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October 2013

Here’s to a Happy, Plentiful Harvest


Bob Stallman
President
American Farm Bureau
By Bob Stallman
President, American Farm Bureau

Autumn is upon us once again. This is my favorite time of year, when the air turns crisp and the hills are in full color. It’s a time to take the grandkids to the pumpkin patch and sip hot cider on a chilly evening. Most importantly, it’s harvest time.

Harvest captures what I, and probably most farmers, feel this time of year: a sigh of relief; a twinge of excitement; a feeling of blessedness when a good crop is brought in.

Hayrides & Apple Bobbing

Harvest time is steeped in a tradition that has encompassed farm families and rural communities across the world for generations. In fact, until the 16th century, the term “harvest” was used to refer to the season we now know as autumn. Today, most folks outside of agriculture simply think of it as a very special, nostalgic time of year, celebrated with corn mazes, hayrides and apple bobbing.

For farmers, harvest secures our reward for an entire year’s worth of hard work, commitment and patience. It represents an end-goal of growing food that nourishes our families, neighbors and communities across the globe.

While there are exceptions, many areas of our nation were blessed this year with a record crop. The Agriculture Department is projecting record corn yields in 11 states, from Michigan to Georgia.

A Cornucopia of Blessings

While many farmers will bring in a good crop this harvest, there are others who didn’t have such a bountiful year because of drought and other weather conditions. For example, spring rains in Iowa prevented farmers from planting until later in the season. The state’s corn crop is now only projected to reach 162 bushels per acre, whereas it should be at least 180 bushels per acre.

Unfortunately, that’s the business of farming. Some years you’re up, and others you’re down. It’s my hope that those farmers suffering this year will be back in the saddle come next harvest.

Someone once said that farmers deserve our deep respect – for the land and its harvest are the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables, preserve our landscape and inspire us with a powerful work ethic.

My wish for all farmers this year is a plentiful harvest, after which you can sit back and take pleasure in the toils of your labor with family and friends. Enjoy an outing with the kids to the pumpkin patch or corn maze, and then partake in that much-deserved hot cider. It has been a blessed year.