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The Manure Spreader: Tech support

Tim Moffett Published on 06 May 2014

In the last few months, I have seen newspaper articles about new technology on the farm.

Frankly, I would be happier with some stronger duct tape; that hole in the slurry wagon isn’t going to fix itself. How about an electrical motor that never quits working on holidays? I know – a shovel handle that, when broken, grows back like a lizard’s tail. That would be technology.

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I see farms in New Zealand are using robots to herd cows. My grandpa had a little robot back in the day that he could tell to bring up the cows. The robot’s name was Scooter; he was an Australian Shepherd. Somehow, in my simple mind, I would rather rub Scooter’s belly than change a circuit board.

I have done the math, and 20 pounds of dog food is cheaper than buying new lithium batteries. Lastly, I do not have to stop what I am doing to reboot the dog if somehow my farm falls out of geosynchronous orbit.

Now some company wants to deliver supplies to farms and rural communities by the use of a drone. Well, people, we have gone too far. This is where I draw my line in the manure. The madness ends here.

Sure, the company is saying all the right things. Talking about medicine, machine parts or even liquor. Yes, it might make sense in a natural disaster, but this plan has one flaw that will change farming as we know it.

If everything is flown to the farm, we have no reason to leave the farm. Sometimes I need a reason, any reason. I’m a dairy farmer, and I drive 40 minutes round-trip to buy a gallon of milk. I don’t need milk; I need 40 minutes of peace and quiet alone in my truck. Just me, my one thought, and a little Kenny G. That’s right, Kenny with a capital G. Unless you have walked a mile in my rubber boots, don’t judge me.

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I can see it now. “Honey, I need to run to town to pick up a new pair of overalls. What’s that? Oh, you had it flown in – that’s fantastic. I need to get new underwear. Oh, that’s arriving on the next drone … Well, let’s see what’s on TV … What’s that? Your mother is coming over?”

Men, we cannot let this happen. I have come up with a plan. I will only order really heavy things. Need some hand soap? Order a 55-gallon drum. Dog food by the pallet and fence staples by the boxcar load.

I am not against all technology, but we need to be careful how we use it. I remember I was just 8 years old – we got our first walkie-talkies on the farm. They didn’t increase production; they just made my brother and me do more work. My dad owned the “talkie” end while my brother and I had the “walkie” part. Walkie-talkies just gave him the ability to yell at us over the magic of radio waves.

We actually hid the walkie one day. My dad is a persistent man. He spent all day searching the farm high and low for it. He kept yelling into the talkie, “Where are you?”

About nine o’clock at night, he finally heard himself. To say he was unhappy is a mite of an understatement.

He said, and I will never forget this, “Boys, it is just disrespectful to hear your own voice coming out of that end of a cow.” PD

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