March 2008
Farm Fresh Memories

It's Simple Enough for Flat Rock Folk...

“JUST LET ‘EM GROW THEIR OWN!!!”

By Joe Potter


There was a double armload of pick-ups and several other transportation modes parked outside The Flat Rock General Store just off Lawrence County County Road 131 as I committed to park. It was Wednesday nearin’ onto 11 a.m. when I walked through the old double-front doors. There was a passel of store regulars plus several other community and area Flat Rock folk gathered in the rear of The Store around the old potbellied heater. Additional, L.O. Bishop had brung Slim some fresh-from-the-pit Bishop’s pulled pork bar-b-que. Actual, I believe he was barterin’ for some fresh-dressed fryin’ quail killed over to Potters Mud Creek Farm on two Saturday’s past.

Beyond pork promotion and quail barterin’, there was some heavy discussion bein’ undertook about current events — politics, religion, sports and especially a much needed farm bill for local, state and national farmers. L.O., bein’ on a tight schedule, headed out soonley, but the heavy discussions held on, especial concernin’ the farm bill needs, politicians individual support, consumer feeling thoughts supportin’ and understandin’ of farmers, and the importance of a new positive farm bill.

Purely, the full gist my brain took from this continued lingerin’ farm bill discussion was most folk (98 percent) are just involved in consumption agriculture. They have no pure seem feelins’ or understandin’ for/about farmers. The Store regulars and those other community and area Flat Rock folk gathered to be sayin’ that just maybe these "pure consumption folk" themselves should "JUST GROW THEIR OWN"—

SIMPLE ENOUGH,
JUST GROW YOUR OWN!!!

You say it seems clothes are priced too high,
Or there may not be a safe, economical food supply
And government payments
to farmers, why?
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

You may want to begin small
Find an acre to rent or buy
Negotiate a purchase price,
Or simply rent it by the year.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Use your own money, or prove cash flow,
And secure a farm bank loan,
Buy a tractor and equipment.
Wait! You may choose to just lease, or rent, not buy.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Soil test or just guess,
can you afford
Commercial fertilizer,
or will green space allow
You to use only organic manure.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Select a variety of plain seed,
Or use genetically modified,
You decide.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Use conventional
tillage practices,
Or don’t till it at all,
It’s your call.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Plant the crop in rows,
Or drill it real tight,
Which one will be right.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Wait, should you use a herbicide?
No, save the environment,
Hoe it weed free.
It’s only an acre, you see.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Watch it grow, check it for bugs.
Pray for good weather —-
Will there be rain,
can the crop mature
Before the first killing frost,
Or will severe drought
mean a total crop loss?
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Find a custom harvester
to pick your crop
No, Wait! Pick it by hand,
it’s only an acre, you see.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Have it processed
at the Co-op or gin.
Hope it grades good.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Sell it for market price,
Will that cover production cost?
Or you could pay
storage and hope
For a better price, you decide.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Wait, say there is no land
Or place to plant a crop.
Well, just produce you
some poultry or livestock.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

You have the perfect place,
your own backyard,
Why it can’t be too hard.
Just fence in your backyard,
What kind of wire —-
electric, web or barb wire.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Buy you a hundred chickens,
or a hog.
Even a beef or milk cow.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Purchase and haul feed,
in the car trunk or
On top of your
sport utility vehicle.
Wait! What kind do they need?
Simple enough,
just grow your own!

Will they need water everyday???

Dispose of all the animal waste.
Deal with your neighbors,
why should they care.
We all have to eat.
Protect the environment.
Do you have
The proper permits and
waste disposal training.
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

How big will they get?
When do you harvest
poultry or livestock?
Does the harvest
create more waste?
Simple enough,
just grow your own.

Wait, it may not be simple enough!!!

 

Just because, as consumers you think clothing or food prices
And government payments to farmers are too high.
But, after the experience of growing just one acre of crops,
A hundred chickens
or some livestock,
It just might open your eyes!!!
That it sure ain’t—
Simple enough,
to just grow your own!!!
 

Estelle noted, as she headed out for a Wednesday afternoon by appointment only hair fixin’ at her hair factory, she sure appreciated what each farmer goes through to feed and cloth her and "Truth." Plus, she did purely hope the political leaders would "hurry up" with a good, solid, promisin’ Farm Bill to benefit all of America’s farmers.

As I headed toward The Store’s double-front doors for some afternoon errands, there was one or two folk still enjoyin’ some of the last bits of the fresh-from-the-pit Bishop’s pulled pork bar-b-que. Thanks first to L.O. and then to Slim for sharin’. Also, as The Store’s Wednesday conversation carried on more, thanks to all American farmers for their sacrifices and bountiful production, as they are only ‘bout less than 2 percent of the United States total population —- GOOD GROWIN’…

REMEMBER YOUR HERITAGE!!!
ALWAYS, THINK
GOOD MEMORIES!!!

Joe Potter is a former vocational agriculture teacher, FFA advisor and retired county agent (Colbert County).