A Winters Express op-ed column
By Charley Wallace It may be a stereotype, but most farmers are pretty frugal with their money. I don’t blame them, because I look at being frugal as a sign of maturity. There is a difference in being frugal and being cheap, however. When it is your turn to buy drinks, or dinner, you can’t just sit there waiting for someone else to grab the check. It takes a certain personality to be a farmer, or any businessman for that matter. You have to know how to survive the bad years, make good decisions and hope for good weather. Lately, it is praying for rain and hoping your well doesn’t go dry. Low interest rates have helped most businesses, but when COVID hit a lot of small businesses didn’t have the resources to out last the shutdowns. Farmers weren’t exempt from the affects of COVID-19. We have a lack of service employees and farm work is hard work. I’m not sure where the next generation of farm workers will come from, but I don’t think young people have a goal of becoming a farm worker when they grow up. Being a farmer makes you either become frugal, or, drive a tractor for someone else the rest of your life. I know that a lot of organizations wouldn’t exist without the help of our local farmers, but their circumstances force them to watch their pennies. I’ve noticed a few farms for sale, some small but others several hundreds of acres. Land isn’t like a house where the sold sign shows up in about a week. You need to be a risk taker, or win the lottery, to buy farmland. You also need to be able see into the future about which crops to plant, where your water is going to come from and where you are going to find employees. Back to my point about farmers having the reputation about being cheap. I have an idea that will change our local opinion of farmers. The tractor that was placed on the south entrance to our great city was hit by a car and removed. I’m hoping that with a little urging, we can get it repaired/welded and put back into place. Don’t you think it would be a good public relations move by local farmers to donate tractors for the other entrances to Winters? There are already islands on the north and east entrances where a tractor could be placed without much effort. And as a good will gesture the city could place a nice plaque on the tractor with the donor’s name on it. Readable from the street; “Ramos Orchards” has a nice ring to it, “Martin Ranches” would fit nicely on a sign, or named after one of your families first farmers to settle in Winters. You see plaques all of the time with donors names on them, especially at the Community Center and the Winters Healthcare facility. Even the benches on Main Street have names attached, as does the flag pole at the Community Center. Rotary Park also comes to mind. So, farmers, it is time to step up and donate a tractor to the city. I know that there are a few tractors in your barns that you haven’t used in decades. Load them up on a carryall and drop them on an island. You might want to talk to our City Manager Kathleen Trepa first, but . . . Think tractors and have a good week.