Hi there! My name is Greg, and I am the eldest of the Peterson Farm Brothers. This is an introduction to our blog and in it I will do my best to explain what the lyrics to our parody music video, “All I Do is Farm” are all about!
Watch the parody:
This blog will focus mainly on family farmers like us who live in the Midwest and grow typical Midwest crops and livestock (wheat, corn, soybeans, sorghum, cattle, etc). There are countless other farmers out there who grow all sorts of different things (fruits, veggies, nuts, etc.) and raise all sorts of different animals (swine, poultry, dairy, etc.), but since my expertise lies solely on Midwest USA farmers, that’s what I will generally be referencing. The point to take away here is that we need to appreciate all farmers, no matter what kind they are, and we should all do our best to thank those who help grow our food!
I know a lot of you will disagree with at least one thing I will talk about on this blog. And that’s okay! But I beg you, please do not think that simply because you disagree with us on something, you can no longer be one of our friends! I disagree on something with pretty much everyone I know. If I didn’t talk to everyone I disagreed with, I’d be a pretty lonely person! It is important that we listen to different perspectives and keep an open mind. If you want to discuss something with us, visit our Facebook page!
It was extremely hard to fit all of my thoughts into one blog, so I have included several links to future blog posts where I will fully discuss my thoughts on why farmers do what we do! You can sign up to be notified when these blog posts are done by subscribing to this blog and following our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/petersonfarmbros
Okay, let’s take a look at the lyrics:
Peterson Farm Brothers goin’ in cause you know that we can’t stop, won’t stop now
I’m gonna make it clear for you like the black and white on a Holstein cow
That I ain’t goin nowhere, farmers have got yo’ back!
I’m raising crops and livestock so that you have food to snack
My brothers and I are your typical college age farm kids from Kansas who live on a 5th generation family farm in Kansas. We also just happen to have a YouTube channel! We have been doing farm music video parodies for about the last 2 years. It has been a crazy ride since our first video “I’m Farming and I Grow It” came out in June of 2012. It received 5 million views in just over a week and took our lifelong message of advocating agriculture and spread it all over the world. It was definitely a surprise to us that so many people enjoyed watching our videos. 30 million views and 5 parody videos later, we still don’t really know what we are doing but what we do know is this: We love agriculture and believe it is one of the most important things each and every human being needs to survive. And we try to show that in our videos and in our blogs as well. We also believe that farmers are some of the most misunderstood and underappreciated people in the world, and it is our goal to shed some light on why you shouldn’t take the millions of farmers raising crops and livestock in this world for granted! We hope you’ll continue reading….
All I do is farm, farm, farm no matter what!
All they do is farm. That’s what a lot of people think about farmers. “Yeah, they work hard and they are important and stuff, but they’re just farmers, right?”
There are thousands of professions out there, many of which are higher paying, more respected jobs. But where would all the people working in those jobs be without farmers? That’s right, they would be spending their time growing their own food. Today, the average farmer feeds over 155 people and the average American spends only about 6% of their income on their food, compared to 17% in 1960. Less expensive food has allowed for 98% of the population to spend all of their time doing something else besides raising their own food. How would you like it if you spent each day of your life growing your own food, instead of working at your current job and spending loads of time and money on family, leisure, and entertainment? So yes, all we do is farm, but without us farming, you all would be starving! (Or at least growing your own food!)
And not only do we farm, we farm no matter what! In heat, cold, sleet, rain, snow, weekends, holidays, and everything in between farmers are working hard to take care of animals, crops, and people! Thank a farmer!!!
Got farming on my mind I can never get enough.
I still love to farm, farm, farm
And if you know the charm put your hands in the air
Make ‘em stay there!
So what makes one want to farm? The long hours, dirty clothes, hot sun, bitter cold, and high levels of financial risk don’t sound very desirable, do they? Farming certainly isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t always profitable. But farmers love their jobs. There aren’t many farmers who don’t love farming because if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be much incentive to farm! There is just something about putting seeds in the ground in the spring and reaping the harvest in the fall, as well as caring for animals and feeding people, that makes farming one of the most rewarding, satisfying jobs out there.
Watch “So God Made a Farmer:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sillEgUHGC4
And every time I step up in the building
Tractors make my eyes light up!
‘Cuz they so big!
And they so fine!
Though sometimes they break down, break down, break down…
Anyone who knows a farmer knows that farmers love tractors, combines, and basically any type of farm machinery! Walking into a dealership full of new equipment makes a farmer feel like a kid in a candy store. However, new farm equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, making it extremely hard for any farmer to afford. This leaves a lot of farmers with older equipment that is very susceptible to breakdowns. Breakdowns can be very frustrating (you can see us throw up our hands in the video!) and can also be very expensive. But again, once you’ve fixed a broken down piece of equipment, that feeling of accomplishment sweeps over you and you remember why you love to farm!
Working lightning pace to harvest at the right time is the battle
I’m bouncing up and down like bobbin’ heads of cattle
I fly like Julius Erving, so that you get a servin’
Of fresh and healthy food that’s what you call the agricultural version
Harvest time is one of the most exciting times on the farm! The crops that need to be brought in can be wiped out in minutes by water, wind, fire, and other weather elements. Farmers spend a lot of time stressing out about how they are going to get their harvesting done. The weather never seems to cooperate and the aforementioned breakdowns always seem to get in the way! But most of the time, through hard work and patience, the farmer is able to bring in the harvest and take it to market, where crops like corn, wheat, soybeans, etc. will be made into a lot of the foods and products you use every day! Check out these different links:
Products made from Corn: http://www.businessinsider.com/corn-product-infographic-2012-7
Facts about Wheat: http://www.kswheat.com/consumerspageid220_WheatFacts.shtml
Products made from Soybeans: http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/soybean/uses_soyproducts.html
You see, it’s not just food that farmers are raising; it’s thousands of other products that we use in every day life as well! This remarkably efficient system has developed over the last couple hundred years, and is one of the major things responsible for the advancement of our society.
And farming’s not just for the old, it’s for the young and for the girls!
There are kids and women helping out on farms around the world!
There are thousands and thousands of women and children helping out on farms! Many farms are owned and operated by women as well. Our mom and sister both know how to drive tractors and help us out whenever we need them. Everyone knows that a farm wife is one of the most important parts of a farm and many women are actually the head operator of a farm!
Here are some neat statistics about women in agriculture: http://www.americanagriwomen.org/files/women%20in%20ag%20census%20data%202007.pdf
All 3 of us brothers have enjoyed helping out on the farm since we were 4 or 5. Our roles have gradually grown from riding in the tractor with dad, to driving the tractor ourselves, to helping make big decisions on the farm. Many family farms often have several kids helping out with the production! Family farming is truly one of the neatest parts about the agricultural community.
Some like to count me out
Y’all better count me in
Got empty bank accounts, but I’ll just trust in Him
I’m feedin’ hundreds every year, there’s no need for alarm
cause all I do, all I, all I do, all I do is farm.
As I mentioned previously, it can be hard to make a profit sometimes as a farmer. All the costs of farming have risen extremely in the last couple of decades, making the risk of farming extremely high. Land can cost up to $10,000/acre (or close to $1,000,000 for one large field). New tractors or combines can cost around $400,000. This means that sometimes (or a lot of times!) a farmer’s bank account will be drained or even in debt. Farmers have to trust that their next crop or their next livestock sale will pay their bills. Since those are never a guarantee, it never hurts to trust in a Higher Power as well!
All of these financial extremes in the farming community have led to fewer farms and bigger farmers. Farmers today on average feed hundreds of people (And this average is taking into account all of the small hobby farmers out there, an average Midwest farm is likely feeding thousands per year) and can consist of thousands of acres of land and thousands of animals as well.
Some like to question my methods
And that is perfectly fine
As long as you make sure you are polite, respectful, and kind
See farming is a family affair, you know we’re just like you!
The only difference is this farming thing is what we do! (Whole fam together)
You may now be thinking: “Wait, you said thousands of animals and thousands of acres of land? That sounds like factory and industrial farming to me, not family farming.”
Not really! Family farming is as alive as it has ever been! 96% of farms in the United States are family farms and I cannot name a single farm in our area here in Kansas that isn’t a family farm! The key point here is that family farms are getting bigger and many of them fall into the “industrial/factory farm” label, giving them a bit of a bad reputation. But I can assure you that farm families across the Midwest are doing everything they can to raise your food as ethically as possible! If you are interested in learning more about this, check out our family farm blog by clicking the following link:
All I do is farm farm farm no matter what
Got cattle on mind, caring for them when it’s tough
Feeding the cattle a healthy ration, in typical farmer fashion
Caring for my animals has always been a number one passion
We love our cattle. Yes, we have over 1,000 head of cattle in our feedlots when we are at maximum capacity. Yes, that means we are considered a factory farm. (Please read the aforementioned “family farming” blog post!) But, like I mentioned earlier, most large cattle operations are family owned and operated and provide cattle with everything they need to live happy lives. We care for our cattle in every type of weather and season! Our cattle (as well as nearly all cattle here in America) spend the first half of their lives on pasture grass as calves before they are transferred to our farm to be grown into healthy, strong, beef cattle! We eat our own homegrown beef all the time and would highly recommend it to anybody! While it would be nice to have all of our cattle on pasture grass for their entire lives, we treat the animals in our feedlot with the utmost respect, and you can read about what we do and why we do it in the following blog posts:
All I do is farm farm farm no matter what
Conservation on my mind i take care of what I got
So every time I see water erosion
I go build my terraces up!
So it runs there!
And it runs there!
And I practice no-till, no-till, no-till
Cause that’s just how I farm, farm, farm
Many people think farmers could care less about the environment. This could not be further from the truth! One of the ways farmers like us practice conservation is through no-till planting methods. No-till allows the farmer to keep residue on the soil, protecting it from water and wind erosion, and prevents catastrophes like the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s from happening.
Here are some of the cool benefits of no-till farming: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/newsletter/notill.htm
Another way farmers are helping the environment is by minimizing mono cropping. Most farmers today practice what is called crop rotation. In the old days of farming, the same crop was planted year after year, draining the soil of certain nutrients. Today, farmers plant different crops in different fields every year, which, like no-till, is much healthier for the soil.
A lot of people do not realize, however, that these extremely important conservation methods of no-till and crop rotation are what are responsible for things like herbicide and pesticide usage and genetically engineered plants. You see, no-till farming is impossible without a way to kill weeds and bugs, and herbicides, pesticides, and genetically engineered seeds help solve this problem! They also allow for easier crop rotations. Contrary to popular belief, however, farmers are as conservative as possible with these tools, as they are very expensive. Modern day GPS technology (as seen in the video) allows for precise application of sprays and fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds have been adapted so that fewer applications of the sprays must be administered. Another thing to remember is that the spray you see farmers putting on their crops usually consists of over 90% water, meaning the chemical application is very minimal. Of course, we realize that the concern is that chemical residue from the spray will make your food dangerous and that genetically engineered food is somehow bad for you. We strongly believe neither of these to be true (based on thousands of peer reviewed studies) as there have never been any traces of sickness resulting from any of these farming practices. In fact, we regularly eat our crops straight from the field! To keep this paragraph short, we hope that you can see that if we can trust our crops healthiness and environmental safety enough to consume them ourselves straight from the field, you should be able to as well. To further discuss these very controversial subjects, however, we will be devoting an entire blog post to them soon.
Billions of more people will be on this planet years from now
With farmland shrinking back each day, how we gonna feed ‘em, how?
Farmers use technology, and input less to produce more
Keeping carbon footprint down is what we use our methods for!
We all need to work together, to feed the human race
Sustainability to make the world a better place
In the battle against hunger, what will you use for armor?
Paul Harvey said it best, “So God Made a Farmer”
The population of the world will increase to more than 9 billion by the year 2050. Farmland is being taken away all over the place by cities, highways, and houses. We WILL be able to feed this population, but only if we as the population allow farmers to continue to use the technology (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) we are using! Farmers have drastically reduced inputs over the years, and yet have continued to produce more food each year. Today’s farmers produce 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs (labor, seeds, feed, fertilizer, etc.), compared to 1950. That’s crazy!
Check this page out: http://www.fb.org/index.php/index.php?action=newsroom.fastfacts
We also are trying to do our best to keep our carbon footprint down. Newer farm machinery releases less emissions, thousands of regulations have been put on farmers to make sure our practices are safe and environmentally friendly, and beef producers have made huge strides to improve sustainability: http://www.explorebeef.org/CMDocs/ExploreBeef/Environmental%20Sustainability%20of%20Beef%20Production%20Has%20Improved%20Considerably%20Over%20Last%2030%20Years.pdf
Many people believe that “organic farming” alone is sustainable. However, if you truly step back and take a look at the data, you will see that we need ALL types of farming and farmers to be able to be sustainable! We need to work together! Not fight about which is better or worse. The only way we could feed the world with only organic farming is if the majority of the population became farmers again, as organic farming does not work well on a large scale. (This would severely cut back on the advancement of society, as mentioned in the first part of the blog, and just simply isn’t going to happen unless you force people to become farmers)
All I do is farm farm farm no matter what
Got people on mind I’m just tryna feed enough
So every time you step up to your next meal
Send a farmer thank you up!
Cuz we work hard!
So you stay fed!
Though this life can go down, up, down, up down
We still love to farm, farm, farm
And if you know the charm put your hands in the air
Make ‘em stay there!
In conclusion, I would just like to ask for you to put your food security trust in the hands of farmers. There are probably bad farmers out there, farmers who abuse their land, their animals, and are not viable stewards of what has been given them (I’ve certainly never met one, and I’ve met thousands of farmers when we visit places to speak). But those farmers are few and far in between and the agricultural community will do our best to help stop those terrible practices. If you don’t remember anything else from this blog, remember this: The absolute overwhelming majority of farmers in this world are real, wholesome, good-natured farm families who are “just trying to feed enough.” And they need your support! My challenge to the reader of this blog is to get to know your local farmers! Meet an organic producer and meet a conventional producer. Meet a large farmer and then a small farmer. Talk to them about what they do and why they do it! (If you want to visit our farm and talk to us, head to http://www.petersonfarmbros.com and click the farm tours tab!) I am sure you will find that 99% of farmers, whether big or small, are good people just like you and I who deserve thanks for what they are doing.
I am also challenging farmers everywhere to be transparent to consumers and people who know nothing about agriculture. It’s time we show people why we do what we do. We have nothing to hide! It’s time we start working together to feed the world! Stop the fighting and start uniting!
If you have any comments or questions about this blog, please head over to http://www.facebook.com/petersonfarmbros and post on our wall. We will do our best to reply to your comments in an honest, transparent way. But remember, questioning our methods is perfectly fine, as long as you are polite, respectful, and kind!