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It's always the right time to worry about crops

Worrying about crops comes early in life for most Saskatchewan kids. Even non-agricultural kids had to worry about crops waaay back when I was a youngster, and I believe kids still have to retain an interest in crop production to this day.
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Worrying about crops comes early in life for most Saskatchewan kids. Even non-agricultural kids had to worry about crops waaay back when I was a youngster, and I believe kids still have to retain an interest in crop production to this day.We maybe don't push it that hard around here since we're reliant on oil and coal and then maybe durum, No. 1 Red Spring and canola, but those crops should still be well up there on our concern scale, no matter what age we're at. I never ran a combine or farming equipment as a kid. We were townies, but we knew very well that if the crops didn't come in and the prices skidded we weren't going to have a great winter and I could forget about a new baseball glove in the spring. That's why I can recall quite vividly the year I started to worry about crops. My black infielder's mitt was too well worn. The lacing had been replaced twice. I was 10-years-old and was certain I was on my way to play third base for the St. Louis Cardinals as soon as they'd let me out of school. I was playing as much baseball (formal or informal, as my school, work schedule and baseball schedules would allow. We all know how that turned out. I blame the crops. They were bad that year. I couldn't get a new glove and so my fielding prowess dropped off considerably because too often when I dropped the fingers into the dirt to grab a ground ball, I came up with nothing but bent leather. The experience was uplifting for me though. While my dream of playing for the Cards was short-lived, my nearness to the variances that were the Saskatchewan crop reports became a reality. It was a direct relationship. No crops no glove. So I became interested in pool return outlooks, how the CPR and CNR carried the product to market and at what cost. The Crow Rate became interesting and a subject of controversy among the townies and rurals in school and elsewhere. Fertilizer and weed control products, and yes, even the earlier version of organic farming all made it to the discussion stage in our little school of about 350 students. We were taught about agricultural issues as part of our social studies and economics curriculum, and I wonder if that is being done today? I doubt it. But why wouldn't agricultural courses be taught to Saskatchewan kids as part of a classic school course? We have fewer farmers now, but the land mass and the importance of agriculture has not diminished over the decades. Great lessons in biology, environment and economics, let alone practical subjects such as mechanics, could be learned as part of an agrarian study module.You could start waging the arguments about Canadian Wheat Board and single desk selling versus dual and open marketing as early as Grade 9, I would guess, probably with the same results as the adults get, but no less fun I bet. Just a thought. Oh, by the way, I got a new glove a couple of years later, moved from third base to centrefield and still the Cards didn't come calling, even after my seven game hitting streak for the hometown Blues at the end of the season. I guess they didn't hear about it. It was their loss.But one thing did remain from that era and that was my life-long interest in provincial crops and how they're doing. I can't discern a lentil from a bean or a pea crop as I whisk by familiar fields now, but I still get to worry about how they're doing. And when I see a beautiful tall field of golden wheat waving to me, I smile and think that maybe it would be a good year to go out and buy a new baseball glove if the price stays above $6 a bushel and I can get a 20 per cent discount on the glove.Stubblejumpers may contact NKP at normpark@estevanmercury.ca