Editorial: Harvesting the Fruits of Labor

8/31/2013 7:00 AM
By Chris Torres Regional Editor

If you’re like me and actually have the time to enjoy Labor Day, I highly suggest celebrating with a nice, juicy steak off the grill and a cold beverage to go along with it.

Of course many of you reading this will be out in the fields, performing the hard work that Labor Day is supposed to celebrate and recognize.

For many, this Labor Day will be a time to catch up on a season that’s brought struggles to some parts of the region.

Fields in New England are finally starting to dry out, which — according to this week’s National Agricultural Statistic Service crop weather report — is welcome news to many producers who haven’t been able to get even a first cutting of hay.

Farmers in Virginia are likely praying for the rains to stay away. The state’s NASS report said hay producers are struggling due to the “excessively wet summer.”

Other parts of the region, including Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, are gearing up for bumper crops of corn and soybeans.

Growers in the Keystone State are starting to harvest apples and peaches along with tobacco and potatoes. A good corn silage harvest would also be welcome news for dairy producers.

Same goes for New York growers, as the Empire State’s vast apple crop is ahead of schedule this season.

And Labor Day wouldn’t be the same without a good discussion about the latest forecast from the “Old Farmer’s Almanac.”

Earlier this week, the official forecaster of the 197-year-old publication, who goes by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee, declared “the days of shivery are back,” forecasting a winter that will include below average temperatures for two-thirds of the nation and significant snowfalls to go with it.

Regardless of what Mother Nature holds for the harvest season or winter, one thing is for certain — farmers will be busy out in the fields and in the barns.

There is no holiday celebrating the contributions of farmers, unless you celebrate Old Farmers Day on Oct. 12.

According to the website, holidayinsights.com, Old Farmers Day “honors the hard labor of farmers throughout American history. Early American culture was heavily a farming culture. Early settlers cleared fields and pristine woods to farm the rich land. They brought seeds and farming methods with them.”

Most farmers I’ve known through the years aren’t the kind of people who do their jobs in the hope of getting recognized. They just do their jobs day in, day out, and don’t think twice about it.

I guess, in a sense, farmers don’t need an official holiday to be recognized.

Think about it: Do you really need a special day like Valentine’s Day to tell someone else that you love them? Do you really need Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to say thank you to your parents?

As it is, Labor Day is a time to celebrate the hard workers of our country, and I would certainly put farmers in that category.

But I can’t think of a better way to reward farmers than hoping the harvest goes as well if not better than what is expected.

So cheers to a good harvest.

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