. Or worse than sky-high prices, what happens when food production is forced out of the country? Do you really want food production to be brought to you by folks who use lead paint in kids toys and who poison their own medicines?

I love that Maple View Farms has so much good info on their site about this - be sure to check it out. And then go over and read what Gene Logsdon has to say - he's an old timer with a lot of wisdom.

So what to do? My pal D over at Spring Hill Farms has been talking about this for a while. He rightly says to "Do Something!" Anyone can plant a garden or join a CSa, And if you've been thinking about getting some clucks, now is a great time to take the plunge. And you might want to do some prepping. You don't have to get all crazy in a "build a bunker" kind of way. But in the stock market there is a thing called "dollar cost averaging" - you can use this same principal for buying your basics. Just a little a time and start when costs are lower rather than waiting until everything is higher to lower your overall costs.

If you still don't think this has anything to do with you... well. Check out Veggie PAK's latest post on what happened with their part of the world was without power after a storm. I love that he took pix of the refrigerated section of the grocery store and how it was emptied in just 24 to 48 hours. Those stores just aren't as full as you think they are and if supply is disrupted, well. I hope you've at least got a jar of peanut butter.

I'm not saying there will be a mass panic - and, God willing, the farmers will get their crops in and we can all unclench a little... but I am saying to take a minute and look around and see whats going on.

What's going on in your neck of the woods? Are your farmers in the fields? Still rained out? Crops growing? What do you see - nothing? Or a little something? Got pix? Send me a link in the comments and I'll post it here so we can get an on the ground view of the crop situation.


Dave @ HappyAcres said...

Nothing here either. I do believe farmers have finally started to get things planted, but it's later this year than I ever remember. My fear is that after record rains in spring, we will have a dry summer. That would be a double whammy for food growers, and food prices.

Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) said...

We visited northwest Ohio (Napoleon) and western Ohio (Springfield) this weekend for graduation parties. It was striking how empty the fields looked. It made me sad and nervous for the year's production.

Fortunately I do have a large garden and, thanks to the hot air effect of the city, it has largely progressed as usual. If farm production fails this year we will at least have vegetables from home and eggs from our backyard chickens...

Faith said...

Hi, We live in NE Ohio and recently went down to Amish Country around Berlin/Walnut Creek area..I mentioned the same thing to my husband...where are the crops? I did see a few fields with very tiny maybe corn, but the rest of the ones I saw looked unplanted. We are in the 90's here today..should dry out...a good "flapping" day today..no dryer
used :)

Mary said...

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! you rule. that should get people thinking. Thanks so much for doing this and hopefully we can work together again.

Mr. H. said...

Somethings got to give and our garden has been planted as if it will...just in case. Check out how things are going in Kansas - http://a-homesteading-neophyte.blogspot.com/2011/05/over-half-of-kansas-wheat-is-in-poor-or.html

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

People ought to see the writing on the wall! The First lady gave the hint by planting a Garden on the White House lawn..I took it and it's the best thing for us I could have done...if I could I'd have me some chickens running around..HOA ugh! Yet I have somebody's dog crapping on my yard for the last week and we don't know who or what it looks like...Anybody ever taste Dog?

David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener said...

Nothing here either, you're right,the corn and beans should be in. Waather right now continues with high volatility, hoem agrden is OK , but the fields - not so much...

Heiko said...

In contrast to your wet weather we're having a drought. No rain for 2 months! Statistically extreme weather events are becoming more common. Money has always been something worthless to me, you can't eat it, you can't build a shelter from it. You and me, sis, and a few others are on the right track not relying on big agriculture and supermarkets to live.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Villager, That's what I've heard also, once it stops its gonna just stop for good.

Hi Rachel! Doesn't it just look weird? I know lots of folks are going to work extra hard on their gardens. I'll pop over to your place in a bit to see if there really are hounds in your kitchen (there are in mine!).

Faith, thats a pretty good one - a flappin day. I'll tell you why its so funny later. But yep. Some of the Amish guys have been out earlier but even they couldnt get things planted here.

Great work in getting the ball rolling, Mary!

Mr. H, we arent a huge wheat state and most of ours is planted in winter. So THANKS for this heads up...wow. Hadn't thought about that. I might just go and get another 50 lbs sack of flour this week.

Ginny, yes Mrs. Obama has done a lot to get folks gardening. I can't remember if she has some clucks or not but that should be our new safety net. Not "a chicken in every pot" but "a flock for every yard!" Wouldn't your HOA be surprised!
ps i think if its not cooked right, dog can be greasy. hee hee hee!

Your garden is doing great, David. I know you folks had more storms in the last couple days. We were spared but wow we are in summer now. Its currently 94* considering it was 46* a couple weeks ago - thats just crazy.

You said it, Heiko! Sorry for your drought - wish I could package up some of this rain. As Villager said we may be in your same boat!

Veggie PAK said...

I've noticed that farmers are letting the fields grow up with nasty weeds. Really junky types tha livestock wouldn't eat. Then for some reason unbeknownst to me, they harvest all that stuff in round bales, and then just put it at the end of the field where it rots and falls over, year after year. It must have something to do with subsidies or farm land use taxes or something. It's like they do the bare minimum to still be able to call it a farm. What a waste!
It makes one wonder if the impending food shortage is going to be intentional. Like the Doctor from India said, "Instead of the have and have nots, we are going to the live and the live nots." Poor people will be the first to go because they won't be able to afford the high cost of food.

Sara said...

I'm down near Dayton/Cinci. Warren County farmers are definitely feeling the clench. My husband was talking to our farmer friends and all they could say was "Thank God we got insurance." Because this is the year they may have to use it.

Our garden is slowly going in. It is a little scary to see nothing sprouting yet.

We are all out of our beef, but will have to wait till winter to butcher another cow. So we are supplementing with fishing. So far, we've frozen nine catfish. By the end of the summer, we should have a nice frozen cache of fish to last thru the first part of winter.

Weekend Cowgirl said...

Nothing here. No rain for a year and record high temps. We are a tinderbox. It is really bad...

Autumn said...

There's a huge percentage of dairy farmers (how about in 10 miles, there's at least 10 farms. They are all about a mile wide, but they extend to both sides of the road) there's little to no hay crop ready.

I'm going to round up some scrap wood pretty soon to build myself a raised bed because I can't wait any more to start a garden.

Chai Chai said...

The so called Arab Spring is more about sky high food prices than it is about ending oppression. What you are seeing is scary stuff and I hope for everyone's sake it is just a local phenomenon.

The shame is that I have been so busy that I don't even have my own garden planted yet.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

VPak - we see that weeds stuff also. But the guys near us actually use it. I have no idea what it is.

Sara - good for you for stocking up! And yes, its going to be a close call for the farmers.

WCG - I'd think folks in your part of the world would be better off. Also, I just made your buttermilk pie!

Autumn - great strategy! Raised beds are fabulous for lots of reasons. And "found materials" are the best way to go!

CC - These are "interesting times" for all. Extreme prices here will be even more interesting.

Ohiofarmgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AL said...

We haven't had rain to speak of since March 9 - putting us 16in below normal rainfall. The last 2 days temps have been over 100.
I thought of you when we drove up to the north end of our county and the fields were either bare or had the tiniest little green sprouts. One had corn and it probably wasn't even chest high to me, but was already drying out.

I kind of hope we DO get just a tropical storm soon (but my luck it would turn into a Cat4 or something)

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