In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
In The Shop: The Electronic Grapevine Is Amazing
May 05, 2011
I'm always amazed at how "in touch" modern farmers have become. I can pull up to a combine, tractor or sprayer 20 miles from the nearest town, and if I make a comment about politics, grain markets or the weather forecast, the farmer is as "current" as the latest news broadcast on the local talk radio or country music station.
If we start to talk about farm equipment, the farmers often know more about what new equipment is soon to be released than those of us who work at dealerships. If you want to know how many horsepower the next generation of farm tractor from your favorite manufacturer will have, don't ask anybody who works at a dealership--we're usually two weeks to six months behind internet chat sites and the local cell phone grapevine when it comes to the "latest and greatest" news on farm equipment.
If you want to know the latest local gossip--forget the local beauty parlor or barber shop. Just go hang out wherever local farmers get their morning cup of coffee. To see the electronic grapevine in action, casually drop a good rumor during a morning coffee session, then step outside and watch how quickly those fellows start poking their cell phones when they leave and get in their pickup trucks. Of course, nowadays they might be forwarding "old news" because some of their cronies were probably texting the news under the table, just to get a jump on spreading the news.
And, y'know, I'm completely comfortable with the speed and depth of the farmer grapevine. It's comforting to me. I know that within minutes of someone in the community having a heart attack or losing a family member, a dusty pickup will turn in their driveway and someone will knock on their door to ask if they need help. I know that if my wife has car trouble on the way home from work in town, there's a good chance I'll know about it before she digs her cell phone out of her purse (no small project) to call and tell me herself.
Just don't Twit me or text me with the latest news. I'm still figuring out how to answer the voice mail on my cell phone.