Another Reminder That Ag Can Be Hard

I’m a farm kid, and my life, both personally and professionally, revolves around agriculture. So I know that farming and ranching require time, effort and emotional and financial investment that often sees scant returns.

A very small, albeit painful, example of that:

Two years ago, I carefully prepared a small patch of land on my family farm in North Dakota for juneberries, a blue fruit similiar to blueberries. I applied glyphosate several times to kill weeds and later hoed many times to kill even more.

Last year, I put up a wire fence around the patch, then planted 20 small juneberries inside. I hoed them many times and watched happily as the tiny plants thrived. Late last fall, as I walked away from the patch for the last time, I was pleased with how well it was going.

This spring, I went to check on the plants. To my dismay (consternation might be a better word) I found that all 20 had been gnawed by pests. Some of the plants most likely will die, the rest have been set back badly. The wire fence was secure and apparently did its job; some smart people tell me that mice or voles, a relative of mice, are the likely culprit.

I took the photo above on Easter Sunday. It’s poor quality, I know — though the iPad camera is a wonderful device, it doesn’t work well in some conditions — but the photo conveys an idea of how much the plants were damaged.

The stock photo at the top of this post is what I hoped and have worked for. I may still get there, but the outlook isn’t good.

Yes, sometimes ag is hard.