Tag Archives: family farms

Siouxland “Winterless” Wonderland, Sioux County

5 Feb

The snowfall this year in the Siouxland area has been drastically less than previous years. Local weather prognosticators have indicated it could be a “dry” spring, which is not good for farmers. Yet, by winter standards, it is still early in the season. Driving through Sioux County in the northern end of Siouxland this past week there is little snowfall covering the now harvested fields. Snow helps replenish the moisture in the fields so when spring planting time comes, there is no worry that the plants will not germinate and grow.  A look at a recently released drought monitor map by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture shows that most of Iowa is in an abnormal drought pattern, and that some areas east of Siouxland it borders are actual drought conditions. It is still early in the winter season, and last spring inches of snow fell over the area, while grumbling residents scooped more of it late into the season hoping for an end to the snow. Everyone was keen on the temperature being warm enough so there could be 2-3 inches of rain, rather than 20-30 inches of snow to remove.

While driving along a main road in Sioux County, I also came across an abandoned farm house. The decline of the family farm that sustained so many families while producing food for this country has been immense. Like in other businesses, it was deemed that bigger is better and small family farms could not compete with larger, oft times corporate farms with thousands of acres of farmland to plant and harvest. As technology continues to move forward and more businesses become automated thought occurs as to what jobs will the human race perform to actually make enough to raise a family and feed themselves. Politicians and educators as well as business leaders say people just need to retrain and move forward with technology. But no one seems to no what that technology is and what jobs these people should learn to succeed. At times it appears there will only be service industry work including restaurants and hotels to cater to those who have more wealth, thus continuing what seems to be an ever increasing cycle of haves, and haves not so much. With the latter group of people falling further behind as time moves forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Iowa scenics

29 Jul

Growing up on a farm and living in a rural area of Illinois, the scenery is not much different than what you may find in western Iowa, or southeastern South Dakota or northeastern Nebraska. Farm land, and lots of it. Rolling hills in this area currently resplendent with corn and bean fields, at least those areas not seriously affected by the current drought conditions. And sitting among these acres of farm land are those wooden barn structures that have been used for hundreds of years, but are slowly disappearing in some areas as more economical steel structures replace them. I have always liked photographing the country side, and those old, weathered barns and other buildings that give a sense of nostalgia to what the rural agricultural area was once. But there are fewer of them now. As farms grow in size to compete with multi national companies that own large farms themselves, the barns are falling apart, not cared for, not needed in this faster paced, get it done modern world we now live in. From time to time I will be posting images of scenics throughout the Siouxland area that I come across, for those nostalgic reasons and because I personally find them beautiful to look at, and holding remnants of the past from which this country grew. More work can be found here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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