Real Talk in Real Time by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min 12/25/20
Let me get you up to speed. This is now December of 2020. I was asked to run this farm in February of 1995. This 1556 acre farm was a part of the 4,200 acre farm that The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad bought in 1966 with money raised by the original Three Year Economic Savings Program. This portion of the original farm that Minister Farrakhan redeemed in 1994 is called by the local farmers, “The Backside.” And now we know why.
The farmer who sold us this portion had given up on farming this portion of the original 4200 acres. He put all of the 900 cropland acreage in a set aside program except for 90 ACRES. There were some major problems with this “Backside.” It was isolated from a paved road by 2 dirt roads which turned into impassable mud gullies after a hard rain. One dirt road was 3 miles long and the other 2.5 miles long. The former owner just knew that no one in these modern times of fancy cars would care to live here under such driving conditions.
The land itself was of poor quality. It was not flat which prevented the use of large equipment. It had historically low yields. The topsoil had been eroded away after decades of mismanagement. It was not irrigated. It was mostly very heavy red clay land, which is a great handicap in a rainy or dry season. When it’s too dry, you cannot stick your equipment in the ground to work it. But when it rains, it retains water and you can’t work it until it dries down. If you try to work it when it is too wet, you will produce clods that turn into bricks when the hot sun bakes it.
The rule of thumb in farming is that for every inch it rains, you wait one day before trying to work the land. However, on this thick clay “Backside” you must double or triple the time out of the field. Therefore it may take twice as long to put a crop in the ground on large acreages of this clay land than it would take on more sandy soil. Therefore, while a farmer on better land can plant 300 acres of wheat in 2 weeks, it may take 6 weeks to plant 300 acres on our land. You only have about a 2 week window in the Fall to plant wheat for optimal yield. Planting outside of that window would be problematic and you can’t get the crop insured past 3 weeks outside of that window.
You face these same deadline problems with all of the other crops we might try to grow. Then on top of this our “customers” claim they want us to grow these crops without chemicals. Well let me explain to you what that means to a farmer trying to work the land: 1. He has to fight weeds by hand or mechanical plow while chemicals can do the job at least 5 times faster, 2. When the crop is ready to harvest the remaining weeds slow you down or clog up your harvesting equipment, 3. Weeds GREATLY reduce your crop yields, 4. When the crop has been harvested and you want to clear the land of weeds for planting another crop, you have less weeds to get rid if you had used chemicals, plus the remaining weeds can be destroyed with another set of chemicals and 5. When you don’t use chemicals or GMO crops, all the wild animals come over to eat what you got.(smile)
This is why they sold us the “Backside”. However, we have Survived and Thrived in spite of their Jive which proves that Allah (God) is Alive and on Our Side. APIDTA.