What’s your name? Jeff Bennett
I have been a farmer Officially this is my 3rd crop… Unofficially 29 years, 6 months, 15 days.
I’ve been a Farm At Hand user since: 2013. It helps me organize my thoughts and put things on ‘paper’. I also like the conversion calculator because everyone talks in different units and I hate math.
Where do you farm? Dodsland, Saskatchewan. The West Central part of the province. Trent Illot and Morgan Nunweiler think I’m too far North to be called West Central, but oh well…
What do you grow? This year barley, canola, and lentils. We’ve grown wheat, durum, canary seed, and peas in the past.
How did you get into farming? My dad made me. Actually it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and fought very hard to get back here
What do you love about farming? Being my own boss. If you’re going to work for an a^#hole you might as well work for yourself. I also love how plants adapt and grow. They’re amazing little creatures.
Tell us a little bit about why you farm and who you farm with. I became a farmer because it’s a part of my blood. I can’t think of any lifestyle that challenges me, upsets me, keeps me on my toes, or gives me the sense of accomplishment that farming does. I love the technology, the mechanics, and the long hours. I love being a part of a family history that extends over 100 years, and I’m proud to be called ‘just a farmer’
What’s one of your favourite moments when you’re out in the fields? I love when the seedlings finally poke through the ground. “Lentils er up” “Barley’s up” “Canola’s up” You spend the rest of the year worrying if the dumb thing will make it but at that point you’ve done your job. Now you just have to keep it alive for 4-5 months then hope it dies in time to put it in the bin.
Has technology changed the way you farm? How so? New technology comes into ag every day. Whether it’s GPS or VR,a new pesticide, a new piece of green machinery or an app on your phone. The hard part is figuring out what your farm needs to be more efficient, more economical or make life easier. To put it one way it’s scary when the GPS signal goes out, 10 years ago there wasn’t such a thing.
What’s currently in your pockets? My phone, two knives, some gum, a pen, two gum wrappers, a list of blocked runs, and a receipt for 99.82 dollars worth of gas from the Co Op.
What is your most important piece of equipment and why? All are important, unless they aren’t green. Then they are mere prototypes of something John Deere will perfect at a later date. Seriously though I would say the seeder. Because it all starts from the seed.
Can you share with us what you think our biggest challenge in Ag right now? Not being a collective voice. I’m not saying we should all join some club and pay membership fees, I just mean that we all farm for the same reason, and yet a million different reasons.
We are stubborn, arrogant, highly trained, experienced entrepeneurs that run our businesses for the love of the game and to make money. We are all similar and come from many diverse backgrounds with different crops and growing challenges and prices, and I think generally we like each other but what makes us good at running a business also makes us horrible at organizing ourselves into a single voice.
There’s the old saying that only a farmer buys everything at retail, sells at wholesale and pays the freight both ways. It annoys the hell out of us but we’re almost proud of it? We’ve been taught that hardships make you a better farmer; if you haven’t had to go through the tough times then you aren’t really a farmer or you aren’t as much as one. I think that’s BS. Today’s farmer is connected, highly trained, intelligent and it’s about time the world knew that.
Do you think the way we farm and produce food will change in the next 10 years? Absolutely. Corporations will contract specific quantities of specific products and we will be expected to produce them efficiently and effectively with a high quality. That’s already happening.
If there is one thing you want the general population to now about farming, what would that be? It’s hard. But not that hard. We want to do this or else we wouldn’t do it. That and I don’t tell you how to do your job so stop telling me how to do mine.
Where can we connect with you online? Twitter @JeffBennett44