Farm equipment over the last few decades has gotten significantly larger. (Photo submitted)

Farm equipment over the last few decades has gotten significantly larger. (Photo submitted)

Former Castor farmer reflects on changes in farming

In four decades of farming, Larry Weber has seen a lot of change.

Weber began his agriculture career in 1968 when he graduated from Olds College well-known agriculture program.

“They had courses in everything,” said Weber.

When Weber was at school, the course was two years, consisting of four three-month sessions.

After he finished school, he returned to the Castor area and joined his brothers, Melvin and Walter, on the family farm.

In the 1980s, Weber parted ways with his family for a time, spending several years working away from Castor.

“I ended up working for someone else, and I didn’t like it,” said Weber.

Eventually, opportunity presented itself for Weber to return to the Castor area and buy a farm of his own around 1986.

“I couldn’t have done it alone,” said Weber.

“The farm became part of the family farm.”

According to Weber, the brothers, who had been joined by youngest brother Dennis by this time, all had their strengths.

Melvin served as the mechanic for all four farms under the corporation. Dennis handled the marketing. Larry and Dennis handled the cattle operations.

“Forty years, we farmed together,” said Weber.

In that time, a lot has changed, according to Weber.

The biggest changes, as far as Weber is concerned, are the size of the equipment and the changes in the chemicals used to improve yields.

One of the first tractors the brothers purchased on the farm was one with 64-horsepower, though he notes they eventually did purchase a 100-horsepower one.

With the equipment getting bigger and bigger, work which would take the brothers two days to do in the past now takes the newer generation of farmers around three hours to do.

Another big change was the advent of no-till seeding in the late 1980’s, which allowed the brothers to seed on dry ground where they never could before.

When Weber and his brothers were still working the land, every field would be worked and seeded twice per year. Something that helped make that happen was the introduction of chemical sprays.

“We sprayed instead of working the land,” said Weber.

“Chemicals didn’t cost that much at the time. (They) made a lot of difference.”

According to Weber, the newer farmers working now are farming bigger acres with the bigger equipment and there are fewer small farms around.

“The community changes,” said Weber.

Weber is now mainly retired from farming, though he does keep a few cows around to keep himself busy.

“I need something to do,” said Weber.

Reflecting on his time farming, Weber is not unhappy with how things turned out for him and his brothers.

“I’m really glad I farmed when I did,” said Weber.

“It would be hard to do anything today because of the cost.”

According to Weber, the best part of farming was being able to work for himself.

“I liked the independence. Doing what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it,” said Weber.

“I missed that independence when I worked for someone else.”

The home-quarter for the Weber family farm is located northeast of Castor, though the family farm has land surrounding the community.

Larry, and his wife Kathy, live on their farm west of Castor near the old Lauderdale school.

Local NewsNews

 

An older combine used by Weber farms. (Photo submitted)

An older combine used by Weber farms. (Photo submitted)

A variety of equipment is used in farming operations. (Photo submitted)

A variety of equipment is used in farming operations. (Photo submitted)

An old self-propelled bale wagon in use on the Weber farm. (Photo submitted)

An old self-propelled bale wagon in use on the Weber farm. (Photo submitted)

An air drill hooked up and ready to go to work. (Photo submitted)

An air drill hooked up and ready to go to work. (Photo submitted)