In “Dispatches From the Fields,” Ariane Lotti and Stephanie Ogburn, who are working on small farms in Iowa and Colorado this season, share their thoughts on producing real food in the midst of America’s agro-industrial landscape.
—–A field of dried soybeans ready to be combined.
Although “that time of year” in corn and soybean country is a few weeks late, it has finally arrived. Whether starting up their new $300,000 capital investment for the first time or pulling out their trusted and infinitely tinkered-with machine, farmers are taking to the fields in one of industrial agriculture’s greatest creations: the combine.
Last week I got to go along for the ride as Jerry, a conventional corn and soybean farmer in North Central Iowa, harvested soybeans in his John Deere contraption.
By today’s standards, Jerry plays in the minor leagues. His combine, which he bought used in the mid-’90s, is a 1982 model. It has the capacity to hold about 225 bushels of grain and can, on a good day, combine 50 acres of corn. A top-of-the-line John Deere combine these days costs upwards of $300,000... Read more