Kansas Farmer Hopes for Enough Rain to Grow Weeds

In the middle of what would normally be an ideal growing season, Kansas farmer Caleb Callister still finds himself worried about his drought-stricken farm and the potential for failed crops. It’s been dry here since mid-April, said Callister in an interview with the Kansas City Star newspaper on June 15th, 2015. It rained yesterday, but we needed two inches to make any real difference. This summer, in fact, has been one of the driest on record for many parts of Kansas, including Callister’s territory in western Clay County.

High expectations
For most of my life, I’ve expected a lot from myself. It wasn’t easy, but I always pushed hard to achieve my goals—and that included pushing hard in school, where I managed to land a full scholarship as an adult student at Kansas State University. My first day on campus was terrifying, and it took all my willpower not to turn around and run back home. But somehow I stuck it out; it was one of those moments when you realize you can do more than you ever thought possible.

The wrong choice of technology
One of my favorite rants on risk aversion is made by Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth. Risk is not something to be avoided, he writes. It is something that can be managed. Risk management starts with getting comfortable with and making a conscious decision about risk, which means being in touch with reality—understanding that things do sometimes go wrong, and having a plan in place to deal with them when they do.

A heavier use of water
With more rain, farmers will be able to use more water, which is already being stretched thin in parts of Kansas. The increased availability of water will allow farmers a chance to plant seeds that need constant watering and may not survive in an environment where there isn’t enough rainfall throughout most of the year. Unfortunately, since these weeds require a higher amount of water than other crops or vegetation, they may end up using even more water than before.

How much can you really save?
If you’re really going to turn things around and save money, a change in spending habits is essential. But cutting back won’t work unless you learn how much you spend on each item or category of items. As a starting point, try keeping track of your spending for one month. At first, use cash or a debit card and write down every purchase; if that feels like too much hassle, download an app such as Mint that does it automatically.

The scary part is that no one seems to care
In recent years, as we’ve become more and more disconnected from where our food comes from and how it’s produced, it’s easier than ever to ignore just how serious a problem food security is in many places around the world. Kansas farmer doesn’t think he’ll have enough rain water for his crops; instead of a bountiful crop of corn and soybeans, he has high hopes for an excellent crop of weeds! Will spring showers arrive in time? Stay tuned…

What would have happened if everyone had done it?
It’s all about what you don’t plant, and if we have enough rain we can get a decent weed crop, but it takes water to grow weeds, he said. If we don’t get much rain, there will be no crop at all. I hope everyone keeps that in mind when they want to blame me for something next year. I’m not planting anything unless I get some rain, so why would anyone else? it’s just common sense.

Lessons learned
When an interview with a farmer was published in The Wall Street Journal, it was met with harsh criticism. One of his farm’s major crops—corn—is genetically modified. An invasive species that takes over native plants, corn is also responsible for displacing local wildlife and polluting waterways throughout Kansas. Meanwhile, as climate change brings higher temperatures, less rainfall and more frequent droughts, maize producers are finding it increasingly difficult to produce more.

Tips for farmers looking to start growing weed in their field
Though hemp can be found in nearly every state, states that grow hemp must also abide by federal law, and they are not permitted to grow it without a permit. However, even if your farm doesn’t have a large plot of land devoted to growing industrial hemp, you can always start small. Hemp is known to be an excellent soil conditioner, so planting some hemp seeds with your other crops could give them a boost. If you want to learn more about how you can get started with growing industrial hemp on your farm, contact us today!

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