The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to all in western Illinois. I'm a hope'n this letter finds you all in a fine state of affairs.
My friend Cornelius Farkwad was a wonderin' just how he would describe what a farmer is to some folk that is about to visit him from the big city.
They will be looking to discover how rural people exist without the amenities such as fixed salary, that are found in the more cultured areas of the big city. He asked me to help him.
So, I tells Cornelius that's no problem. I explains to him that a farmer is a gatherer and a distributor. Nothin' more and nothin' less, by my notion.
Early on the first goal of a hopeful farmer is a gathering process. In order to be able to farm he must collect certain abstract objects.
The first abstract object is money. Generally speaking due to the huge volumes of capital necessary to farm, this is no easy job. It's "bout as easy as pickin' fly dung outta' black pepper.
Some has a blood relative that might help with capital needs, others utilize a lender, and a precious few might just have a good friend.
Whatever the source, a potential farmer must first gather much capital. Then he distributes it. All and all to the extent that his abilities maximizes his distribution efforts this will determine his final success with farming.
Some of the distribution goes to land. He might buy land, rent land or some combination of the two.
Anyways, without land he cannot call himself a farmer. That's just as plain as th' nose on yer face.
He also must obtain machinery. Maybe, once again, a relative helps with gettn' some, maybe he leases some, maybe he shares with a neighbor and maybe he uses some combination of all three. It can be new or used machinery, the choice is a matter of personal preference and limited by the success of his first gathering effort, in collecting capital.
Some fellers get "new paint" disease and choose mostly new equipment. There is an old adage however, that a beginning farmer generally won't have enough capital to buy land, for permanency or new paint, for comfort, all at the same time, unless of course, he comes from a wealthy background.
After this distribution process is over, he has one more conversion process to perform with this first abstract object (capital).
He must now convert the remaining abstract object (capital) for living expense and farming inputs.
Some live high on the hog, allocating much to living expenses, and cut themselves short for proper crop inputs. Others live rather frugally the first few years hopin' to collect and gather a little reserve for the distribution process.
It can be said of a farmer generally that he "lives poor and dies rich" or that he has little or no spending money but lots of capital items which tie up his capital.
The next distribution effort is rather complex and mysterious. He utilizes his remainder abstract object by converting to yet another abstract object. he distributes his capital into see, fertilizer, chemicals and then, like a hurried chipmunk, he buries it into the ground in a timely fashion.
He then waits in the spring with obedient faith for the right amount of rain, temperature,weather and lack of hail and damaging winds. Who else would convert large sums of money to abstract objects and bury it in the ground?
His plan is to come back to where he has buried his converted capital, in a few months, and miraculously find a new converted abstract object, in the form of grain etc.
This, he hopes, will pull his chestnuts out of the fire!
His plan is for the weather to cooperate to allow him to adequately gather this newly converted abstract object, hoping somebody will be willing to give him something for it in the form of the very first abstract object (money).
Some "walk" the crop off by converting it to meat, poultry, or dairy and hope that abstract object will not die. Who else has more innovative methods for gambling than the farmer?
Then, the farmer takes this final conversion (money) and distributes it to those who helped him in the first place. Some goes to the lender for principal and interest, some goes for machinery payments, some goes for land rent or land payments and some goes for fuel, crop insurance etc etc.
All in all it is redistributed in a timely fashion to allow the farmer to begin the process all over again, for another season.
To the extent that the farmer is efficient in the distributing and gathering process determines how long he is able to call himself a "farmer" and play the game.
There is a lot of faith in a farmer's life. Faith for good weather, no insect problems, correct temperature, etc etc.
Maybe that is why often times farm folk in, in the past, have had strong religious and moral convictions.
Come to think of it, a lot of people have faith in farmers to be good distributors and gatherers to enable them to provide cheap and abundant food for our nation.
Cornelius seemed satisfied with this definition for his city folk. I'm a hopin' you are to, in a good humored way.
Catch Ya Later