Cape Argus - - METRO - DAVID BIGGS [email protected]

MANY years ago I dropped out of univer­sity and de­cided to try my hand at farm­ing. It was a log­i­cal ca­reer for me, I thought. After all, I’d grown up on a farm and helped with all the chores of farm­ing.

I’d driven trac­tors, dosed sheep, fixed farm gen­er­a­tors, welded bro­ken wheel­bar­rows and hunted jack­als. I was prac­ti­cally a farmer al­ready. I formed a part­ner­ship with a friend whose fa­ther owned a piece of land in what is now Mpumalanga, and found my­self in pos­ses­sion of a farm lorry and a small herd of skinny scrub cat­tle of var­i­ous shapes and colours. Their job was to grow huge un­der my care and then be sold at an enor­mous profit, mak­ing me very rich.

One or two of them did man­age to gain a lit­tle weight, but by the time they were ready for mar­ket foot-and-mouth dis­ease broke out not far from where I was pre­tend­ing to be a farmer, and the gov­ern­ment stock in­spec­tors banned all stock move­ment. Then, while I sat watch­ing my two fat cows, a drought started.

The usual sum­mer rains just didn’t ar­rive. The farm dam dried up and the grass turned brown. My fat cows be­came thin cows again and by the time the foot-and-mouth scare was over, they were suitable only for use as bone­meal. I de­cided farm­ing might not be for me after all and found work sell­ing blan­kets. (The news­pa­per job came much later.) There are just too many things be­yond a farmer’s con­trol.

In parts of the US, they re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced a near per­fect farm­ing sea­son. Graz­ing was lush and plen­ti­ful and the dairy herds pro­duced rivers of fresh milk.

Fresh milk has a short shelf life, so the ex­cess was turned into cheese (which can be kept for much longer than milk). Now I hear that the US is suf­fer­ing from a cheese moun­tain, the likes of which has never been ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. Farm­ers are go­ing out of busi­ness be­cause there isn’t enough de­mand for all that cheese.

One com­men­ta­tor said there was enough moz­zarella in stor­age in the US now to com­pletely cover the Capi­tol and the White House. I won­der whether Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has con­sid­ered build­ing his wall out of cheese. It might solve sev­eral prob­lems at the same time. It would have to be a harder cheese than moz­zarella, though. Maybe slabs of Parme­san, or well-ma­tured Ched­dar could be used as build­ing blocks, with a cream cheese mor­tar. It would cer­tainly win Trump the farm­ers’ sup­port. Last Laugh

A Texan farmer was on hol­i­day in Aus­tralia and met an Aussie farmer, who in­vited him to his farm. He showed the Texan his wheat lands and the Texan sneered: “I have wheat fields 10 times that size.”

Then he was shown a herd of cows and said: “You call those cows? Our Texas Longhorns are twice as big as that.”

Later a kan­ga­roo came hop­ping across the farm road and the Texan ex­claimed: “What the heck is that thing?”

The Aus­tralian gave him a dis­be­liev­ing look and said: “You mean you don’t have grasshop­pers in Texas?”

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