This I Believe

Mike - Kennewick, Washington
Entered on November 9, 2006

I believe in farming. I enjoy seeing the sun come upon my work. If it’s done right, my family can afford to go to the mall. If I make a mistake, even a small one, I can look forward to a winter of stress and reflection.

I like hot days; I like cold days; I like the sun and the wind and the rain. I like the way dirt smells. The thought processes required for survival is stimulating. I especially like watching the scenery change. Sometimes I allow myself to project liner trends based on what’s happing now: the market will stay high, it’ll be calm and warm tomorrow, I won’t gain weight, and, the Seahawks will go back to the big dance this winter. I know better.

I believe that if six and a half billion of us want to eat today, someone like me will mass produce monoculture commodities in a controlled ecological system. Better living will come through proper use of chemicals. I had cancer once; I was cured through chemistry and radiation. I want—I need—to be safe. A clean, healthy, productive and enjoyable world will require the practical use of the environment and our intellect. People need plants. Plants need nitrogen. I prefer “synthetic nitrogen” that has been shocked out of the atmosphere over “organic nitrogen” that has been collected form the south end of a chicken. I believe in reality. I believe my species is here to stay.

I’m a price taker. Even the largest producers grow a miniscule percentage of what the planet produces. Anything I do, or anything I don’t do, won’t be noticed at the exchanges. I report to the people standing in line at Wal-Mart. If I can outrun my world-wide competitors, I’m a player; if not, I can move on.

I’d like to live like the dentist down the street; I wouldn’t like to spend all day with my fingers in someone’s mouth. I rather report to the big house than report to cubical to do capital asset analysis. I could drive a truck. I want to farm another year.