How Markets Effect Farmers

You know those days where it’s so humid and hot that your sweat seems to sweat? Or your hair doubles in size and looks like you’ve got an afro from the 70’s? (Or is the afro part just my crazy, curly hair?)

We’ve had a few of those days recently and I am so ready for fall. I’m ready for the crisp, cool fall and for harvest to begin. Fall is my favorite time of year. Maybe it’s because I always enjoyed going back to school and seeing all my classmates again, or maybe it’s the memories of riding in the combine with my Grandpa and watching the corn “dance” as it got taken in by the corn head.

Andrew harvesting.

Andrew harvesting last year.

Either way, I’m ready for it. But this year will be a little different. We’re (Farmers) are being hit with a blessing and a curse. The blessing is, is that the crops are looking phenomenal this year. We’ve gotten sufficient rains in southern Iowa and we’ve had the heat that we have needed as well. Things are looking good!

However… everyone is looking good, and the markets are showing it. The prices for commodities are lowering. This means farmers get less money back for their crop that they harvest, meaning less profit, meaning less money that’s entering your local economy from the farmers and their families.

What does this mean for my family? We raise hogs. —  When other farmers see that corn prices are low, they decide that there is enough profit in it to raise more livestock. This then floods the livestock market and again, lowers prices because of the increased supply.

Farmers are like anyone else. We’re trying to make money to survive and to feed our families and live comfortably. When there is less money made, less money enters your local economy at the grocery store, home decor shop or local restaurant.  It just so happens that what they produce also feeds your family.

Agriculture runs in cycles. We’re in for an interesting couple years folks.

Love to all-Nicole




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Iowa State Fair Blues

Hey all! It’s been a crazy couple weeks on the home front. Last weekend was my birthday and I felt absolutely loved and spoiled by all of my favorite people. It was by far my best birthday yet. Since it was my birthday I took the day off from work and me and Andrew (The Farmer) headed to the Iowa State Fair to celebrate and see some friends.

We started out by looking at the chickens that were brought into the fair. For whatever reason Andrew (mind you, he’s a grown man) gets a big kick out of any type of chickens. He just laughs and laughs at their silly behavior. We moved on to the Ag Building and checked out the displays and the famous Butter Cow. — Wow, what an exhibit. If you ever get to go to the Iowa State Fair, you’ve got to see our famous Butter Cow.

We met one of my friends for awhile in the show arena and moved towards the pig barn. Oh, how I love to check out the big billy boar. (Billy Boar?– my husband and his family have fun words for various animals, like a chicken is called a bagock-i-gick-i-gee? — see I’m not even sure how you spell that. But, it definitely keeps things fun around our parts with all these silly names for everything)

As we got closer to the pig barn, Andrew stops and says, “I’m not sure we should go in there…”

Andrew raises hogs, and there is something that is always in the back of his mind. Disease. Last spring our farm was hit with a deadly virus (PED) that has killed millions of baby pigs in the U.S. We lost enough to make you cry, and there wasn’t anything we could do about it. No cures, no vaccines… nothing.

We didn’t go into the pig barn that Friday. Not to only protect ourselves by not bringing diseases home, but protecting the hard-working fair goers that take their pigs to the fair to show. We didn’t want to bring anything from our farm to the fair that could possibly affect the pigs there.

Sometimes.. being a pig farmer just plain stinks. (Literally and figuratively) I used to love walking through the barns looking at the pigs and reminiscing on my showing days. — But, not walking through the pig barn at the Iowa State Fair is a small price to pay for the rewarding life style of raising hogs. There is nothing more sweet that watching Andrew get excited to go chore and work with his pigs.

This weekend on Saturday and Sunday Andrew and I will be volunteering at the Fair. If you’re around and want to talk to us about our pigs or any other part of our farming operation, hit us up! Tweet my twitter handle @farmgirlnicole and we’ll meet up.

Enjoying the Iowa State Fair last week.

Enjoying the Iowa State Fair last week.

Love to all-Nicole

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