Y2K savvy farmers thinking local?

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Are Y2K savvy farmers and agribusinessmen and women thinking local markets for summer 2000? We live on the farm, but make the majority of our living in the city. But part of our fallbacks for an extreme situation is to acquire the seed necessary to plant at least 10-20 acres in items for local consumption. Here in the great plains, the vast majority of what we grow is feed for livestock, and most of that is shipped to distant markets. What if we cant ship anything in 00?

Most cattle feed makes not so great people feed. We are acquiring non-hybrid seed for people eatable soybeans, flour corn, meal corn, dry beans along with our wheat. Why only 10 acres? I am assuming that in a worst case scenario we will not have pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizer as we normally do, and that much of the labor may be by hand. We may not have the fuel to run the irrigation wells either, so 10-20 acres will be a plenty big hand full. But, God willing, 10 acres could feed quite a few families for that next year.

Is anyone else thinking these thoughts? Is anyone else living on the farm now preparing in this way? It seems to me that if enough of us down on the farm made some of these plans to serve the local markets, we could ease some of the worst case scenario suffering.


-- Timothy Rebman (trebman@megavision.com), August 04, 1998


My city/town has farmers' market two days per week, and I am a weekly visitor and purchaser. Between that and my garden I'm a happy camper where fresh fruit and veggies go. At my house we have talked about whether these markets will continue in mild to moderate disruption that impacts the large grocery chains....Today I intend to ask some of the vendors how "independent" they really are regarding fule, irrigation, seed supply...and how far they come each week...all of the vendors wares are newly harvested,...

I'm hoping they see the merits and benefits to themselves and others in finding ways to have small local markets, if and when various degrees of doo-doo hit the generator-driven fan.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), August 05, 1998.

Shoot, I forgot to mention that this is S. California, and while essential services look cooked, for weather and for food-growing potential (in most instances), we have some advantages, as do some other warmer climes.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), August 05, 1998.

Most farmers refuse to even consider Y2k. I can say that with a reasonable amount of confidence because one of the things I do is teach computer classes at a local community college in a very rural area. Many of my students live on farms, are farmers, married to farmers, etc. I have tried in a couple of classes to gently broach this subject when I do an introduction to the internet. None will even consider the possibility. I posted to a farm forum about Y2k and got shouted off the forum. Farmers are even harder to convince than most people.

We do farm as well as work off the farm and we are preparing as if there would be no electricity or fuel. I have milk goats and lots of chickens and ducks to help provide milk and eggs to our small town if necessary. I also have a lot of non-hybrid seed for my garden. I want to find a source of non-hybrid seed corn for the fields. We will have oats next year and our alfalfa fields will last several more years. Oh we are getting draft horses to go with our other horses and all of our farm equipment is only one generation removed from horse equipment so it can be converted back or continue to be used with our antique tractors if fuel is available.

I hope things don't get that bad, but if it doesn't, I don't feel my preparations are wasted. We have had bad winter storms that have knocked out our power for periods of time and also drifted so bad that the tractor couldn't break through to get into the fields to feed the livestock, but a horse could.

If you live in the country and have the space, I think Timothy has the right idea. Add a few chickens and milk goats and you could help a lot of people.

-- beckie (sunshine_horses@yahoo.com), August 05, 1998.

I am wondering how much you will be "able to help some folks" before they help themselves... I can't figure out if your attitude is virtuous, risky, or both. I consider myself an ethical person, but there is really no telling what I might do if my children were hungry.

I think its a great idea to grow human food, I just don't know that I'd advertise it. If you have some extra, you could anonymously leave it at a place where it would be easily seen by those in need. Helen

-- Helen O. Agland (hoagland@mindspring.com), August 11, 1998.

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