We are officially into the New Year! People are still trying to hold up to their New Year’s Resolutions. Farmers begin the new year by gearing up for this year’s crop. I now have a couple years of experience of being a crop production farmer under my belt although I still personally like to relate the new year to a batch of grandma’s cookies. Now you are probably thinking that I am crazy as compared to most more mature farmers with literally decades of experience. I am basically still considered a beginner but hear me out and you too just might think farming is just like making a pan of cookies.
Before you can even begin thinking of baking you must gather all of your ingredients. No baker can start without some sort of a recipe as a guide. Sometimes before baking you even do research to see if you can substitute ingredients to make it better, by trying to get along with what you have in the pantry. In farming you must begin by gathering all your ingredients also, however, these ingredients consist of seed, fertilizer, equipment, labor and much more. Farmers also do research to see if they should substitute corn to beans on fields or if they should try a different seed number or variety, a new seed treatment option, etc.
Once you have all of your ingredients the baker begins the proper steps to create the delicious cookies. If they mess up a step, the cookies might come up burnt or taste funny if you forgot something or substituted something that simply didn’t work. When farmers prepare their steps they have to meticulously study the weather and ensure that they proceed each step at the right time. They must decide whether to till, when to plant, when to spray, when to combine and much more. All their steps must work together to create a perfect product just like a delicious pan of cookies. Some cookies contain more calories than others, I compare that to a phenomenal test weight in corn. Some family recipes have a secret ingredient, just like how some family farms might go about ways completely differently than other farmers. In farming sometimes you have unforeseen issues occur like bad weather. While baking that can happen as well as sometimes you may forget to set your oven timer or worse yet, the cows get out before the cookies get done!
Harvest is when you finally take your crops out of the field just like taking fresh baked cookies out of the oven. You get them out when it’s the perfect color and when it’s exactly the right time, but sometimes just by looking it might need to stay in a little longer. That’s when I like to taste tests, which is of course just like every older farmer who puts that kernel in their mouth to see if it snaps. I’ve watched my grandpa eat a bean and tell me the moisture which usually matches the scale ticket! That’s a baker/farmer with lots of experience! When a farmer goes to sell their crops for market and if they get a really good price it’s kind of like the icing on top of a perfectly decorated Christmas cookie that only a grandma can master with the frosting and sprinkles on top of your made to perfection homemade sugar cookies.
I do not know about you, but this makes me hungry for some cookies! I hope you are enjoying your new year and beginning your new batch of cookies! Good luck to all farmers and supporters with your baking this year. I hope they turn out amazing! ~ Kesley Holdgrafer