Now that I'm older, I actually like the title. I am a dirt farmer in the truest sense. If every farmer would stop and think for a moment, that is truly what we all are. The soil is the key to every farm. From the small grain farmer to the beef farmer, the vegetable farmer to the hog farmer, and every farmer in between, we all rely heavily on the soil. Without it farming dies.
Soil is not inert matter. Healthy farms have vibrant life living underneath those rows of tall green crops and lush pastures. Millions and even billions of organisms live there feeding each other and off of each other. Minerals are being used and replenished through the cycle of life and death. There is nothing lifeless about it.
Then there are those who believe that there is great value in tending to the soil, feeding and encouraging this vibrant microscopic ecosystem. Those that believe there is life beneath our feet that should be disturbed as little as possible. An entire farm within a farm. Organisms that should be treated with love and respect. They must be regarded and fed just like the rest of of the organisms on the farm.
Today's farming elite say that there is no way what we do will be profitable for the farmer or be able to feed the world. Yet, every year that passes our soil improves and we become more productive. We are able to deliver healthier more nutritious food to you on less land. The impact of our farm on the ecosystem as a whole is reduced, which means what we do is better for our community, the next generation and you.
Our small farm is nowhere near its full capacity. If more folks made the choice to buy from farmers who cared for the land and not just the bottom line, farms like ours would be more prevalent. If you made that conscience choice, if you asked about management practices, if you voted with your dollars, farmers would change. The agricultural landscape would change. In the end, we would have more dirt farmers.
We need more dirt farmers.