Sunday, December 26, 2010

Berger, Missouri: Wayne and Joy Carl

In rural Missouri, The Carls were sitting on Joy's John Deere mule when we approached them. Joy Carl is 79 and Wayne's uncle.  Wayne is Joy's right hand man on the farm. Joy showed us pictures of the county geography from an old atlas that was falling apart in his hands; he pointed out his farm and how the flooding and droughts over the years have changed the topography. In Missouri people often talk about "The Bottomlands" as an ideal area to farm, though much of it has been developed into towns and lots. 

He has also seen a lot of his contemporaries drop out of farming due to floods and development, but Joy can't think of anything they'd rather be doing than farming. One thing Joy is sensitive about is the negative media attention farmers have been receiving lately. There are a few bad apples out there, but according to these men it is rare to find a farmer who would mistreat his or her animals. Joy thinks that most farmers treat their livestock with more consideration than they'd treat some people with, but that's not what society at large sees.

Berger is a town that is no longer a town; Joy reflected on the days of his youth when it has all the amenities...banks, stores, cafes...but as we left and asked which direction to town, they replied, "that way...but you won't notice."


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