March certainly rolled in like a lion across the Ozarks with high winds, hail and thunderstorms, but I hope the month will, as the old saying goes, go out like a lamb.
I have reached the age when talking about the weather is the norm. I have caught myself saying phrases such as: “Sure is dry, ain’t it?” and “Do ya think we’ll get any of that rain the weather man is was talking about?” Or, my all-time favorite, “Hot enough for ya?”
I’m also guilty of recalling weather events, such as floods, droughts, heavy snows and ice storms for the younger generations. I don’t know how or when this crept up on me, but it’s happened.
My favorite stories to share are of floods from the days I lived along the Missouri River. It took me a time or two to understand why state workers had snow plows on the front of their big trucks in April and May. For folks up that way, using snow plows to clear miles and miles of roads covered in several feet of mud and debris wasn’t a new sight, but it was for a Southwest Missouri native.
Because of flooding conditions one rainy day, I had to take the “long way” to the nearby community of Wellington in Lafayette County, Mo., to deliver newspapers to a small gas station/coffee shop (the only one in town with a population of about 800) where the old farmers hung out. When I arrived, the water from a small, normally calm subsidiary of the Mighty Mo had taken up most of the parking lot and was creeping up on the store’s two gas pumps, but the business was still full of its normal morning crowd. I walked in to make my delivery, thinking I needed to get out of there ASAP, but no one inside seemed to be all that concerned.
“Y’all know the river is coming up, right?” I said to the men gathered in the booths.
“Oh, that ain’t nothin’. This store was completely under water in ’93 and in ’51…” one of the men responded as the others sipped their coffee and began reminiscing about the floods, droughts and other natural disasters they had endured.
The weather is a big deal for farmers and livestock producers in the Ozarks, and it’s seldom 100 percent predictable. Mother Nature has not disappointed recently with 80-degree days, followed by snow and sleet.
With our mild, dry winter months coming to an end and spring upon us, I wonder what the next six months has instore. Will it be hot and dry, forcing cattle producers to sell off calves earlier than they wanted to and cull their cows a little harder? How will those moves impact already low cattle prices? We just don’t know what spring will bring.
Novelist Amelia Barr wrote: “It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm and defy it.”
No matter what Mother Nature has in store for us in the coming months, we have to keep a positive outlook for our family farms and continue to defy the odds stacked against production agriculture.
The older men at that gas station weren’t worried about the water that was about to creep through the door. They had seen it before and figured it wouldn’t be the last time, so they didn’t see any reason to give up their morning coffee and conversation. Yes, chances are some of their crop land was damaged, their top soil was washed down river and there would be who knows how much trash and debris in their fields, but in their wisdom they knew there wasn’t anything they could do to stop the rain or the floods.
So, as we roll into spring in the Ozarks, let’s be optimistic that April showers bring May flowers – and green pastures.



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