Why Big Ag Got Big

I had a revelation yesterday.  I was on the farm, I had just ridden my horse (thank you hubby darling for watching the little one so that I could ride!).  Joe had left me the Kubota RTV to ride up the hill to the shop to get his F350 truck since he had taken my truck home with the baby in the carseat.  When I pulled into the Kubota’s parking spot, I noticed something.  There were two F350s, the Kubota, a zero turn John Deere lawn mower with a 5 foot deck, a John Deere 6420 out front, a 6430 behind the shop with a vertical mixer hooked to it, a New Holland baler, a Farmall tractor, a Ford tractor, an old feed wagon, and two stock trailers out back.  That is just the equipment that was gathered around the shop. 

So, what was my revelation you ask?  I figured out why farms have become so big!  It’s not just because of efficiency and technology and corporations.  I believe it has more to do with the male pursuit of happiness.  Our farm shop and all the farm shops I have visited lately are like toy shops for big boys.  All the stuff I listed above is under the shed or outside.  Once you go inside there are all the tools and parts you can imagine.  It takes a lot to run a farm and I know that these are necessities for my husband and his dad to get all the work done.  But golly, the stuff is really cool too.  I said it was boy toys but in reality I really like a lot of them myself.  And our little girl loves to ride on the tractors and the Kubota and honk the horns.  She’ll say, “wanna drive the tractor, wanna drive the Kubota.”  (How many 22 month olds do you know that can actually use Kubota in a sentence?)  In the shop, she will go to the parts bins and pull out washers, hook them on her fingers and tell Pop and Daddy that she has coins.  She also loves to make hose clamps into bracelets.  She will put 6 or more on her arm at once and walk around helping me do chores. 

I decided to snap some pictures of the “toys” and create a post around them because I truly think I’m onto something.  I mean, I love to drive my F250 but I feel even cooler when I drive Joe’s manual F350 flatbed.  Remember the song, “there’s a girl my lord in a flatbed ford…”  I start singing that in my head every time I drive it.  It only makes sense that a farmer feels so much cooler when he has a big 4-wheel drive cab tractor with radio and air and a plug to hook up his smartphone. 

So Big Ag was created by farmers that saw the chance and the need to get bigger.  It wasn’t some corporate conspiracy to corrupt the food system with safer, more and better food products.  It was a young aspiring farmer that started out with one cow and a small two wheel drive tractor.  He worked hard over a lifetime to become better at his job of producing food from the land and he earned money to invest back into farm equipment and improvements.  Instead of buying a beach house or traveling to foreign places, he surrounded himself with the best and coolest toys, I mean tools, so that he could enjoy his farming lifestyle more and more everyday.  And that is the American dream at its best.

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