I’ve written before about the fun of going on weekly ‘field trips’ and checking out a museum or taking a behind-the-scenes tour. One of the benefits of a FIRE lifestyle is having the time to go experience – and learn about things – you wouldn’t have had time for when you were working.
Today, I’m taking a very literal ‘field trip’ down to Iowa and into a very real corn field. A buddy of mine from college days helps his farmer friend bring in the harvest every autumn. It’s quite an efficient operation with a big combine, a tractor and grain carts, and two semi trucks working in concert to take the corn from the stalk to the local elevator.
This is an encore field trip for me. I did the same trip two years ago in November. I loved it because it was a great chance to meet up with my buddy and learn about how a big farm works first hand. It’s a world apart from living in a big metro area and working in the MegaCorp office every day, despite having worked for a big, multinational food company for many years.
Last time I was down to this farm, they even let me take a few passes across the field driving this giant combine myself. I love to drive anything with an engine so I’ll be ready for that!
The one downside is that it will be chilly today. The forecast is a cold, snowy 21 degrees with a sharp breeze across the unprotected fields. That said, I’m sure I’ll be warm with some interesting memories on the way home tonight!
Anyone else go on an interesting behind-the-scenes tour or ‘field trip’ recently?
Image Credit: MrFireStation (c)
4 thoughts on “Fall Field Trip”
No good “field” trips lately, but we do live in a very rural part of the country where we get to step out on our porch and hear (and smell) the large combines running in the next field over on any given day. We are surrounded by farms. We even get the occasional stray cow wondering into our yard. We had one persistently “free” cow hanging around our place for almost three months this summer. The owner showed up after the first month, and said he was having trouble catching the stray cow. After the second month, he was frustrated and joked, that if he hadn’t caught her by winter, we’d all be having stray cow steaks for Christmas! Well, fortunately for her, he finally caught her in September, so no steaks for Christmas! (…too bad for us…she did look quite tasty!) 😉
I grew up in a farming community, and we have been fortunate to be able to live and raise our family in that same environment. It’s awesome that you were able to drive down and experience that life first hand. It’s a lifestyle most Americans will no longer have the opportunity to experience, which is a shame. Farming is quickly becoming a lost skill. It’s a hard-working life, but a very fulfilling and wonderful life.
Sounds like w great field trip!
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That sounds like a wonderful place to have grown up & live now. I’ve mostly been in small towns and big cities, so farm country is a unique experience for me. I got back last night. There were some mechanical problems with the equipment that prevented us from being in the field all day, but I did get to make 6 passes in the field on the combine and load up the grain cart a few times. 44,000 pounds of field corn kernels in less than an hour!
A couple years ago, on behalf of a client, I visited farmers in the midwest, observing their operations and fieldwork, as well as storage facilities they use, and the ultimate locations which process their produces into food ingredients. I was educated, and amazed, every step of the way, learning the agricultural, cultural, social, financial, and generational factors that are foundational to our national food supply. And the farming families are truly the salt of the earth and the backbone of our country.
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Yes, farmers are hardy folks that silently make an enormous contribution to society. Unfortunately, they are having a tough go right now with bad weather and a volatile trade environment hurting both production & prices. 2018 and 2019 are both in the bottom quartile of the last 100 years for farm income, according to Farm Bureau analysis.