Korean Rice Farming
by Gary Brewer of Marble Hill, MO
These photos were taken mostly in hilly country around Wonju during 1976-1977. I am not an expert on farming in Korea. I just got out whenever I could to watch and photograph. The photos reinforce your father’s findings that Korean farmers don’t waste anything.
Hope these are useful. I have a great deal of respect for the Korean farmers. You can’t begin to imagine how hard they work and how resourceful they are. I was not aware of any government subsidy programs. Their crop insurance was the family, and families helped each other particularly during planting and harvest.
Plowing in early spring. Notice he isn’t plowing very deep. As I recall, they were using some tractors (like garden tractors) to plow, but at that time they were using oxen a lot and probably still do in the small plots in that part of the country.
Rice harvest is back breaking work, and they all get involved.You can clean up a field in a hurry with enough manpower.
These fellows have some long rows to cut.
Bundles of rice shocked up waiting for threshing.
These small threshing machines were fascinating. They were very practical. Again you see threshing is a family affair. Farmers hired the machine operator to thresh their rice but family members did the hard work.
This woman is doing it the old fashioned way. She is winnowing the chaff out of her rice.
These folks had just finished threshing and were having lunch. I was told that during the harvest workers ate six times a day. They needed the calories!
This fellow is packing his harvest out to the road using his “A” frame. They can carry terrific loads on those things.
These women are harvesting some ingredients from kimchi. Even the children get involved.
I didn’t see horses very often. They seemed to be small horses capable of pulling very big loads.
This yearling is wearing his winter coat, woven from rice straw. This was a hard scrabble farm up in the mountains. The calf was obviously a very prized possession.
These carts were used for everything. The little girl seems real proud of her dad’s cart.
I caught these kids out on Korean Arbor Day – a very important day in Korea. Their forests had been pretty well wiped out. The kids seemed to enjoy a day out of school.