Things happen on the farm that simply do not happen in other places. Here are a few examples of zany events that I have collected over the past 6 years that I have been consulting for private growers.
• A client found a dead lady on his property. All work had to stop until it was determined if the remains were aboriginal.
• A contract harvest crewman came to work drunk and stole a grower’s tractor. He proceeded to run into a light pole and knock out power to thousands of people.
• Recently, two men stole an irrigator’s ATV, and when the thieves were pursued by field workers, the thieves discharged a shotgun, multiple times, at the field staff.
• A female intern PCA was carjacked at gunpoint.
• A field supervisor stepped into a portapotty located near a paved road. A passing bicyclist decided he needed a vehicle, threw his bicycle in the back of the truck, and stole the fieldman’s pickup truck.
• A contractor was driving a water truck that clipped a light pole, which fell into a freshly fumigated field. Power was interrupted to 25-30,000 people and several food-processing facilities. One facility reported it was losing $100,000/hour. However, PG&E could not go into the field to restore power because of the fumigant’s re-entry restrictions. Eventually, PG&E received permission from the Ag Commissioner later in the evening.
• A horserider trespassed on a ranch and the horse slipped into an irrigation reservoir and the rider was drowned.
• Rural theft is epidemic:
o It is common for metal wiring in wells to be stripped to be sold for salvage.
o Irrigation brass sprinkler heads are stolen to be sold for salvage.
o Solar panels disappear within days of installation.
These stories show that growers truly struggle with different realities and challenges than the other 98% of the society.
While farming is more precise than 10 years ago, farms are not engineered systems. Food is produced in spite of Mother Nature or despite human nature.