Of Marshes and Machines
Although I grew up in a small town, I learned at an early age on my grandpa’s farm that nothing runs like a big green tractor. John Deere has been in the business of helping farmers do their work more efficiently for over 175 years. Today they make a giant 560 horsepower, GPS equipped, climate controlled cab tractor. This is a beast of a machine and quite different from the first tractors they made available back in 1918. It is a great example of how technology has focused on bringing enhanced power, comfort, and efficiency to farming over the years.
My family wasn’t always a “John Deere” family. Back in the day, my great-grandpa actually built his first tractor. In a time when farms were small and money was sparse he used an assortment of parts and pieces from different machinery to construct his own vehicle to help him accomplish work in the field. In contrast to today’s machines, my grandpa’s tractor was nothing pretty, not terribly powerful, and probably not too comfy, but it got the job done. While it didn’t have all of the bells and whistles of today’s tractors, it did have one advantage. This homemade tractor was resilient; if something broke, the lack of specialized gears and gizmos enabled my great-grandpa to handle the challenge by fixing it himself, and moving on.
Differences in Perspectives
Today’s precision farming methods reflect the specialized tools that are used to maximize crop production. Efficiency is the gold standard philosophy. When it comes to wetland management, we often use the same specialized farming equipment to provide food and habitat for wildlife. However, a slightly different perspective has to be taken to be successful in this field. Wetlands are dynamic habitats. At times these areas are awfully wet and a great place to bury a tractor deep in the muck. Other times they are dry as a bone. This drastic variation may happen within a matter of weeks, it could extend across multiple years, or it may vary within a particular field. Instead of efficiency, resiliency is a resounding mantra for natural resource management to handle natural variation that occurs in these habitats.
The Past Couple of Years
At Duck Creek we’ve experienced a wide range of conditions in the past few years. Additionally, we have enhanced