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I hesitated to respond and seem defensive (heaven knows I heard worse criticism from family) but one point needs to be made.
The definition of real is in the eye of the beholder, but mine is: Is this guy a competitor for my land? To the extent the I claim to be authentic, here are the facts, and you can ask my neighbors if they are true.
Until Aaron returned to the farm last year, Jan and I alone farmed 1700 cash grain acres - we provide all the labor. It was not easy, but if you recall we had some fairly uncomplicated seasons then. We have also poured serious $$ into good machinery and storage. Finally 95% of our farm is in one township.
My work with USFR requires about 70 days a year (Thu/Fri) and my work speaking takes another 50-60 days (mostly in winter).
One thing that preserves mucho time is we have bins that 80% of our harvest goes into, and we do hire friends with semi's to haul out. Otherwise, I do all the spraying, NH3, and other operations. Jan does much of the tillage and we alternate on the combine.
Since Aaron returned we have expanded to 2100 acres and Jan is doing more Grandma duty.
Whether this is "real" can be determined by others, but the remarks I make about my farm are based on my own personal experience. I have cared for this farm for 35 years and am happy to see the transition to a 7th generation in view.
As for the intellectual-wannabee charge: guilty. I enjoy learning and my strategy is to keep trying to do so to mitigate possible dementia/Alzheimer's which runs in my family. I also simply enjoy finding our new information.
I suppose "intellectual" was meant as an epithet, but I consider it a compliment.
The more interesting thing is the common idea of what farmers should look like. I'm finding the answer is evolving as we speak. In fact, the non-conventional farm families often present the more viable business models.
Regardless, thanks for your comments and reading my work.
John, pay attention to 2:12PM Anonymous. It's best for us 'real' farmers not to think too much. If you have an opinion, save it for the bar or coffee shop. Let Rush do the intellectualizing stuff.
Maybe you should put up a JOKE sign. Keep it up and I do not think you are an intellectual.