Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 9:33 pm | Fair 48º


Danny Tyree: America’s Farmers Work Doubly Hard For The Money

In my 19 years of working for a farmers cooperative, I’ve seen all types of farmers and ranchers.

There have always been “weekend farmers" for whom farming is a lark, a small supplemental income or a tax write-off. Other herdsmen and planters have farming in their DNA. They yearn to be able to maintain farms handed down through generations and support their families SOLELY through the sweat of their brow in the croplands, pastures, orchards and dairy barns.

In a conglomerate-dominated business, things look less promising for “the little guys" all the time.

According to a Feb. 26 Wall Street Journal article (“To Stay on the Land, Farmers Take Extra Jobs”), rising costs and depressed commodity prices are driving farmers to take desperate measures. On average, 82 percent of U.S. farm household income is expected to come from off-farm work this year, up from 53 percent in 1960.

Yes, farmers are reluctantly working extra jobs (on neighboring farms, in factories, etc.), missing their children’s extracurricular activities and skipping weekend fishing trips in order to stay ahead of their creditors. Their work ethic is to be commended, but not every farmer is suited for every side job.

Here are 10 examples of potential mismatches:

» Valet parking attendant. (“I know there’s no mud between the restaurant entrance and the parking lot, but mud just always seems to find me. Or IS that mud? Eww ... no tip required, mister.”)

» Day care worker. (“You say, ‘photo I.D. for all children.’ I say, ‘Branding iron’s ready.’ Tomato, tomahto.”)

» Pollster. (“Do you think more pig slopping and less teenage backtalk would Make America Great Again?”)

» Football referee. (“7 p.m.??? Penalty for not getting up before the rooster crows to play this game!”)

» Associate minister. (“Yeah, yeah, Judy needs prayers for a lung transplant. But let’s talk RAIN first!”)

» Undertaker. (“I just automatically sprayed herbicide on all those wreaths. Do you think my John Deere can outrun the next of kin?”)

» Fast food clerk. (“Of COURSE you want fries with that! I don’t care what the world markets say — my potatoes are worth their weight in gold. And don’t try that ‘lactose intolerant’ jazz with a dairyman who has 75 Holsteins to feed.”)

» Housecleaner. (“Well, MAYBE your rambunctious twins are responsible for the laundry being strewn in the floor; but I’m bringing my shotgun and my Jaws of Death trap just in case it’s VARMINTS.”)

» Male escort. (“Perhaps I could interest you in a lecture about the benefits of artificial breeding?”)

» Archaeologist. OK, that one’s sort of cool — unless they find a cave drawing that taunts, “Bet ‘primitive hunter-gatherer’ doesn’t look so bad now, Mr. Crop Planter!”

Let’s brainstorm better ways to solve farmers’ persistent financial stress. It’s not good to entrust our food supply to someone who gets three hours of sleep. It used to be “Contented milk from contented cows.” Now it’s “Confused milk from cows that get mistaken for former schoolteachers.”

And the dangers aren’t just in the food supply. You know the bumper sticker that admonishes, “Don’t cuss a farmer with your mouth full”? In the future the message may be, “No, don’t cuss him with your mouth full. Spit the food out and yell, ‘Wake up, you commuting &*^%$ You’re drifting into the wrong lane and about to hit my submarine! AIIIIEEEEE!’”

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Patricia Griffin
Patricia Griffin
"I am very hands on and feel that each transaction is special and different. My clients goals are foremost in what I do to bring about a successful transaction."

Full Profile >