This was taken during the dry summer of 1988. It was our 7th and last year of farming after moving back to Nebraska. I had retired from the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission staff earlier in the year so it was also our first year of being “full time farmers”. After having “grown up” on a farm and working with Soil and Water Conservation for many years, the dream of having a small farm in retirement seemed ideal. However, the dream begins to be a bit of a nightmare when you start hoeing beans that have been stunted by dry weather. One clump of Shatter Cane, if let go to seed, would infest a large area the following year. We also hoed out Milkweed, Sunflowers, etc.
This shows me with a couple buckets full of Cane heads that we cut out of the Milo field after it had headed out but before the Cane seed had matured. Our best crop that year was our Certified Trail Blazer Switchgrass. We had planted Foundation Seed in rows, controlled weed competition with Atrizene and harvested it with an Allis-Chalmers combine. We had it processed and bagged at a York, NE Seed Mill where it carried the State test for purity and germination. There was a demand for perennial seed at that time since land was being placed in a USDA Conservation Reserve Program. The pleasure and profit of raising the Switchgrass wasn’t enough to offset the other “woes” of farming; so we had an Auction the next spring where we sold the farm and all of our machinery. And, have never regretted our decision.