Agriculture This Week - Spring reminds of uniqueness of farm business

Agriculture has always been a business that by its nature tends to merge with being a way of life.

As such it can be a highly stressful vocation because the farmer never really gets away from their place of business. Sitting at the kitchen table, or the chesterfield trying to watch a hockey playoff game they need only look out the nearest window to see their place of business.

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In the past I have written about how farmers can control many things in terms of their operation, the inputs used, the equipment used, the purchases made, but in the end they have zero control over two key elements of farming, weather and prices.

Those two elements are so critical it was always something of a wonder to me that people become so dedicated to the farming business, my father included decades ago.

And then along would come spring, and I would better understand why farming was one of those businesses that simply gets into the bloodstream like few others.

When spring arrives for all of us we tend to emerge from a sort of torpor brought on by months of short days, cold weather and a blanket of snow. As our housebound hibernation ends we marvel at the haunting sound of a flock of geese flying northward, or a sighting of a first robin, or an early season wildflower in bloom.

For farmers it goes deeper. They become aware that they will soon be planting a new crop. Weather might impact the crop before it is harvested, and prices are unpredictable for varied reasons, but there remains an optimism that comes with planting anew.

And when the crop emerges from the ground, lines of green breaking into the spring sunshine, there is inevitably a feeling of renewal.

That feeling comes to life even more dramatically for those with livestock.

Recently I ventured to a farm just outside Yorkton for an opportunity to take pictures of a number of Clydesdale foals. Nothing brings forth the uniqueness of farming, or the hope that comes with spring, more than newborn livestock; foals, calves, or lambs.

You might be having a lousy day, there might be pressures on the business side of farming, but such things do tend to evaporate, at least for a little while, when dealing with newborn livestock, the renewal of the season on four wobbly legs.

It might sound a tad overly idyllic, but when a certain Clydesdale foal came to me as I shot pictures, happily accepting being petted, the reason people farm in spite of the challenges was once again crystal clear to me.

Calvin Daniels is Editor at Yorkton This Week.

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