Many people ask me, “What do farmers do during the winter?”
While things slow down some, compared to harvest and other times of the year, there is still much to do!
One thing that all farmers do in the winter is participate in meetings. This isn’t something I thought of before I started farming with my Dad. But there are actually a lot of different meetings to go to and they all usually get scheduled around this time because it’s the only time of year when we have time for them.
We meet with our seed, fertilizer and pesticide salesmen to discuss what seed varieties we will plant in the spring. We meet with our accountant to plan for taxes and our insurance agent to discuss what insurance to choose for our crops in the coming year.
There are also a lot of educational meetings planned by companies and agencies to help us learn more about various technologies, weather, and marketing trends for selling our grain.
One year in the winter I attended a weekend-long training about minimum tillage practices to help with our soil conservation. I actually went to this meeting by myself the first year I started to work with my Dad and didn’t understand most of what the different presenters were talking about. Now, I’m happy to say, I have a much better grasp on this!
Another task that my Dad and I do in the winter is ship some of our corn. We hire semi-trucks to haul our corn which is taken to the local elevator where it’s sold and then usually shipped overseas.
This year I chose to market our grain a little earlier in the winter since last year we had to fight a large amount of snow. Remember our snow from last year? I ended up having to get several semi-trucks out of snow banks in our yard with our tractor. This year has gone much smoother since we got it shipped before any snow came.
In the winter we also devote time to working on and doing maintenance to our tractors and equipment, catching up on bookkeeping, and basically anything else we can accomplish inside to avoid being outside in the cold!
Last, but not least, I find some time to rest and enjoy a more normal pace of life, which has made me appreciate the winter much more. I hope you stay nice and warm this winter and enjoy some time to relax as well.
ELIZABETH KOENIG – HINCKLEY FARMER, THERAPIST, AND ARTISAN SOAP MAKER