Here at Valley® my job is training. I design courses covering service, sales, parts, and everything irrigation. I have always found so much value in education and teaching others. But sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the adult learning theory, simulations, and exams that come with formal learning, and I forget where some of my most important lessons were learned – right on the farm.
I was reminded of this the other day as I looked over an essay for my 12-year-old brother. Jarrett was assigned to write stories about his life for every letter of the alphabet. As I looked through his stories, I noticed a mix of brother rivalry, family vacations, harvest, planting, spraying, and everything in between, and it reminded me how much farming is less of a "job that my dad does" and more of a family lifestyle.
One story in particular caught my attention. It reminded me of the same lessons I learned early in life and made me proud of the industry I have chosen to contribute to today. After all, it helps put food on the table.
I is for Irrigation
When you are a farmer in Nebraska there is no telling what the weather is going to be like so you better have an irrigation system just in case of drought. There are many different options to irrigate including flood irrigation, drip irrigation, and spray irrigation. We use the spray irrigation method which involves a center pivot. Pivots are handy during a dry spell but they are high maintenance.
At the beginning of the season we have to grease all the zerks on the pivot, including the knuckles on each tower that have a very inconvenient cover over them. Also we have to replace the oil in the engine and fill the huge tank with gas. Next, we mow the driveways leading to the base tower of the pivots.
A couple days later we get the pivot running with water for the first time. Now we have to drive along the pipe and make sure all the sprinklers are functioning correctly. One time there were a couple sprinkler plugs that busted and water started shooting straight up in the air, we could see the water from half a mile away.
About half way through the summer we go back to re-oil the motors and touch up the mowing with a weed eater. Sometimes irrigating prevents us from going on certain trips because we can’t just make someone else irrigate for us. If we were to just leave our crops in the middle of the drought they would die and if our crops die we are done-for that is our main paycheck, gone, down the drain. I might as well plan on going hungry a couple nights out of the year because we’re going to have to cut spending big time. I hope this shows you how important irrigation is and how stressful the gamble of farming can be.