My younger brother lives in Illinois, in a small community some three-hours southwest from Chicago. He sent an email yesterday that is well worth passing along:
I'm sitting here watching my farmer-neighbor planting the field south of our house--corn or [soy] beans, don't know which. The equipment continues to amaze; he's pulling a 16-row planter behind his $100,000 tractor. I think someone even makes a 24-row planter. You gotta plant a lot of corn to pay for that stuff!
In any event, it has been big, local news around here that planting has been delayed for weeks because of a cold, wet Spring. In this agricultural economy, that's a big deal, and the farmers have been going crazy trying to get into the fields to "get the crop in."
Once those fields have dried out enough to let them in, those guys will work nearly 24/7--with their wives bringing meals to them so they can keep working.The equipment dealerships have [repair] people "on-call" 24/7, so that if someone's tractor craps out, they fix it on the spot.
Once the crops are in, then the concern becomes where is the rain? Too little rain, too much rain, too hot, too cold, hail storms, wind storms, insects, fungus, etc. It's quite a life, but most farmers wouldn't do anything else; it's in their blood.