Lovin' The Homestead
- Feb 6, 2021
- Reaction score
- west Texas
There may be lower input "costs" because of not using ag-chems on say organic crops..... BUT..... the input in either manual labor or mechanized labor with these crops needing more frequent things like weeding...... do you have any idea of the number of times a crop needs to be weeded before it gets big/tall/large enough to shade out competitor weeds???? So any farm that is organic is going to be paying more out in wages if they do things manually.
The cost of machinery to do the mechanized weeding is more expensive comparatively because of the specialization of it. It costs more to put out an organic crop from start to finish than for a crop that uses some ag-chemicals. And the yields are lower 90% of the time, because of some plants succumbing to pests and other plant diseases. There is more compaction of the soil by having to make multiple passes down the fields too. No matter the size of the farm; if you do all manual work, there is a limit to what one person is capable of doing.... so you need more people to cover larger areas or multiple crops....Increased wages paid..... or you need mechanical equipment.
If you go mechanical, then your costs will go up with increases in gas/fuel/oil etc for normal useage.
We have to hire some help to do things like make sq bales. With my knee issues, we hire some help to work cattle through the chute before taking to pastures for the summer. We have help to also gather them all in and bring back in the late fall to wean calves, preg check, and do what needs to be done. We trade off help with others so that it is not so much out of pocket.... but when people do stuff to help us and they don't need any help in return, we try to do something else for them..... sometimes it is something as simple as buying a roll of net wrap for them to use in their baler.... but that is out of the pocket cost for us.... even though it is not anything we would ever begrudge for the help... it is in a way "paying for the help".....and they will do the same.... I have hauled cattle for a couple to the stockyard and not charged them.... time or fuel.... told them to work it out with DS in trade down the road....
And my comments about having to keep tightening the belt was in part directed towards thing like dairy farmers.... because that is who I work with all the time. I have one that is organic and his production is abysmal in comparison to a "conventional" farm that grows 90% of all their own feed.... because organic grain and hay is 4 times what "conventionally grown" feed is.... and the price for the milk is only about 2 - 2 1/2 times what conventional milk is but the production is 1/3 without the expensive inputs of feed grain. He is no better off.... and then there are the restrictions that if a cow gets mastitis, she cannot get a "conventional" drug to treat it.... so often they will lose a quarter or have to be culled if her somatic cell count can not be brought under control.
The thing that gets to me is that everyone that professes to want all organic.... does not stop to take into account that there is no anti-biotics tolerated in the milk supply. Every tankful that goes off the farm is tested.... and they are penalized and the milk IS DUMPED if it is found to have anti-biotics.... and if it is co-mingled on the truck/tank, the farmer with the anti-biotic reaction IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WHOLE TANKER LOAD of milk.
If a cow gets sick, you are not allowed to use anything not on the list to treat her.... if she gets coliform mastitis, you have a 12 hour window to save her with anti-biotics if she gets real sick. Coliform (e-coli) is ENVIRONMENTAL.... they can get it from laying down in a nice green field that is wet from excessive rain.... but, if you treat her, she cannot EVER go back in the tank....
If your kid or your parent or grandparent or cousin gets a bad infection.... and you cannot get ahold of it in a reasonable time are you going to just say tough..... or give them an anti-biotic????? There are cases where anti-biotics are lifesavers. Do I think they have been overused..... YES CERTAINLY..... but there is a point of common sense too. So that is why I do not wholly promote organic farming when it comes to animals..... I grow an organic garden... have for 40 or more years.... and I do not like all the pesticides and herbicides being used. I think that we can do better with more WHOLISTIC type farming and gardening... But ... I also realize that there are trade offs for every type of farming.... and the cost may be too much for many farmers to pay if the input costs keep going up and the return does not. People are not going to be able to afford the increases... like was said, the increased wages will cause everything to go up as it will trickle down into everything that is sold one way or another.
I don't think that they will get the $15/hr minimum wage passed; but I do think it will go up some. If more businesses say they cannot afford to pay it, or scale back then there will be more out of work; more unemployment, more strain on the businesses that stay open..... and a lowering of quality of life for many more than will benefit from it.
When I lived in the Charlotte NC area and was still homeschooling, I knew many folk in the Grow Local movement (I think that was what they called it then). I didn't so much disagree with their aims or with the base of what they were about as they didn't seem to realize that not everyone in America lives in a mid-upper class suburb. The sheer amount of food produced by American farmers is hard to grasp.
I'm not adding a lot but I want to second the idea of something in between what is currently considered organic and totally conventional farming for a lot of our foodstuffs. The dairy example is sublimely appropriate. I don't want antibiotics in my milk but I could care less if antibiotics were used somewhere along the way providing it was for an event vs general use to increase production.
Nearly all of the problems we have in America today are caused by either/or positions and thinking. Well, and other things I will not mention but you probably get the drift. And I am forcing a stop here lol.