Farmer’s face reality of October stress even with onset of National Farmer Day

Caitlyn Kleffner, FFA Reporter

On October 12, social media flooded with National Farmer Day propaganda. To most it was just another Saturday but not to America’s farmers because this time of year can be the busiest and most stressful time. Thirty-nine percent of Missouri farmers are trying to get their crops in and out of the fields in between rain storms and before freezing begins to occur.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are 27,700,000 acres of farmland in Missouri and roughly 10,843,400 acres are for raising crops. In Missouri, the most predominant crops are soybeans and corn which are mostly grown in the northern part of the state. Missouri ranks 7th in the production of soybeans and 9th for production of corn (Missouri Farm Facts, Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service). Soybeans are used in animal feed, breakfast cereals, protein substitutes, soy oil for cooking, plastics, paints and cleaners and biodiesels. Corn is not only food for humans and animals, but it is also used to produce industrial alcohols and biodiesels. Along with soybeans and corn there is cotton, rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, oats, grapes and melons grown in Missouri. The cotton and rice are mostly grown around the bootheel area of the state. Missouri ranks 10th in the harvest of cotton and 6th for rice (Missouri Farm Facts, Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service).
If you have done any traveling lately you might notice roadside pumpkin stands. Farmers around the area will grow pumpkins in a small area of their fields and then set these pumpkins out by the road for people to buy. If you stop to buy some of these pumpkins you are helping a local farmer. In addition to the roadside stands, there has been numerous pumpkin patches that have open over few years. When visiting these businesses you will have the opportunity to do corn or hay mazes, pick your own pumpkins, tractor rides and many other fun games.

Sorghum is a Missouri crop often gets overlooked. Sorghum is a grain that can be used for sweetening foods. Sorghum is mostly used for livestock feed and making ethanol that is now in almost all gasoline. Lanie Duvel, Rolla FFA member, grows sorghum and make molasses from the sorghum to sell to neighbors.
As you are cruising around on the roads and see tractors on the roads or fields of crops turning colors remember all those farmers out there putting in long hours to make the harvest happen. Those farmers have families that they are giving up time with so that you can have food, clothes, fuel in your car and much more.