The question has been raised: What makes a good farmer? Is there really a point form list of qualities that make a farmer better?
Farmers are one of the key pillars of our food supply chains, and in the grand scheme of things, part of the web of aspects we rely on in order to survive. We tend to forget that we live in a society of convenience, not having to physically plough and harvest our food but rather hop into our cars to head down the road in order to fetch a prepacked meal to cook without needing to give it a second thought.
Another thing we forget is that each farmer has to go through different struggles as each piece of land is completely different to the next for so many different reasons: differences in soil, drainage, altitudes and micro-climates are all aspects that each farmer has to consider when he prepares to take on a new harvest season.
While there is no point form list a farmer needs to follow, there are a few requirements that need to be met, such as understanding of intricate systems, knowing how to aim for long term results instead of settling for instant gratification, understanding buffer capacity and knowing what needs to be tested, as well as a drive to have an ongoing growth plan.
A farm is an intricate system that has many social and ecological aspects, as well as a few unbridled natural systems that play a large role in the well-being of a farm. A farmer should know his land well enough to be able to predict any drastic changes that could affect his harvest either before, during or after being ploughed.
Another point that can be expanded on is buffer capacity. Simply put, it means that the farmers should have enough wiggle room, and possibly a reserve plan, to be able to stay a reliable food producer should something unexpected happen.
In the end, we would not be able to survive without our farmers; the amount of intense background work that gets done just to produce the food we buy from the shop down the road is beyond our imagination. We tip our hats to each and every farmer who has worked hard in order to sustain our beautiful country.
For more detail on the different aspects farmers need to handle, head over to Farmingportal.co.za