Last week a storm that produced large hail stones caused a large amount of damage to crops that were not far from being harvested.
As I read of lost revenue for farmers, I thought back to a storm on July 5, 1976. Our crops looked so good. We estimated that the wheat on the land we rented would yield close to 60 bushels to the acre. I remember my mother-in-law saying, " It sure looks like a great crop, but you don't have it until it's in the bin." Truer words were never spoken. We didn't harvest nearly 60 bushels to the acre. Because of a bad storm that packed with it lots of large hail, we harvested 10 bushels to the acre.
Farming is a double edged sword. It's a rewarding, fulfilling, great way of life yet it carries with it sorrow and heartbreak.
Farmers have tremendous strength and resiliency and faith. They have to have those qualities to face total destruction of their year's work and still say, "We'll try again next year."
I've often heard it said this is "next year" country. But I feel that applies to farmers no matter what part of the country they live in.
Next year there might not be such bad storms, next year it won't be so dry or wet or cold or hot or the grasshoppers will be fewer. Farmers will work on looking at things a little differently, perhaps try something new, but they'll plant again in the spring.
Seeing the hours and hours of hard work as well as the financial investment it takes to seed the crops and nurture them taken away in a matter of minutes is enough to bring a farmer to his knees. But it's exactly there – on his knees – that helps him stand up and go on – to next year.
Loss of the year's crops starts farmers working on ways to handle such a disaster. And somehow they make it through. They may have to put off buying new equipment or building another grain bin, but in the end they manage.
Their love for the land and their way of life keeps them moving forward. Hard work and determination sends them back to the fields to salvage, if possible, what is left.
No better steward of the land can be found than those who take care of it, who till it, seed it, harvest what the land produces.
Following the loss of their crops, farmers will gather, talk about what happened, how bad the damage was, what happened in other years, and end their time together by saying, "Well, next year . . . . "
Strength, resiliency, faith – farmers rely on them every year – and for next year.
Sandy Laumeyer is The Courier's Nashua correspondent.