Thursday, February 24, 2011

22 degrees

22 Degrees with snow on the ground, windy, snow in the forecast and temps dropping into the low teens tonight. Jeez. Some might say this is typical but I've not seen it like this before. We can't even think about watering in the greenhouse as the lines are frozen solid. I may have to hand water from the house to keep things moist if it even matters. We may just have to start over. No big deal if we do, we're not that far down the road and this is always the risk you run by starting early. Always. I don't mind, the snow is beautiful, I actually hope it snows more so I can take the kids out "tractor tubing". I just hope it passes and we're done with it. It's only fair we have some weather as practically everyone else has had their share this year.

Speaking of weather, do you ever stop to wonder how it affects you. I'm not talking about seasonal light disorder or the blue feeling a dark gloomy day provides, I'm talking a direct hit on your wallet. I was speaking with the produce buyer at the market yesterday, he informed me that every single region they buy from has had a problem with the weather. Mostly frost issues that affected AZ, CA, FL, Mexico and even Chile is having a cool wet fall. The result is a very high price and a lower quality product. Iceberg lettuce is $3.99 /head and celery is about the same. Supply and demand free market capitalism is alive and well.

Talking about supply and demand, what about oil? If you're not paying attention folks you're headed for a big surprise. It comes down to one word. Uncertainty. Turmoil in the middle east has the ability to erase any kind of uptick we've seen in our economic recovery. Even if the Saudi's step up and fill the gap from Lybia, the government and oil companies will use the loss of production as an excuse to jack the price. I paid $4.23 for Diesel yesterday. My prediction is we'll be at $6.00 by July. If that happens You're going to be hearing the phrase "double dip" alot. At least we still have it at the pump. Anyone remember 1974? All of sudden, these topics that the dooms dayers always seem to rant on and on about have at least a decent chance of becoming reality. We're a very small farm. We do lots of field work by hand but we do rely on machinery to do daily tasks of keeping up production. No fuel? way less food! Hire more people you say to take up the slack? hmmph, from what labor pool? and labor is the real cost of farming. If you think $4.00 is expensive for a head of iceberg lettuce just wait until oil becomes more scarce and we've chased all of the migrant farm workers out of the country. You'll be lucky to even find a head of lettuce. Hiring labor to replace the effeciency of mechanization is not feasable unless people really want to make a change and work for minimum wage or better yet, barter labor for food and I certainly would'nt count on that. Americans are lazy and don't like to make sacrifice or have the desire work too hard. We are a nation in decline and it's a damn shame.

What are you going to do? Start a garden? make a pledge to support farmers in your area, use less fuel? All good things. Hopefully things will work themselves out. Hope... We always have hope.

Keep well,

Farmer John

1 comment:

Ian said...

Nice that other people are thinking the same thing. Remember when fuel went up $5 a couple of years age. Prices at grocery stores went up 30-35% overnight. $6 by July, thats a realistic thought. High prices on gas will hardly affect us small farmers.
Not much to do with the ground frozen. Lets hope for weather to be dry and in the 50's next week

Ian