In a world where the farming population continues to decline while the general population rapidly grows, I often forget just how lucky I am to be one of the few who have a farming background and lifestyle. My drive, views, goals, ambitions and choices are all reflections of my farming background that began right when I was born. While some may view me as “different,” I simply embrace my upbringing and how I am. How those of us in farming are…
So yes, I blame it all on my roots.
As I have mentioned in several of my past blogs, I was born and raised on a small dairy farm. It was tough, but I learned so much and am grateful that I can call myself a farm kid and someone who is involved in the agriculture industry.
I really did not comprehend what the farm had taught me until I was older. Granted, I always knew that the way my family made a living was different than most of my friends and classmates. My parents did not have the normal 9-5, Monday through Friday job. Then, as I grew older, I realized just how tough and special the farm life was. I had learned life skills that would stay with me for the rest of my life and got to experience things that many did not. I realized that I was one of the few and it was my agriculture background that molded me into the person I am today.
The point of this post is not to say that the farming lifestyle is the only one that could instill these skills. The point is to highlight the farming lifestyle in a positive light. Plus, I wanted this to serve as a reminder to all farmers reading this that we are one-of-a-kind and fortunate. Our roots should be celebrated and deeply grounded to develop on to our future generations of farmers.
My roots have taught me this:
The importance of drive and the hard-working, go-getting mentality
I have always noticed that many who were raised on a farm and/or live on a farm are usually ambitious individuals. Running a farm is not for the weak – it takes hard work, determination and overall toughness to keep a farm afloat because it is not an easy feat. You learn how to accept the fact that sometimes things do not go as planned and bad outcomes happen; however, that does not stop you. You are a fighter and a go-getter. No matter the task at hand, you strive to the best. You strive to finish on top. You strive to do whatever it takes to be the best you can possibly be. This mentality has helped me in so many ways, so yes, I blame it all on my roots.
The essence of responsibility and prioritizing
It is sad to see so many individuals in society who do not have the slightest clue on how to be responsible. When you have livestock and you know that it is your responsibility to care of them and realize that this responsibility is what it takes to provide for the family, you gain an entire new appreciation for it. Plus, a farm teaches a person how to be financially responsible. Since there is no guarantees in farming, you learn to be financially aware – markets, trends, investments, when to sell, how much to sell, etc. You also know that your farm is your priority which teaches you the important skill of knowing how to prioritize and make sacrifices. Again, I blame learning this all on my roots.
Grit and the willpower to never give up
There is no doubt that the farming lifestyle is one of the toughest lifestyles to pursue. The unpredictability makes it very difficult to have an exact plan. So many elements of farming are out of our control, which is the unforeseen beauty of it. In order to survive, you cannot give up. You will find and try any solution it takes to save the operation and make it more profitable while keeping the well-being of animals and the land a top priority. If there is a sick animal, you will try your best to save it. If something happens and affects cash flow, you will seek an alternative cash source to continue providing for your family. No matter what you face on the farm or in life, you never give up. I blame it all on my roots.
Good help is hard to come by
It is always hard to find someone to care for your land and animals in the same way you do. It was this reason that my family hardly ever took vacations. When it comes to farm help especially, it is extremely difficult to find someone that can be 100% trusted. After seeing this firsthand, you realize then how important it is to be a good worker and employee. No matter the job, you must always strive to do your best in order to keep it and/or be rewarded for it. To this day I have remembered this concept and it really has paid off. Yes, I blame it all on my roots.
Compassion for others and animals
Some may call it having a “soft-spot,” but I have noticed a very common trait in most farmers. Most are very compassionate people. I have personally witnessed the compassion farmers show for their animals – bringing a baby calf inside to warm it up on a chilly night, sleeping next to a sick horse all night to make sure it survives, waking up at all hours of a night to check on a herd of closely expecting momma cows and the list can go on and on. I have also witnessed farmers being the first on scene to lend a helping hand to change a flat tire, to pull a stuck vehicle out of a ditch or to donate what they can to the community and the list can go on. Being compassionate and kind can get a person far. Again, I blame learning this all on my roots.
Appreciation of the lifestyle, livestock and the land
In most cases, farmers may not have much in means of fancy cars, a huge home, etc. At least my family did not. However, it is learned that these are the things in life that matter the very least. You learn to appreciate and embrace all you have as well as some of the simplest things in life (beauty of sunrises/sunsets, witnessing an animal being born, watching calves run and play in a field, etc.). You learn that you must appreciate and respect your livestock because it is them that allow you to make a living. You learn to take care of the land because you have dreams of passing it on to future generations to keep the family operation going. We live in a society that forgets to appreciate everything they have instead of only think about the things they want. Luckily, the farming lifestyle has taught me differently so once again, I blame it all on my roots.
As you can see agriculture roots, whether they begin right when you were born or were planted later on in life, do impact you whether you realize it or not. Obviously, these roots teach us much more; however, I wanted to highlight those lessons learned that has impacted me the most. Is this a perfect lifestyle? Absolutely not – no lifestyle is. All I can say is that this upbringing and lifestyle has benefited me in more ways that I can fathom and I am sure there are many of my fellow farmers out there who can agree.
I blame it all on my roots. How about you?
Until next time and God Bless…