August 30, 2016

The dog days of summer are upon us. The days are getting shorter but the work load list is getting longer. We are still putting out transplants for a few more weeks for the fall and winter crops, but that will slow down soon.  We are now knee deep in colored bell peppers and the apples are also ripening, of course that’s added to everything else we grow.  The cover cropping season is coming up and we will discuss our planting strategies in the next newsletter.

As we head into Labor Day weekend, we are giving respect, thanks and appreciation for those who work in the fields to bring food to our plates.  Our field crew is one of the best anywhere. Agricultural work is different in a lot of ways than most other work in that there is a lot of seasonality and weather related variables that demand you “make hay” when it’s time and live somewhat within the boundaries that nature and the economy bestows us.  It’s some of the hardest work out there and it requires long hours for parts of the year and of course the slower times in winter months click here now.

Because of this difference there is some controversy within the agricultural community about new overtime laws that might go into effect.  It is most important to hear from the workers and farmers themselves whether they want to limit daily and weekly hours worked and whether that is something that is even feasible, for sure not without prices going up. Another question is  how many farms with razor thin margins would go out of business and how many workers would end up with two jobs if they are seasonally limited?

I’m glad this conversation is happening.  It is well overdue because a lot of agricultural production happens out of the public view. Our increasingly urbanized society needs to reconnect to its agricultural roots if we are going to have a just, sustainable and brighter future.  Shining a light on what’s really going on in the fields is important. One thing of note is that smaller diversified farms where workers do a variety of daily jobs will likely be more effected than larger scale and more mechanized farming operations. The bottom line is as conscientious farmers we want to do the right thing.  What that “right thing” is, is the topic at hand.