Farming

Question:  Why is agriculture so important?  Marshall – McKenzie Lake School
Answer: Well without agriculture we would be pretty hungry. Everything you eat is in one way or another from the agriculture industry.
 


Question:  How many litres of chemical can your sprayer hold?  Alexander - Age 9
Answer: The tank on my sprayer will hold 3750 liters of solution, made up of some chemical and mostly water.
 


Question:  What was it like on the farm in the old days?  Brianne – Hidden Valley School
Answer: When my relatives started farming in the early 1900's there were no tractors or trucks.  Everything was done with horses. In those days there was much more labor involved with farming than there is today.
 

 
Question: Can you be a farmer and a cowboy? King George School Grades 1 & 2
Answer: Yes you can! Many farmers have horses and cattle as well as running a traditional grain farming operation.
 


Question:  Is it tough to be a farmer?  Jack - MidSun Junior High School
Answer:  There are many challenges we face everyday on the farm.  I have been farming for many years and now rely on my experience to guide me.  The weather is probably the hardest test I have faced.  To see a crop destroyed by such things as drought, hail or frost is a test of character and can be financially devastating.
 

 
Question:  Is it true that no-till is more environmental friendly than organic farming?  I mean, is it true that in no-till less C02 (greenhouse gas) is released into the atmosphere?  Bruno - Blessed Cardinal Newman School
Answer:  No till is definitely more environmentally friendly than conventional tillage practices.  When I started farming we would make as many as five to six passes across a field in the spring in order to get the seed in the ground.  Cultivation was done to control weeds and also to help disperse the straw so that seeding implements were able to get through the resideue without plugging.  Today we use a sprayer to conrol the weeds.  This machine can do the better job than tillage and uses a fraction of the fuel. It also allows the stubble to remain standing which conserves moisture and eliminates soil erosion.  Modern seeding tools are much better at clearing resideue from previous crops so this allows us to do the seeding in one pass.  Modern combines also play a large role in no till as compared to older machines they are much better at chopping and spreading the straw evenly.
 

 

Question: What is no-till?  Rachel
Answer: No-till is a method of planting crops with as little soil disturbance as possible. This means instead of plowing and overturning the soil, we create a tiny path for the seed to drop into. This keeps our helpers, the worms, untouched. It also keeps the ground covered with the dead plants from last year’s crop. This cover keeps valuable moisture in the soil.

 


  

Question: Is it easy to harvest food? Why or why not?  Emily - Ralph McCall School
Answer: Harvesting food is easier today due to modern machinery and technology. The biggest hurdle a farmer faces during harvest is the weather.  It is very important for the farmer to get the crop off as soon as possible because rain or frost can adversely affect the quality of the grain and also what the farmer is paid.
 

  
Question: What do you need to have a farm? St. Mark’s Grade 3 Class
Answer: In order to have a farm, you first must rent or purchase some land.  Then depending on the type of farm, you will need many more things like animals, barns and machinery.
 

  
Question: How long does it take to start a farm? Ceayra - Buchanan School
Answer:  My great-grandfather homesteaded about 100 years ago and the farm has been in my family ever since.  It depends on what type of farm you want to start and the condition and location of the land.  Starting a farm doesn't take that long, but finishing it may never happen as it will continue to grow and change. 
 

  
Question: How much money does it cost to develop a farm?   Ceayra - Buchanan School
Answer:  There are a lot of factors involved depending on what type of farm you would develop including the amount of land required, type of machinery, breed of animals, etc.
 

  
Question: What does it take to be a farmer?  Ceayra - Buchanan School
Answer:  In order to be a farmer today you must have the traditional values that farmers have had for many years.  You need a basic love and respect for the land and animals; enjoy hard work; understand how to operate machinery (much of which is equipped with GPS technology).   Be able to run a computer as this important tool is used to market products, check weather patterns and enable farmers to advance in the agriculture industry.
 

  
Question: About how many people does it take to run a good farm? Lyla - Buchanan School
Answer: To operate a farm successfully depends on the type and size of the operation. On my farm there are four full-time people who work year round and at harvest we require as many as seven people. 
 

  
Question: About how much money does it cost to run a farm every year? Lyla - Buchanan School
Answer:  The amount of money to run a farm yearly varies greatly depending on the size and type of farm and whether you rent or own the land.  It would be more expensive to run a grain operation than a cattle operation as more machinery such as a large tractor, seeding equipment, sprayer, swather, grain trucks and grain storage and handling equipment is required.
 

  
Question: How much does a farm cost in Alberta? Marcel - Buchanan School and Marwa - Calgary Islamic School
Answer: No two farms are the same.  The cost to purchase a farm in Alberta would vary depending on the size, quality and location of the land.
 

  
Question: Is it hard to do all the jobs on the farm?  Lisa - Buchanan School
Answer: It takes hard work to complete all the jobs on the farm.   In the spring we get machinery and fields ready to plant the crop at about the same time we are calving.  After we plant our crops the cows are moved out to the pasture. Once the crop has grown, it is sprayed for weeds and then the hay is baled. In the fall, the crop is harvested and the grain must be transported from the field to bins for storage.  After harvest, field work is completed to ensure a good crop for the next year. The calves are then weaned from the cows and sent to market.  All the winter feed must be stored and the grain from harvest must be delivered to market and the cattle must be cared for. Some of the hardest jobs on the farm are management decisions.  
 

  
Question: How hard is it to plow the fields, what do you use, and how long does it take?    Jacalyn - Buchanan School
Answer: On my farm we do not plow the fields, but use a no-til method of planting. This means that we only use tillage on our fields once a year.  This process helps conserve moisture and prevent erosion of the soil. It also helps eliminate exhaust emissions from our machinery and saves on the amount of fuel used. With my air-drill I can plant up to 150 hectares a day.
 

  
Question: What is the hardest part of farming? Ambria and Jacob - Buchanan School, Sejal – Glamorgan Elementary School and Marwa - Calgary Islamic School
Answer: There are many hard jobs on the farm, but the hardest are caused by weather.  It is difficult to provide livestock with feed, bedding and water during a blizzard or to harvest crops that the wind and rain have damaged.  This year, a hail storm totally destroyed all my crops and we had to work hard to salvage what little crop was left to make sure there was feed for the cattle during winter.
 

  
Question:  How does it feel to work on a farm?  Have you always lived on the farm? Brooklyn – Glamorgan Elementary School
Answer:  I find farm work very rewarding.  It is fun to watch the crops grow from seeds to maturity.  Spring is a special time as I always enjoy when the baby animals are born and watching them grow, however I think fall is my favourite time of the year.   I did live in the city for a short time but have spent most of my life on this farm where I grew up.
 

  
Question:  Does it smell a lot on a farm?   Kassem – Calgary Islamic School
Answer:  Most modern farms today employ systems to minimize odour by having  enclosed manure holding facilities and direct injection into the soil so that the manure may be used effectively for fertilization.
 

  
Question:   Is it fun being on a farm?  Taher – Calgary Islamic School
Answer:  Yes it is fun being on the farm.  It is fun to walk out the door everyday and be at your place of work, to have your family work with you and have pride in what you do.  I like being on the farm because there are so many different jobs to do.
 

  
Question:  Is it hard living on a farm? Miya – Calgary Islamic School
Answer:  I have always enjoyed living on the farm.   I love the outdoors, watching my crops grow and working with animals.  I take great satisfaction in my job and know that without farmers the world would go hungry.
 

  
Question:  What kind of food is there to eat on a farm?   Ahmad – Calgary Islamic School
Answer:  During the summer months we eat fresh produce from the garden:  peas, beans, potatoes, raspberries, and asparagus.  We also raise our own beef cattle for meat for our family.  When I was growing up on the farm, we had pigs, chickens and turkeys that gave us meat.  My parents also hand milked cows so we had fresh milk and raised chickens for eggs.
 

  
Question:  Do farmers work at night?   Abdurahman – Calgary Islamic School
Answer:  Farmers have a short time in the spring and the fall to seed and harvest crops so sometimes they must put in long hours in order to get these jobs done.  Weather is often the determining factor, as there are a limited number of frost free days in which to grow crops so it is important to seed early.   In the fall, rain or snow is very damaging to the quality of our grain so farmers may choose to work well into the night to complete their harvest.  During calving season it is not uncommon to check animals every four hours when a cow is delivering a calf.
 

  
Question:  How long does it take to build up a farm?    Noor – Calgary Islamic School
Answer:  My great-grandfather homesteaded about 100 years ago and the farm has been in my family ever since.  It depends on what type of farm you want to start and the condition and location of the land.  Starting a farm doesn't take that long, but finishing it may never happen as it will continue to grow and change.
 

  
Question:  Can a city kid become a good farmer?  Nathan - Ecole Chinook Park School
Answer:  Yes you certainly can become a good farmer if you are willing to learn.  Having an appreciation of the land and things that grow are the first step to success.  If you plan to have animals you must have love and respect for them.  I always say one of the best teachers in the farming business is experience and no matter how long you farm you will never stop learning.


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The information, stories and opinions published on this site, are written, submitted and posted by an independent source and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Calgary Stampede organization. The Ask Farmer Dave website acts solely as a resource for students, educators and the general public to share stories and information on Southern Alberta farming practices.  Any trademarks, images or patents referred to via this website are the property of their respective owners.