As old farmers are, we are used to being at a crossroad decision every day. Do we plant corn or beans? Do we plow or no-till the field? A farmer can read all the crop price predictions that he can find and also read about the crops that are now coming off in South America, which are a large factor in the prices that we might see next fall when our crops here in North America will be harvested.
But, then there are wars going on in countries that normally produce a lot higher percentage of the worlds grain than we do in Canada. Will we have a good growing season with rain every week, or a dry summer when crops will starve for rain when they need it most?
For a farmer that also has beef or dairy cattle on the farm, they usually plan to grow enough feed or hay, corn and grain to provide for the animals even if it is a dry summer.
Grain farmers can offset some of the risk in price changes by forward contracting a percent of this year’s crop even before it is planted. These farmers must not presell too much in case their fields don’t produce enough to fill the contract and have to buy other farmers crops in the fall to fill their own contract or pay penalties for non-delivery.
Then, there is the decision about when do we plant? If the corn plants are too high or have more than five leaves when the latest frost comes in early June, most of the corn plants will be killed by that frost and the field will have to be replanted. Usually corn plants that have up to three or four leaves will survive frost because the growth point in the little corn plant is still at or below ground level.
This year in Quebec, we are coming to crossroads where there are very few indications of which road to take. Dad always told me to do your best and be fare with everyone no matter what their religion, skin color, the language that they speak, or what nationality that the were.
Last fall, Pope Francis made a trip to Canada to meet with our First Nations People who were extremely treated by both our federal government and the churches with the residential schools project. When our First Nation People were told that their religion, history, way of life, and everything about them was wrong. After meeting with our First Nation people both in Rome and in their own communities, he made a statement in Quebec City before he left.
Pope Francis stated on national TV, “no one should declare one religion, language, or culture superior to any other.” Obviously, our leaders neither listen to the Pope, nor read history books because of the way that they have recently treated both Quebec citizens and Canadians.
Recent Quebec and Canadian bills have discriminated against how people express their religion and what official language that is used. Both decisions adversely affect our culture. If they read history books, they would realize that many disputes and even wars were fought over religion or language spoken.
Canada has achieved a status of the most desirable country in the world to move to. Quebec has become home to people that came from all the corners of the earth and we have the advantage of celebrating dozens of cultures and enjoying both their different traditions and foods.
In our own little town, we have the opportunity to make friends from a dozen different cultures, religions and where many different languages are spoken. Many of our so called leaders have turned their back on this rich diversity and ruined our inclusiveness in only a few years. This decision seems to have been taken because a poll has been taken and wherever the most votes are won. Very little weight for their decision was given to the future prosperity or desire to live in this place. Several of our provinces want to make all the decisions by themselves, but still, just like little kids, have their hands out for more.
Many of the decisions on our farms require investments that can take a lifetime to pay back. This requires a long - term vision. Too many of our politicians seem to make decisions based on the next election. Even the think tanks that some political parties listen to, use very short term economics that farmers never use. When you talk to your next wanna-be politician, ask what their vision of the future is. Don’t accept, “we can do it better”, as an answer.
Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations.
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