Celebrating fall and farming

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Fall is here, and I’m ready for some cooler weather. I shouldn’t be getting a sunburn in late September, but I have… twice.

For farmers and ranchers, fall is just as busy as spring, summer and winter. 

There are those last bales of hay to get in (if you had good, late-summer rains), cattle to be worked/weaned, crops to be harvested, and prepping or planting the next crop. Then there are the repair and maintenance projects put off in the summer months that really need to get done before winter, just in time to get ready for those January/February babies to start arriving. 

Fall means different things for different people, but the season is a celebration of agriculture, even if the pumpkin-spice-loving, flannel-wearing-because-it-looks-cool general public doesn’t realize it. A significant number of the fall festivals in our small communities celebrate the harvest of crops. Many producers in the Ozarks also open their farms to the public for corn mazes and pumpkin patches, which gives many city-dwelling people their first and only visit to a real farm. 

How many homes do we drive by in the fall months with bales of straw, pumpkins and corn stocks? It call came from a farm somewhere. 

I don’t expect to see many “fake food” festivals around the Ozarks anytime soon. What do you call a celebration of a synthetic product? Kind Of Like Apple, But Not Really Days? How about a corn maze made with plastic corn stocks? Surely plastic is better for the environment than planting corn with a tractor because we all know how bad farming is for the environment, right? It takes more than 450 years for a single plastic bottle to decompose, so fake corn stocks – a field full of fake, plastic corn stocks – should take about 30,000 years to decompose, but it’s a “better” alternative than traditional agriculture. I hope that works out well for the organizers of that festival. 

Fall also means more of those “comfort foods” are on the grocery list. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill are tapering off and being replaced with slow cooker meals, casseroles, soups and stews; those “stick-to-your-ribs” kind of meats. From the lentils in soup to the lamb or beef in a shepherd’s pie, it all gets its start on a farm. 

Can you call lab-created foods comfort foods? I don’t see how it can be called food, so the comfort part is out for me. I can also picture the conversation with my husband when I say we are going to have a fake-meatloaf, synthetic mashed potatoes and a gravy-like substance for supper. Since meatloaf and mashed potatoes is one of his favorite meals, it wouldn’t be pretty.

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to your trade each and every day. We should celebrate the contributions of farmers and ranchers each and every day, not just with festivals in the fall. As the old saying goes, everyone needs a farmer three times a day. 

Have a happy fall, ya’ all! 

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]

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