Farmers do spill money

This afternoon, I decided to take a nap. Half an hour of rest. Kicks the energy levels. That would compensate the dramatic morning with the neighbor’s chain saw wakening program. I was deciding where to lay down … the coach in my home office overlooking Flanders fields, or the darkness of my bedroom? I decided the coach would be the safest decision, since the bedroom is adjacent to my neighbor’s garden works. Took off my shoes. Closed the door. And right at the moment that I was going to lay down, I heard the distant yet growling sound of a tractor. Of course, farmers have to work too, and when you live nearby the fields you have to understand that you will hear a tractor once and a while. I doubt this is a full-time farmer though. Looks more like a hobby farmer (read: not a tax-paying farmer) that needs his weekends to be able to mown his pitiful five acres of land, that are way too small to produce any relevant farmland outcome. But OK. He has the right to be there. I decided to move to the bedroom, and was lucky my neighbor was taking a break at the same time I wanted to take a nap.

So why putting time and effort in writing this blog post? Well, I noticed the farmer – as do many vehicle-centric workers – was always leaving his engine running, even when there was no reason for it. Right after I took the picture, the farmer stepped out of the tractor, and started manually adjusting the implements during several minutes. No engine needed. And yet, the engine was on, making an annoying diesel engine noise. I wonder why he did not switch off the engine, since the diesel is not free in Belgium, and he clearly is not making a fortune out of his 5 acres of grass lands. Farmers are told to be cautious in spending money, so I wonder why he was not that cautious about preventing his money to literally flow out of his tractor. He was there for an hour and a half, I estimate. Took several stops of several minutes, e.g. to manually load some cut grass in the tractor bucket. Engine kept running. Some friends had passed by, and he took the time for a chat. Engine kept running. He took a small break to wipe the sweat of his face. Engine kept running. That’s bad for the wallet, bad for the environment, and bad for the silence.

I wonder if any tractor vendor or economic research group has ever made the calculation of the economic effect of putting a tractor engine to rest for some minutes, when idle. If you have a reference, feel free to send a link.

In the meantime, during the writing of this blog post, the tractor left. And silence set back in. Sigh.