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In the field with a farming father

Guest Blog by Jeanine Moyer Jeanine was raised on a pig, beef cattle and crop farm in Ontario

Growing up on our farm meant that quality time spent with dad was ‘seasonal’. Cold winter days would keep dad in the house where my siblings and I could play and spend time with him. But as soon as spring came we knew our time with dad would be limited to those short hours at mealtimes and on rainy days.

However, spring and fall provided an excellent opportunity for us to get out of mom’s hair and do what every farm kid enjoys the most – ride in a tractor. Spring and fall tillage meant dad would spend endless hours in the tractor cab plowing or cultivating fields to get them ready for planting or breakup the crop residue left after harvest. Dad would often pack his lunch to eat in the tractor, setting off early after chores and returning long after dark. And once in a while he would invite one of us to tag along.
Inside, the tractor cab was dusty but that soon just became part of the décor as I would settle on dad’s knee and pretend to take the wheel and drive or, as I got older perch beside him on the arm rest. Hours would go by and sometimes we would talk or just listen to the hum of the engine and all the while dad would carefully navigate the tractor and plow or cultivator pulled behind the tractor up and down the length of the field. It was just like going for a long car ride, but a little bumpier. And eventually I would nod off to sleep often taking naps curled up behind the seat of the tractor nestled on dad’s jacket or old flannel shirt. When the tractor pulled in the farm yard for the evening I would climb out and head into the house hungry but well rested while dad headed to the barn to feed his hungry livestock before he could rest and satisfy his own appetite.
Many tractors today have large roomy cabs with an extra seat for a passenger and today’s technology has allowed farmers to utilize GPS navigation systems. Tractors installed with GPS help farmers maximize their fuel mileage when plowing or cultivating. GPS systems tell the farmer where he should be positioned in the field based on the measurements and the width of the plow or cultivator, overall reducing the number of passes they have to make in each field. But that doesn’t mean they can sleep on the job, GPS technology helps a farmer steer the tractor and position themselves in a field, but they still have to keep a careful eye on the machine and the field conditions to keep everything running smoothly.
Twenty five years ago dad didn’t have the benefit of such advanced technology but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate it today. And so do I, because I even though I don’t fit behind the tractor seat to have a nap anymore my son does fit on dad’s knee. Today Grandpa and grandson spend quality time together in the tractor cab, a true testament to the unique lifestyle that only a family farm can offer.


Posted by OFAC on May 3rd, 2011 :: Filed under Crops,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,spring
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