By Holly Spangler, Penton Agriculture
In the USFRA-produced documentary, Farmland, there's a scene where the Nebraska
corn and soybean farm family plots out their day of planting. They're running
behind, racing against rain and planning to run two planters all night, or at
least until the rain starts. With his dad lost to cancer, young farmer David
Loberg runs one planter, while his mother runs the other. The movie never
reveals exactly whether they were able to finish that night, but the swell of
the music sure makes you feel like it's possible.
I've tried to figure out what it is that gets me about that scene. I've seen the
movie twice and while I cry as this young man tells of losing his dad (tears in
the shop? Of course I will cry along), there's something completely compelling
about this springtime race against time.
It's a scenario that every last farmer on every last continent knows all too well:
the crop must be planted, before the rain comes. It's simple agronomics. Except
that it's not so simple when it's your acres and your investment. Your
operating loan. Your crop.
And I've wondered: Is this what makes farmers so passionate about what they do? Is
it the risk that drives them forward every morning? Or the passion itself?
Either way, it makes for a special profession. A special industry, full of people
eager to get up every day, take the risk, and push through to the finish.
Like the Loberg family in Farmland, it's the scene we'll watch play out in townships
all across the nation this spring: planting. Racing a marathon rather than a
sprint, and pushing onward to the finish line.
Perseverance and hard work. It's the exact things that make American agriculture worth
Holly Spangler is the Special Projects Editor at Penton Agriculture. She blogs about issues relating
to young farmers, consumers and more at her blog, My Generation.