Did You Know…

— Written By and last updated by Pam Brylowe

What do farmers do during the dead of winter? All the crops have been harvested and the wheat has been planted. It’s freezing in the morning and the wind howls during the day. What could a farmer possibly be doing now?

Funny you should ask. Farmers are business owners, and ask any business owner and they will tell you there is never a day off. When they are not at work, they are thinking about work. Planning for the future, evaluating the past and making decisions for tomorrow. After a hard growing season farmers have plenty to catch up on.

Some of these tasks include repairing equipment that broke during the season, which they used a temporary fix to get through harvest. Farmers also work with the landowners to secure leases for the farmland so they will be able to farm the land next year. Farmers also spend time going over records from the previous year. They figure which crops performed well and which crops did not. They can then use this information to decide which crops they need to plant next year. Farmers also use this time to decide what equipment it is time to replace, and contrary to popular belief, Santa does not deliver tractors and combines because they take up so much room in his sleigh. Farmers can go to auctions and sales attempting to secure needed equipment at a good price. They use this down time to order supplies such as seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to insure that they have adequate supplies.

Farmers also attend production meetings. These meetings are provided by the local extension offices and are opportunities for the specialists at N.C. State University to present the latest research to the farmers. The research that the specialists do is worthless if farmers do not put this improved information into practice to produce increased profitability and environmental sustainability. So this is beneficial to both the farmer and the researcher. The farmers also have the opportunity to talk with other farmers and discuss problems and successes of the previous year to learn from each other.

Farmers will often also take some time to spend with family during the holidays. Some will participate in some pastimes that have been put on hold through the harvest season such as deer or duck hunting and even possibly some fishing.

In life those who take time to plan ahead typically get ahead. The same goes for farmers and many farmers take the time afforded them after the harvest and before the land preparation to make those plans for a successful crop the coming season. From deciding which varieties will fit their soil types best, to how many acres of each crop they want to grow, farmers have a lot to think about and consider.

I would recommend you follow in the farmers foot steps, Take time to analyze the past, plan for the future, and act on those things that will make you successful in the future. Take time to spend with your family and doing the things you enjoy to recharge your batteries for another successful year.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

This article will be published in the Jones Post newspaper on December 27, 2012 and was written by Jacob Morgan, Ag Agent.