The Lord Loves the Farmin’ Man: A Tribute to the Farmers/Ranchers

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners; somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church; somebody who would bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says that he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.” So God Made a Farmer… –Paul Harvey

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When the idea for this blog came to mind, I could not think of a better and more precise way to begin a tribute to the farming/ranching man. (Ladies, I know that women contribute to, can also run a farm, etc. However, let us give credit where credit is due J ) Being born and raised on a farm and being surrounded by hard-working men who did so much to provide for their families, their farm and their land, I have so much respect for those who pursue and live the farming lifestyle.

We all know this lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. It does take a special kind of man to devote his life to being a true and successful farmer/rancher – one who strives, compassionate, resilient, hard-headed, family-oriented, intelligent, strong, faithful, honest, devoted and hard-working. Granted, these are all attributes that can be used to describe men in all lifestyles. However, when it comes to running a farm which consists of being responsible for several mouths to feed, acres of land to look after and a family to raise, these attributes are a must – and so very respected.

He (Rich Townsend) has spent his whole life trying to earn the proper respect among the best dairy breeders. He missed basketball games, FFA events, and many other things because of his dedication to his business. I never understood how someone could be so dedicated to something so exhausting. As I grew up I was finally able to understood why he did and still continues to fight for that respect despite how hard it is on him. He does not do it for the glory, though the recognition is nice. He simply does it for me and my sisters, and for his grandchildren. He works so hard in order to teach those around him that nothing in life comes easy and you must work for your success. I couldn’t imagine growing up any other way. – Shelby Belisle

So what makes the farming/ranching man so great and so “outstanding in their fields?” Here are just a few reasons why from a variety of perspectives:

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  • The farmer/rancher is proud. They are proud of their heritage. They are proud of what they have attained and accomplished. They are proud of the hardships they have endured. They are proud of the fact they contribute to feeding the world. They are proud of the fact their last name resides on the farm sign that resides at the farm’s entrance. And most of all, they are proud of their family – from the woman by their side, the kids following in their footsteps and the fact that they are instilling their family heritage for generations to come. 12789979_10102121069985884_1520869469_o
  • They are men of high standards and expectations. Wait, what? It is the truth. Farming is something that cannot be successful if effort is less than 100%. The farming/ranching man has a big responsibility on his shoulders. They have to commit to caring for their farm and make sacrifices to ensure that care is fulfilled. They have to keep their animals and land healthy to provide products that are safe for consumers. And they are responsible for helping provide for their families while giving their livestock and land the best care possible. And when it comes time to have to bury their kids’ dog, decide to put an animal out of their misery when an incurable injury/disease occurs, or sell an animal, they are the ones who have to show courage – no matter how hard it is. 12788292_10102120310622654_264691219_n
  • Being humble is often a common trait among farming/ranching men. I guess you can say the years when crop yields struggled, prices were low, bills were high; the days when animals were lost, a storm rolls through, or the truck and/or tractor quit – really served as a lesson that no farms’ success is guaranteed. These all served as lessons that the good days should be embraced and the bad days should serve as reminders. Being arrogant is not the answer – so I have been told by so many of the farming/ranching men I know. 12745582_1135824676429094_5433040007380652984_n
  • The storytellers. There is really no further explanation required here. These guys have seen so much and been through so much that they can tell story after story. Stories with funny/good endings and others with not-so-good endings. They can also tell stories we can learn from and stories we can re-tell. I do not care what anybody says or thinks, but I personally can listen to farming stories all the time because they can provide a good laugh and/or a good life lesson. 12717911_10208855337888657_5898691695194927155_n
  • Not only are they men who are generally respected, they are also those who are highly respected in their specific industries, communities and families. A vast majority of farmers/ranchers that I have been around have always been so respected and respectful. They are respected because of their dedication to their farm – both land and livestock. It is one of their top priorities and their daily lives prove that. 571c04eb-1f06-4c8a-ae70-04afbd6480aa
  • They are teachers. The farming/ranching man is a person you can always learn something from, whether it is your dad, grandpa, significant other, employer or a good friend. You can ride around with them in the farm truck while feeding, working alongside them fixing fence, or even while you are helping them out with daily chores, they can tell you about their past experiences to help show you a concept or teach a lesson. They are the type of person you can spend a day with and learn an abundance of knowledge about farming and life in general. And when the opportunity arises for you to speak and/or spend time with them again, you do not miss the opportunity.12784354_10102121031298414_555306238_n
  • The few who live a lifestyle when a little stubbornness is required and expected. You see, each farming/ranching man has their own way of doing things. No matter how absurd, strange and weird their methods may be, that is their way and you are not going to change their mind. This then proves that no two farmers are alike – they all are unique in the way they run their operation. They will work at fixing something until the job is done no matter how long it takes. And even though you may have a suggestion of a way things are done, they will still choose to try it their way which means sometimes learning the hard way. ;) 12746066_964867603560469_1330340090_n
  • When you think about the farming men in your lives you cannot think about how they are truly part of a tight-knit community. Every small town and rural area has a local “hangout” for the farmers to come together and talk about anything and everything. You are also amazed at the fact that they can be anywhere (whether it’s the feed store, the local Walmart or a farm show) and find at least one person they know which then lead to a lengthy conversation. They drive their families crazy sometimes; however, it just proves that their livelihoods lead to friendships they cherish.
  • Ultimate family man. To me, this trait right here is really what makes the farming/rancher man stand so high above the others. I am always truly amazed by the lengths these men take to provide for their families. They work tirelessly so their wives and kids can have the things they need. They drive their families to church every Sunday, they bust their tails to make their kids’ events and they be sure to leave a night or two open to take their woman out on the town. They are the type that girls like me want to settle down and raise a family with and the type that younger men want to grow up to be like.

Obviously, more can be said about the role the farming man plays in every operation and family. They are an integral part of the agricultural industry (fellow women, don’t you worry because we are too). For generations, they have worked to build foundations of farming heritage that continue to thrive today. 5342_201789796644687_27104960_n

So, be sure to thank those farming men you know. Be sure to appreciate all they do. They really are one-of-a-kind and as I mentioned before, really outstanding in their fields.

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Until next time…

Thank your farmer, and God Bless!

~Ali

I know this is already lengthy, but I also wanted to provide a glimpse of who inspired me to write this blog.  See below:

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Now about those men who I have grown up with and learned from… My dad was a hard-working dairy farmer. He milked the cows, fed hay, fixed fence, maintained the equipment, helped neighbors when needed – the list can go on and on. He did all this while still teaching school, followed his three daughters around and driving us to church every Sunday morning. He is also the man I watched get super emotional when our cows left our driveway after our farm dispersal and the man who almost refuses to leave the farm he has called home the past twenty-five years. Even though the dairy farming days are behind him, he still puts up hay, takes care of the few heifers/steers we have left, helps with horses and is still in the education system teaching high school kids about agriculture and being an FFA advisor. Recently, he was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone surgery. During this time, I realized just how much he has contributed to my family’s farm and began to appreciate more what he does for me and my family. Luckily, the surgery was successful so thank God for that.

Also, both of my grandfathers have greatly inspired me. My Grandpa Bos was a very successful and highly-respected dairy farmer who immigrated to the United States from Holland following WWII. He came here with nothing and then ended up in Missouri where he developed a state-of-the-art dairy farm and became a well-known dairy farmer. He passed away in 1994 due to a heart attack in a field on the farm he loved so much. My Grandpa Fulp still continues to milk cows today. He raised four daughters – three of which went on to help manage dairy farms of their own along with their husbands. He has battled colon cancer, tumors in his brain, a broken back and several other forms of sickness. He would always still make it outside to make sure things on the farm were still running smoothly. Today, he still wakes up every morning and milks his cows, feeds his calves/pigs and works long hours in the fields and his garden.

These men have really inspired and influenced me in so many ways. I am so thankful to be able to call them family.❤

So God Made the Farm Girl

Most of us have heard of the famous “So God Made a Farmer,” or the hit song “So God Made Girls.” What happens if you tie these two iconic entities together?

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So God Made the Farm Girl. The Ranch Girl. The Cowgirl. These titles are very unique and special and represent  a very small population of females in this world. A small population that I consider very lucky and very important (I may be a little partial since I am one of them).:)

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You think about how influential women are in the agricultural/farming world. More and more women are managing farms and are filling positions in an industry that has previously been male dominant. Our roles on farms have grown to so much more than the stereotypical images that many have of women’s responsibilities on the farm. Yes, we can raise a family, keep the house clean, bake some delicious pies, cook a mouth-watering homemade meal, etc. (Because we are just that talented and awesome.) But, we also contribute in so many other ways. We assist with the daily chores. We help fix fence. We are sitting in a tractor seat during harvest and hay season. We can hook up the trailer and take haul livestock to the stockyards, the vet’s office or wherever else. Shoot, we can run the whole dang operation if we have to. Even though this is straying away from the original message this blog was intending to portray, I wanted to make this point as a way of showing my own respect towards women in agriculture, as well as what I am striving towards as a young woman in agriculture. We are a rarity. We are incredible. We are resilient. We are dreamers. We are farm girls.

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Granted, there are women of all different type of backgrounds who are incredible in their own right. However, with my own family history/background of being dairy farmers, growing up as a farm kid, and being surrounded by the agriculture industry on a daily basis, I have noticed some traits and mindsets that several of us farm girls have in common. These are just further proof of why God blessed a select few with the opportunity to be farm girls.

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So God Made the Farm Girl…

God made the farm girl to sit in her daddy’s lap in the tractor, to be her mama’s shadow doing chores around the farm and in the house and to get into mischief whenever she could. Plus, there had to be a little girl who would beg her parents for that puppy, that kitten, that pony. And let’s face it, she usually would get her way.

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God made the farm girl to begin dreaming of how she wanted to run her own farm some day. To begin molding the future farm woman to do everything her parents did and more. She was born with a purpose of supporting the movement to feed the world and to make a difference, even if she did not know it at the time. He knew there would be days when she would insist she would not grow up to be a farmer. However, He also knew that she was smart and knew she would come to her senses. She would most likely be the next generation of farmers, and deep down, she always knew that.

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God made the farm girl because He knew her worth and her uniqueness. He knew her value and everything good she would bring to a farm. From an early age, she began to learn the value of life, the value of a dollar, the value of family, the value of hard work and the value of knowing that she could do anything she set her mind to. She saw firsthand of what it takes to care for animals and the land while producing products for consumers that were wholesome and safe.

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God made the farm girl to rock that blue FFA jacket and the green clover of the 4-H with pride. She could be a part of these organizations to showcase what she has learned, what she has and who she strives to be.

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God made the farm girl to be one who desires wide open spaces, the smell of fresh hay and all the sounds that accompany a farm – the humming of tractors/combines in a field, the moos of cows, the sound of horses munching on grass, the dog that barks when someone comes up the driveway, the noises of various farm animals, the sound of grain hitting a feeder, and the list can go on and on. To be the one who would admire the simple things that life entails.

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God made the farm girl to be one of the few girls who is never afraid to get her hands dirty. To be the girl who knows she can do anything, even if she is a girl. To be the girl that when someone is actually brave enough to say, “You can’t do that,” to look them in the eye and say, “Watch me,” and get it done. To be a girl who will never set limits because of her gender. To also be the girl who at times may be stubborn as a mule, but smart enough to ask for help when she knows it would better herself and the farm.

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God made the farm girl because he knew the compassion she has towards her animals. He knew she would give them the best possible care in a way that only a farm girl could. He knew she would be the one who would know the details of every animal she had.

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God made the farm girl to be able to go from a girl who is proud of the fact that she can be covered in dirt, mud, grease and yes, manure. There needed to be girls who can make muck boots match with anything – pajama pants, shorts, etc. There needed to be girls who could look beautiful in a milk barn at 4 a.m., in a truck checking cows in the middle of the night, in a barn helping delivering piglets, in a pen shearing sheep, and more.

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God made the farm girl to be one that understands the importance of faith in the agriculture lifestyle. To be the girl who knows how unpredictable farming is and who is not afraid to bow on her knees and pray during times of trials/uncertainties and raise her hands in praise in times of success and when things just simply work out.

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God made the farm girl to eventually become a farmer’s wife if that is what she so desires. He knew it takes a special woman to make a farmers wife. He knew that she would understand the commitment farming takes and the hardships that are to be expected. He knew that she would be right by her farmer’s side through it all. He knew that she would give all she had to be a good wife and partner. And guys, if you find a good farm girl, you best not let her go and do whatever it takes to get her because you won’t meet another one like her.

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God made the farm girl to hopefully bring the next generation of farmers into the world. Just like a farm wife, He knew it takes a special type of woman to raise farm kids. It takes a special kind of woman to help raise them in a way that many of us have been raised. He knew it would take someone special to let her kids know that the farm life is really not that bad on the days when they say how they would never grow up to be a farmer; however, be strong enough to encourage them to follow their own dreams while staying true to who they are.

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God made the farm girl to be, well, a farm girl. He knew she has a special purpose. He knew she needed to be strong, strong-willed, independent, respectful, faithful, committed and determined. He knew she needed to be resilient and be able to withstand the trials farming can dish out at times. He knew she needed to be passionate about her role. He knew she was going to be one of the very few in her field and knew she was truly something special.❤

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As you can see, being a farm girl is a blessing. From the time she was born and all throughout her life, she withholds the traditions and lifestyle she has been accustomed to her entire life with pride. She truly knows her worth and her importance. The farm girl will always hold agriculture near and dear to her heart, no matter where she ends up. She is different. She is powerful. She is tough. She is a farm girl and a farm girl is what she will always be.

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I hope this post has either 1) reminded you farm girls out there of how great you are; and/or 2) has served as an enlightening piece to others of how great farm girls really are. If you can relate to this post, feel free to share it because we need to show the world why God made farm girls.

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Until next time…

God Bless You All!

~Ali

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Horses and American Flags: Why I am Proud to be an American

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Horses and American Flags: Uniting Crowds and Symbolizing Freedom

Many of us have had the opportunity to attend a rodeo. The horses, the bulls, the steers, the contestants, the funny rodeo clown, the entertainment… The list can go on and on. It is definitely a fun atmosphere that many of us enjoy. One of my favorite parts? The horse and the American flag.

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With it being the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I wanted to show the more patriotic side of myAGventures. This historical and tragic event brings forth so many emotions. The sadness for all the lives lost and for their family members. The hate towards the cowards who were behind the tragedy. The pride in remembering how American came together and overcame such a devastating event. The patriotism that is felt causing goosebumps and chills to overcome us when we heard President Bush speak about how America will overcome, when we watched on the news as memorials were set up honoring victims, when the names of the lives lost are mentioned one-by-one, and when we see our nation’s flag flying at half-staff on every 9/11 anniversary. Sadly, so many lives were lost. So many lives were affected. 9/11 was definitely a day that changed our lives forever. Despite the lives lost, it was a time of unity and a time of American pride, which is something so precious caused by such cowardly and horrible acts. So now, when I see our American flag, I remember 9/11. I remember everything the flag symbolizes. I am so PROUD.11997123_10153152976058333_793928841_n

Many of us cannot deny that there is something special about seeing an American flag being carried by someone while on horseback. The thundering of hooves while the flag whips in the wind is definitely a humbling sight. Then hearing our nation’s national anthem played while a horse, rider and flag stand in the arena is something that really is indescribable.

Photo Courtesy of Ron McGinnis Photography

Photo Courtesy of Ron McGinnis Photography

Witnessing our flag carried by a horse and rider is one thing.  Being the person who is actually carrying the flag while riding a horse – no matter the fashion or style – is another. I have personally had the opportunity to carry our nation’s beloved flag and I will be the first to tell you, it is one of the most amazing experiences ever. The amount of honor and pride that is felt is abundant and is something I will never, ever forget. Why?

Photo Courtesy of Ron McGinnis Photography

Photo Courtesy of Ron McGinnis Photography

Earlier, I wrote about how our flag symbolizes so much. Freedom. Hope. Opportunity. Hard Work. Bravery. Resilience. Courage. History. Unity. Sacrifice.Talent. Then you think about our nation’s military and the brave men and women that have previously served, currently served and those who will serve in the future. The ones who will risk their lives to protect our freedom. The ones who have lost their lives. The ones who have given so much for so little in return. In addition to the military, the rich heritage that our flag represents is something that should never be forgotten. Look at everything America has overcame and accomplished. From our country’s beginnings after the Revolutionary War, from rising back after the Civil War, from proving during WWII that the USA is a force to be reckoned with, experiencing how we came together after 9/11, the United States of America truly is a great place and united Americans shall always stand – no matter what.

When that arena gate opens and a rider carries the symbol of our country on a running horse, the crowd stands. The crowd stands as one to honor the flag, which as we all know, undoubtedly deserves it. As the prayer is said and the words of our national anthem is sang, those in the crowd focus on the red, white and blue. For a few minutes, the flag is the center of attention receiving respect and honor. When the last note of the anthem is sang, and the horse glides out of the arena while the flag waves in the wind, the roar of the crowd rings in the ears of the horse and rider. The roar of the crowd proves that we are one. We are united. We are America.

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Unfortunately, we are living in a time where the flag is losing its value in the eyes of many citizens in this country. We have seen our flag being burned in acts of protest. We see the work of our forefathers being unraveled day by day. We live in a society where hard work is a rarity and entitlement is the new normal. We live in a society where hand-outs is taking the place of working for a living. We live in a society where blame and excuses overtake responsibility and consequences. We live in a society that says to strive for equality, yet continues to thrive off of accusations of discrimination. We call for equality, but cannot find a happy medium of acceptance. We live in a society where people strive for attention instead of focusing on making a positive difference. We are surrounded my media outlets that thrive on negativity and controversy instead of covering the good. We live in a society where making money replaces happiness, marriage/family have lost value and violence becomes the answer to anger. We live in a society where we are steering away from “One Nation, Under God” because it is viewed as offensive, instead of being thankful for all He has done and blessed us with. Sadly, there are days, in my opinion, where this nation feels divided and lost. As an American, I do feel scared after what I see going on. Despite the fear, I also have hope. 

Why do I have hope? I see good things that are happening. I see lives, young and old, making a difference. I see the brave acts from our men and women in uniform. I have hope because when I do carry that American flag, there is a crowd of people that are standing together as one. I have hope because when I am at an event where the national anthem is sang – whether it be a community event, sports event, etc. – there are fellow Americans around me with their right hand over their hearts saluting the flag. I have hope after I hear that roar of the crowd after the national anthem or even after members of our military are honored. I have hope as I carry our flag atop of an animal which represents freedom, trust and grace in front of fellow Americans who are united and applauding the greatest flag ever flown. I have hope because I live in the USA.

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So next time you see our flag, it is my hope that you remember this post. Despite the adversity and controversy that is going on, we must also remember everything good about this country. We are free. We have rights. We have an abundant, affordable food supply (yes, I had to throw agriculture in this somehow!:) ) and so many opportunities.

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I hope this has served as an eye-opener of just how amazing it is to carry our American flag, as well as how we should feel when we see our flag. We truly are lucky and we definitely have a lot to be thankful for.

United States of America – Land of the Free, Because of the Brave and will always be One Nation Under God.

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Until next time…

God Bless You All!

~Ali

*To all lives lost as a result of the tragic event that happened on September 11, 2001 – We will never forget.*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3eQmzw6n3k

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Calhoun Photography

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Calhoun Photography

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Courtesy of Lonny Matlock

Courtesy Way Out West Photography

Courtesy Way Out West Photography

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The Farm Truck

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I’m all about giving credit where credit is due. On the farm, there are so many entities that are major attributes to the daily operations on the farm that we often overlook. We tend to forget just how important these things are and forget to realize how just how valuable they are. One of these entities is none other than that good ole’ farm truck.

Earlier this summer, a good friend of mine (shoutout to Miss Madison Hynek!) suggested that I write a blog about farm trucks and common objects that are often found in them. This got me to thinking about farm trucks and just how much we rely on them to get farm work done.

I then traveled down memory lane and thought about the farm trucks from my past and the ones that are still in my family today. These trucks really are valuable, though some may not realize it, and are usually a part of many farmers’ greatest memories and stories.

So, some of you may be smiling by now thinking about the farm truck in your life. Others may be thinking, “What the heck is so important about these things?” Well, let me break it down for you.

Farm trucks carry a lot of responsibilities. 

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  • Trucks are what farmers, in many cases, use to get feed and hay to their livestock. So much time is spent in trucks driving through fields feeding hay, driving buckets of grain to the feed bunks, I could go on and on.
  • They give us a mode of transportation to check our livestock: checking cows during calving season; doing the daily herd checks to make sure herd health is sufficient; allowing us to check fences, etc.
  • Trucks give us a place to run to when that mad momma cow comes running or the bull decides to come a chargin’. (Yes, go ahead and smile because if you are a cattle farmer, chances are you have been in a similar situation.)
  • On those freezing cold nights when that cow decides to calve and the calf is left in the elements, what do a lot of farmers do? They turn the heater in the truck up and put the calf in the cab to warm it up, of course.
  • In addition, farm trucks pull a trailer to the stockyards. They take that load of horses to the field where cattle need to be worked. They pull those trailers full of freshly baled hay through hay fields. They are what are used to go cut wood. They are what are used to take those occasional trips to the pond to fish. They are what are taken when hunting adventures take place on the farm. They do so much for farmers on so many different scales.

Farm trucks are a farmer’s portable storage unit. 

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  • Let’s face it. When you get in a farm truck, there is usually common objects that can be found in the cab and in the bed.
    • At least one gun or other similar weapon.
    • Halter, ropes or other restraining devices.
    • Baling twine and/or net wrap.
    • Syringes, needles and some sort of meds.
    • Manure and mud.
    • Empty cans and bottles of all kinds.
    • Empty feed sacks.
    • Receipts from the feed store, vet’s office, gas station, hardware store, tractor dealership, etc.
    • Hay, hay and more hay.
    • A place that is distinguished specifically for the dog.
    • And many, many more!

From scratches to broken mirrors, many farm trucks contain their own unique “battle scars.”

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  • Numerous scratches as a result of the following; driving through brush, trying to get out of the bed of the truck and forgetting about the spurs, unloading hay that is a little stemmy and getting a bale a little to close to the side of the truck, getting a little too close to a fence or building that “magically appeared,” and the list can go on and on.
  • In many cases, farm trucks will usually have a dent in the bumper from backing too close to a loading dock, pulling a trailer and cutting it a little too sharp or backing into something. Plus, many times tailgates are bent or non-existent due to an accident involving hooking up a trailer. Oops.
  • It is a common sight to see mud and/or manure caked on these trucks – especially by the tires from driving in fields, through mud, etc. (Plus, we tend to get stuck…a lot)
  • Farm trucks contain at least one bumper sticker or window sticker of the following: favorite radio station, favorite tractor brand, farm name and more.
  • Each farm truck has their own unique, let’s say, personality. They may be missing a headlight, missing a mirror, have some dents, make funny/loud noises, and have different colors of paint. To me, this is one of the coolest things about these trucks because in most cases, each blemish has a pretty darn good story that goes with it. It definitely makes you think, “Oh, if trucks could talk…”

Farm trucks: where memories are made and lessons are learned.

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  • It is the vehicle that most farm kids learn to drive first. I’ll admit, I was first driving my family’s truck in the hay field way before the legal driving age, which is something that I will never forget. Also, it is usually the farm truck that is used when someone first learns to drive a trailer, which is a very important lesson to learn.
  • It is a place where some of the most influential conversations of your life take place. Whether it is checking cows or hauling hay, farm trucks are perfect places to talk with those you are closest to.
  • Okay, time to get a little sappy. Some of the best country dates usually take place on the farm riding around in the truck doing chores. It’s the truth, and I’m sure a lot of you can back me up on this one.
  • Most importantly, farm trucks are proof that one does not necessarily need to drive a brand new, flashy, fancy ride to get the job done. As long as they run and get from point A to point B, they are worth more than what meets the eye. The farm trucks purpose is to serve the farm, no matter what. Granted, some farm trucks are newer than others. However, the bottom line is their purpose and attribution to the farm they call home.

As you can see, farm trucks truly are important. I could not even imagine how my family would have ran our dairy farm without our old farm truck. (An ’85 Ford that still runs today!) They do so much for farmers all over the world. They are involved in so many of our greatest memories. Yes, they can cause us headaches sometimes; however, in the long run, they do hold special places in farmers’ lives. Plus, each farmer has that one truck that a) they refuse to get rid of and/or b) will never forget. From memories to work, trucks fulfill a purpose on the farm that cannot be denied or forgot about.

So, what about the farm truck(s) in your life? What story does your farm truck tell?

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I hope this has been an enjoyable post to read, as well as an eye-opener to the importance of farm trucks. As always, I hope this has allowed you to crack a smile or two.

Until next time, keep driving that ole’ farm truck with pride. Remember, there really is, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck, In a Farmer’s Field…”😉

And as always, God bless you all!

~Ali

What the Hay? 16 Random Facts About Hay Season


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Hay season. One of most looked forward to, stressful, glad when it’s over, “fun” times of year that farmers all over the world get to experience. For farmers, it is also a very crucial time of year. For those not involved in agriculture, it is a time of year that is often misunderstood.

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Here’s the ironic fact of hay season: Farmers really look forward to it. They know its importance and know it has to be done. However, things happen. It gets tense. Relationships are tested. Inappropriate words are sometimes said. Objects are thrown in anger. But despite the hardships that are likely to be faced, farmers find a way to get it done and feel a sense of relief/pride when they can officially say, “we are finished.”

So why is hay season so important? Why are so many emotions involved? What exactly is the big deal?

Here is 16 RaNdOM facts that will either A) make you smile and nod your head in approval; or B) realize just why hay season is, let’s just say, so great.

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Hay Season: What the Hay?!?!

1. For as much stress as hay season causes, farmers truly look forward to it. I mean, who would not want to spend endless hours in a tractor humming over fields. Plus, there is something about just sitting in a tractor where you can get away from it all for a bit. (That is, until something quits working.)

2. Yes, hay season is usually at time that many look forward to. But, on the opposite side of the spectrum, it does bring the “best” out in people. You see, when equipment is involved, something is going to break or not work. It is inevitable. And trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than having equipment that does not work when you have acres, upon acres of hay to put up.

3. Hay season is emotional. It’s more like an emotional roller coaster, actually. Excitement, stress, joy, anger. You name it. You feel anticipation when hay season begins, frustration when things do not go as planned and relief when it is over and a variance of emotions in between.

4. Farmers spend endless hours getting hay mowed, raked, baled, (in some cases wrapped) and hauled in. When I say hours, I mean hours. Then factor all the time it takes getting equipment prepared. It is definitely very time consuming, yet very worth it. (You will see why in a minute)

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5. Hay season reinforces the importance of teamwork. It requires effort from more than one person. From the mechanics who work on the equipment to get it running properly, to those who are responsible for mowing, raking, wrapping and baling and then to those hay hauling crews who bring the finished product in – hay season makes you work together even though there are times you want to strangle each other.

6. During this time of year, less time is spent resting. The time it takes to bring in a hay crop is excessive and usually entails early mornings and late nights. Lack of sleep may lead to grumpiness so it is advised not to take anything personal😉

7. It definitely tests relationships whether it be parents/children, siblings, couples, friends, etc. When things are not going right, there is a lack of sleep and you are racing to get the job done, things can get pretty tense. But on the other hand, it does lead to some bonding time in some cases where some of the best memories are made with those you are closest to.

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8. Hay season is fully dependent on the weather. When it is too wet, fields become flooded which affects forage growth. When it is too dry, forage growth is also impaired. With the exception of hay that is baled for silage (it can be baled with more moisture), most hay require time to dry. Dry, low-humidity, warm conditions are ideal for hay to properly cure and be in ideal shape for baling. Therefore, rain is an enemy. Sometimes, farmers will work through the night in order to get hay up before rain hits. In addition, rain means a higher risk of equipment getting stuck. Needless to say, the weather forecast becomes a farmers best friend during this time of year. And take note – do not interrupt when the weatherman is on TV and a farmer is watching it. (Thank me later:) )

9. Hay is a hefty investment. A lot of money is spent on equipment, supplies, labor and time – the most precious commodity of all. With so much money being invested, it is important for things to go as smoothly as possible. In times of drought and hay is scarce, it becomes even more expensive when hay has to be purchased from an outside source. There are several economic factors that many forget to consider.

10. So some may be wondering, what makes hay so important? The answer is quite simple. It is a very important food source for our livestock. It serves as an alternate food source during times of drought or during the winter when grass is limited. For some livestock, hay is their primary diet. The bottom line is that hay is a very crucial element in the diet of livestock, one of our own primary food sources. Farmers need it and livestock need it. Enough said.

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11. There are some that make their living off of selling hay; therefore it is their livelihood. It is a profession that puts food on the table for some. Plus, these folks supply farmers and other livestock owners with this precious food source. They are important too!

12. During hay season, a farmers yard becomes a mini tractor/equipment lot. There are mowers, rakes, balers, tractors, trailers, trucks, etc. And sometimes, you will catch a farmer just standing in admiration of that equipment. (It’s okay, we have all done it.) Farmers realize how important that equipment is. Plus, there is something about this equipment that just makes us feel good.

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13. Round bale vs. square bale. These are pretty self-explanatory. Bales, both square and round, can come in a variety of weights and sizes. Each farmer has their own preference of what works best for them and their operation. Random side note:  bales become a popular play place for farm kids. There is nothing like climbing all over bales or running over them. And for us adults, let’s be honest, it is pretty fun to stack bales in the barn.

14. For many, hauling hay (especially square bales) is fun. I know it sounds bizarre, but seriously, hauling hay is enjoyable. Yes, it may be 90 degrees in the blazing sun, but there is just something about picking bales up in a field, loading them on a trailer and hauling it to the barn. In most cases, you haul hay with those you enjoy spending time with, so memories are definitely made. Plus, it is a GREAT workout. Farmer fitness at its best. And hay hauling serves as an additional source of income for many.

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15. Even though this is irrelevant to the overall purpose of hay, hay season sure is good for the senses. We all know that there is no greater smell than that of freshly cut hay. Plus, there is something about seeing tractors in fields pulling equipment that is just neat to watch. The view of round bales dotting the countryside over rolling fields is something that really cannot be beat. I know this sounds strange, but hay season really is a beautiful time of year.

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16. Finally, there is no greater feeling for a farmer than seeing barns full of hay. When one can officially say, “that is it,” a farmer knows that the hours of hard work and the money spent was all worth it. The feeling of knowing your livestock will be fed and that you are prepared for those extreme weather conditions is one of the greatest feelings for a farmer.

As you can see, hay season is a very crucial and great time of year. There are several factors that influence it and there are a lot of things at stake. It is a very crucial aspect of every livestock farming operation. 

I hope that this has brought some amusement in the lives of farmers and some reiteration of how important this season is. Plus, I hope this has allowed you to go down memory lane to some of the stories you have of your haying experience. For those who were unfamiliar with hay, I hope this has been informative. I also hope it will serve as an eye-opener to respect that hay equipment that may be causing slow-downs on the road. Hay is definitely important that really impacts all of us when you really think about it. As always, remember to thank a farmer. Farmers, thanks for all you do.

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Happy haying!

God Bless You All!

Until next time…

~Ali

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Dating a Horse-Lovin’ Girl: 10 Truths You Need to Know

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Horse girls. There are a lot of us out there. We can be called crazy, different and slightly obsessed. But, here’s the deal. We really do not care what some people may think of us because one thing is for certain. We love horses and nothing is going to change that.

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For many of us, horses have been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. (A lot longer than any guy that is for sure.) Our lives revolve around the equine species. Countless hours have been spent and devoted to them which has made an influence on the type of person we have become. Horses are our passion and will always have a part in our lives.

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Whether we use our horses to make a living or for recreation/fun, it must be understood that they have an utmost level of significance on our daily lives. We love them and they love us developing a special bond that cannot truly be explained.

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So, are you still interested in dating a horse girl? Here are 10 pieces of advice that you need to be made aware of.

1. Let’s first state the obvious. If you are not a fan of horses, then chances are you will probably not be a good match for a horse girl. Let’s face it. When you date a girl who loves horses, chances are you are going to be spending some time around – you guessed it – HORSES!

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2. Horse girls devote a lot of time to horses so you cannot get overly jealous. We will go riding whenever we can, we enjoy going to equine events, we will travel to shows and/or other equine events, and we like just simply spending time with our four-legged babies. You must accept the fact that horses takes us to a level of happy that nothing else can.

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3. We have a horse (or horses) that mean the world to us. We trust them with our lives and have a special connection with them. The saying of “Love Me, Love My Horse” is definitely something you need to remember. And whatever you do – don’t ever, ever suggest getting rid of that horse no matter what the situation.

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4. Our horses are our pride and joys. We constantly talk about them and how awesome they are, we post pictures of them more than anything else, they are usually the background of our phones and desktops, etc. Don’t get annoyed. Instead, be a good guy and praise that horse too:)

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5. Horses are expensive. Just like how you have your expensive hobby (truck/car, hunting, fishing, etc.), we spend our extra money on our horses. They need to eat and have a comfortable/safe place to stay. They require a mode of transportation. They need shoes, vaccinations, vet care, and the list goes on. Plus, good tack and equipment is required. So just be aware, that they do cost a lot of money and in many cases, that is where a lot of our hard earned money is spent. (With no regrets may I add)

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6. I will be the first to admit that we want our horses to look good and be equipped with the best tack possible. (For safety and appearance reasons.) We look through catalogs a lot, browse online and visit tack shops pretty regularly. Truth is, we spend more money on accessories for our horses than we do on ourselves in many cases.

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7. While we are on the subject of these accessories, here is a little nice tidbit of advice for you. Yes, we are like any other girls and enjoy flowers, chocolates and other sweet, thoughtful gifts. However, if your really want to sweep us off our feet, get us something related to our horse. I can assure you that you cannot go wrong with that! (You can thank me later.)

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8. Even if you have never ridden a horse or been around them much, you will need to accept the fact that if you date a horse girl, this will probably change. You see, we really like it when you are willing to go ride with us and WANT to follow us at our shows, performances, competitions, etc. And when you do go with us to these events? Do not be a grump. If you really like us, you will be happy to be spending time with us while we are doing something that makes us so happy. Show up, be happy and shoot, even be willing to give us a helping hand. Trust me, it will mean more to us than you will ever know!

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9. Hopefully, you are not scared off yet.:) Dating a horse girl does have some perks as a matter of fact. Owning horses teaches us responsibility, which we all know is a very good attribute. Horses teach us areas of our own selves that we need to improve on. (In my case – patience, slow to anger just to name a few.) Plus, we can lift 50 lb. bags of feed and haul hay bales around. We know what it means to work hard. Plus, it is pretty cool that we can handle 1,000 + pound animals and teach them to do pretty awesome things.

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10. So, now I am going to be super blunt. If you are thinking of a long-term relationship with a girl who loves horses, here is the deal. Horses will always be there. What does this mean/require? A house with a barn and acreage. A truck and trailer. We are always going to want to have horses in our lives. They make us who we are and truly make us happy. And if kids ever come along, guess what? Chances are, they will have an interest in horses too and the cycle begins all over again.:)

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Whew, this is probably a lot to take in for some. This was not intended to scare you off, but to just give you a small insight into a horse girl’s world. (And what a wonderful world that is!) Plus, if you are fortunate enough to date a horse girl, you now have been equipped with some tips that can really act in your favor – again, you can thank me later!

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Truth of the matter is, there are no other girls like us. We are one-of-a-kind. If you can handle the love we have for our horses, then you will be in for the ride of your life.

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Until next time…

Ali

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Before You Date A Farmer: 10 Things You Need To Know

myAGventures

Less than two percent of the American population are directly involved in production agriculture (aka farming). With such a small population of farmers, it is a fact that several do not understand the farming lifestyle. I then got to thinking how several people out there really do not know what it takes to date a farmer.

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I have had friends who farm that complain about how people they date just do not get it. They do not understand the commitment farming requires or that amount of time it takes. They do not understand that it is a priority or do not get the fact that it is a lifestyle. This list can go on and on. So I, being a blogger and having a farming background, decided it was time to write a list about some things one needs to know before dating a farmer.

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Farming is more than the annoying stereotypes…

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Before You Date A Farmer: 10 Things You Need To Know

Less than two percent of the American population are directly involved in production agriculture (aka farming). With such a small population of farmers, it is a fact that several do not understand the farming lifestyle. I then got to thinking how several people out there really do not know what it takes to date a farmer.

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I have had friends who farm that complain about how people they date just do not get it. They do not understand the commitment farming requires or that amount of time it takes. They do not understand that it is a priority or do not get the fact that it is a lifestyle. This list can go on and on. So I, being a blogger and having a farming background, decided it was time to write a list about some things one needs to know before dating a farmer.

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Farming is more than the annoying stereotypes of overalls, pitchforks, old trucks and the overall Old McDonald picture a lot of people get in their heads. (Cannot forget about those ridiculous Farmers Only commercials!)  Let me quickly remind you that farming is what puts food on our tables at a reasonable cost. Farming is what feeds us; therefore let me be the first to say that dating a person who is responsible for helping feed you is legit. But as I said before, there are quite a few “attributes” you need to be made aware of.

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Are you prepared to date a farmer? Let’s find out…

  1. When you date a farmer, you have to realize that the farm IS the priority. If you think you are going to date a farmer and be the only important thing in his/her life, you are mistaken. You see, the farm is the livelihood and it is the farmer’s responsibility to care for it. 

  2. Farmers work hard, long hours. They work from sunrise to sunset and sometimes even longer depending on the season. (We will get to that next.) There may be days when they are not able to hang out with you or take you to dinner because they have a farm to care for. 

  3. There are certain times of the year when farmers are so busy they may not have a lot of time to spend with you. Hay season, planting season and harvest season are examples of when farmers literally work all day and most of the night. These are stressful times of the year when sleep is limited and stress is high meaning you have to be open-minded and supportive. 

  4. When you date a farmer, expect plans to suddenly change. You see, farming is not like a typical 9-5 job. It is a 24-hour a day job. Even if you have made plans, those plans can abruptly change. An animal gets sick, a tractor breaks down, fence needs fixed and the list can go on and on of similar farming emergencies that must be taken care of. Sometimes, plans are ruined, but like I mentioned before, the farm comes first. 

  5. Sometimes a night out on the town may be later than what you are used to. Where most couples go out about 5:30 or 6:00 to go to dinner and a movie, a farmer usually is not able to go until after all the chores are done. This may be annoying for some; however, this is reality. In addition, the times you celebrate holidays are all dependent on the farm and occur in between/after chore times. 

  6. Sometimes, dates may be a little different than what you are usually used to. They may be riding around in the truck checking cows and/or other livestock, checking fields to ensure they are in good health, riding in the tractor baling hay, hauling hay, cutting wood, sitting in the machine shed working on farm equipment, etc. These may not sound like dates to you, but in a farmers world, they are some of the best dates one could ask for. 

  7. When you date a farmer, there are several topics you must get used to talking about. The weather (it has a HUGE impact on farming); livestock (You hear all about animals being born, how they all are doing, and honestly, sometimes the stories you hear are not always rainbows and butterflies); tractors (You learn terminology you never even heard before and even why some colors of tractors are better than others); market prices (A farmer, just like any other person, strives to make a profit, so knowing the market trends is important); just to name a few.

  8. Here are some random things you need to know about a typical farmer and the farm life. Their farm truck is very important…never “bash” it. They usually have a dog or another animal that they are quite fond of, so do not get jealous. They are almost always willing to give their neighbors a helping hand, even if it means being late to something you had planned. They understand the importance of being frugal with money because of the risks and unpredictability of the farming lifestyle. And on the more funny side of things… You cannot be completely grossed out by animal poop, the unpleasant smells that sometimes accompanies farms, etc. 

  9. In many instances, farming is a family affair. A majority of farms are family owned and operated; therefore this should not be a surprise. With this being said, you have to be willing and able to get along with your farmer’s family, no matter what. They spend a lot of time together, so chances are, you will to. And a farmer is extremely proud of upholding their family’s tradition…

  10. Even though it may sound like a bit of a challenge/different experience to date a farmer, if you are willing to put up with their lifestyle, as well as be supportive of it, you will find it is quite an honor. This sounds cliche’, but it is true. Farmers are becoming more of a rarity and they are such a huge part of each of our lives. On the flip side, farmers, if you find a person who understands your lifestyle and are not afraid to work alongside you, you have found a keeper!

The truth of the matter is, farming is a lifestyle many are not familiar with. For some, it is quite a shock to date someone who farms due to the fact farming requires so much time, commitment and hard work. Farming is not for the faint of heart and dating a farmer does require understanding and patience.

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Coming from a farming family, having several friends who farm and personally knowing many farmers, I can honestly say that dating a farmer may not always be easy, but to the right person, it will be worth it.

Hopefully this post has served as an eye-opener for many. In addition, hopefully it has led for you farmers who are reading this to nod your head in approval or even say “YES!” out loud. And even for those of you like me who are still searching for that someone who understands the farming lifestyle, just be patient because that special someone is out there and will come into your life at just the right time. (At least that is what I have been told.)

So, if you are able to relate to this, feel free to share! Feel free to comment with your own “Before You Date a Farmer” advice. This has seriously been a fun post to write, so it is my hope you all had some fun and laughs reading it.:)

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Until next time…

~Ali  :)

Brad & Gail Groves Dairy Farmers Billings, MO

Brad & Gail Groves
Dairy Farmers
Billings, MO

Christmas on the Farm: A Different Kind of Normal

It’s Christmas time. Family, food, gifts parties are all elements of the holiday season that millions of people enjoy. The anticipation of waking up on Christmas morning and seeing what “Santa” brought you is something you look forward to. We wake up out of our warm beds and run to the tree to see what gifts await and then start opening them. Paper flies, cameras flash and shrieks of excitement fill the room. It’s a pretty picture right? DSC07922

You are probably wondering where I am going with this. Why am I writing about a pretty normal Christmas morning? Well the reason is because I never had a “normal” Christmas morning. Wait, what? You read this right. I never had a normal Christmas morning. I had what I consider a different kind of normal morning.

Courtesy of Farming Memes located on Facebook

Courtesy of Farming Memes located on Facebook

Now you are probably really wondering what I am insinuating by making a statement of this nature. The truth is, on Christmas morning, my family and I worked before we opened presents. Yes, we worked and I never, ever complained.

You see, I was raised by a farming family. (Yes, I was one of the lucky ones who can say this!) We had a dairy farm and just because it was Christmas morning, never meant we could put the farm on the back burner. We often hear farmers say, “On Christmas morning, we did not open gifts until the animals were cared for.” To fully grasp the concept of what this statement means, I wanted to emphasize it to show just how important this is.

No matter the day, our animals have to be cared for. They are our upmost priority, even on Christmas

No matter the day, our animals have to be cared for. They are our upmost priority, even on Christmas

Here is how a typical Christmas morning was for me, and for many of you who are reading this. Alarm goes off before the sun comes up and the alifamily gets up and heads out the door. Cows are ready to be milked and fed and the calves are bawling for their morning meals. Dad heads to the barn while mom tends to the calves. Three little blonde haired girls tag along helping as much as they can and hurry to the house to wait for their parents to arrive so they can open their treasures. If they are lucky, they can open gifts before 10 A.M…

This may sound cruel to some or it may not even make sense. How dare these parents make their kids wait to open their gifts on one of the most exciting mornings of the year?!?!

Whether you are/were a farming kid, farming teen or a farming adult, Christmas morning began as just another day on the farm. cherry bomb

In all honesty, I am so glad I learned to wait to open my gifts on Christmas morning and I am sure glad my parents made me wait. There are so many lessons this taught me and so many other farmers out there, such as-

Responsibility: Just because it was a holiday, did not mean that we could shut the farm down like it was a typical business. 10479189_10203831985182098_3634652475703811621_nHolidays are just another day on the farm. We could just not tell our livestock that they had to fend for themselves because it was our vacation or an important date on the calendar. Christmas was no different. Even though there were gifts under the tree and family dinners to go to, we had to take care of our animals. We had to be responsible. We had to be the caregivers we were designed to be.

Patience- One of the most difficult things in life to learn is patience. As a kid waiting to open presents on Christmas morning was a difficult task; however the overall lesson learned is irreplaceable. My sisters and I learned that we just had to wait patiently and not complain. My parents had to exercise patience in knowing they had three anxious girls in the house waiting to open their gifts, but having to get their chores done outside first. Overall, patience was learned which is a truly valuable life skill.

Sometimes, learning patience was hard...

Sometimes, learning patience was hard…But looking back, is was worth the lesson!

Priorities- As farmers know, your farm is one of your top priorities. It was your livelihood and your passion; therefore it came SAE Project---Dairy Placement Photo Courtesy of- Dakoda Baxter, son of Jason and Becky Baxter, Billings FFA Chapter- Missouri first. My family’s farm was no different. It was a priority to care for our animals in the best manner possible. Like I have mentioned before in this post, Christmas morning was no different. We fed and cared for the animals before our gifts were opened. If that is not dedication, I do not know what is!

Family- It was a general rule that gifts were not opened until our entire family was back in the house. Granted this is the case for a lot of families, but we stuck true to this rule no matter what. If one of my parents had to stay outside longer to tend to a sick animal or fix fence, we waited. It was a full family effort to run the farm; therefore it was going to be a full family affair when we opened our gifts. Family is so important and embracing the entire family moment on Christmas morning truly nailed this point home.

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Dedication- You know, farming takes a lot of dedication and passion. You truly have to love what you do in order to deal with events such as a delay in opening gifts on Christmas morning. I think it says so much about farmers who can stand and say they tend to their farm first before gifts are opened. What this taught me growing up, that in order to be successful you have to be dedicated to your purpose. In my family’s case, our purpose was ensuring our animals were well taken care of in order to have a successful and prosperous farming operation. Farm 078

As you can see, Christmas morning in a farming family is not like a lot of families’ Christmases. However, I consider it a different kind of normal. More like a farming kind of normal. I knew no different growing up and looking back, I cannot complain one bit. I am honored to say that my Christmas mornings consisted of farming and caring for my animals first and opening my presents second. I am honored to have had parents to show me how the farm takes priority and how important being dedicated is. Learning these lessons is just further proof of how much of a blessing being raised on a farm was for me. 168298_1795752055615_1580732_n

With Christmas being just hours away, I just wanted to write this post as a way to show the world just how much farmers care for their livestock and just how unique the farming lifestyle is. In addition, I wanted to provide all you farmers out there a chance to take a trip down memory lane to your own farm Christmases. Plus, I wanted to remind all of you just how great you are for caring for your animals each and every day, no matter what holiday it is.

What are some of your fondest Christmas morning memories? What were your experiences? How were your Christmas mornings on the farm?

I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Farmers, thank you for your dedication. For you farm kids, as tough as it may be to wait to open your gifts, remember you are some of the few who can proudly say you waited to open your gifts because your parents farmed. Trust me, you will be so thankful for this. I know I am. 10815773_10205044243247792_1855737899_n

Until next time…

God Bless You All and Merry Christmas!

~Ali

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Living the Farm Life: 20 Life Lessons the Farm Instills

myAGventures

Having the opportunity to have been born and raised on a farm is truly a blessing. Growing up on a farm has taught me so many values and life lessons which have molded me into the person I am today. The truth is, those who have had the opportunity to have been raised on a farm or currently reside on one, understand this concept fully. There is absolutely no doubt, we are lucky. Why? What makes growing up and/or living on a farm so great?

Well, the answer is not as complex as one may think. In fact, the answer is quite simple. The honest truth is there is no other lifestyle like it. There is no other lifestyle where one can learn and be responsible for so much, while fulfilling the role of feeding the world. Pretty remarkable, huh?  2014100495174705

Previously, I have created a post about the truths of growing…

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