A Letter to My Farm Family: Thank You for Giving Me the Farm Life

163245_1770898914302_3973129_nYou know, we can read and write blog posts about growing up on a farm or living the farming dream. I want to take it a step farther. I want to honor those who have inspired us and given us the opportunity to grow up a farm kid and for some of us even pursue our own dreams of owning our own farm. So, I decided to write a letter dedicated to those who have instilled the farming/agriculture gene within us. Whether it is parents, grandparents or other family members, this letter is written especially for them.

Several people ask me why I have chosen agriculture as an area to study and pursue a career in. What is the number one reason why I selected this industry to base the rest of my life on? The answer is my family.

A Picture of the Fulp Family at the 2010 Ozark Empire Fair

A Picture of the Fulp Family at the 2010 Ozark Empire Fair

Dear (insert your farming influence person here) for me, it is my parents and grandparents:

Thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be born into a farming family. Thank you for allowing me to spend my childhood growing up on a farm. Thank you for teaching me about how important agriculture is.

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Growing up a farm kid has been such a blessing that I did not realize until later on in life. I learned about how hard work is important and about taking responsibility. I learned that there is nothing more peaceful than a country sunrise/sunset or more rewarding than watching a newborn animal be born. On the flip side, we learned that life is not always fair. Losing animals, witnessing accidents, experiencing years of pure bad luck… I learned early that I should never take anything for granted. I learned that I should never give up. Most importantly, I learned that there is so much more to farming than what meets the eye. Farming is an important part of every single person’s life.

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As I grew older, I may have seemed as if I was unhappy with our lifestyle. I may have groaned when you made me go outside in the freezing cold to check livestock or when I had to get up early in the morning to go feed. I would get upset if I could not go out with one of my friends because we had hay to bring in or work around the farm to be done. I know it appeared like I did not care; however little did I even know, I was actually just getting molded for my future.

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When the “real world” got closer, I realized that farming and agriculture is in my blood. I am just as passionate about it as you are/were. I realize that I want to make it my future because you have made it apparent to me that farming is important and agriculture was my future. It truly is the only way I know; therefore there is no doubt in my mind I want to be a part of the industry for the rest of my life. The moment I realized that was one of the most refreshing and relieving feelings I have ever felt.

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Yes, I do realize that this lifestyle is not easy. It is not a career that holds guarantees. It is not something by which I will be able to make so much money that I will live in a mansion or drive a fancy vehicle. Truth is, I know there will be times when I will wonder how I will survive or get by. There will be times when I will feel like I have run out of options. There will be droughts, floods, storms, blizzards and other natural disasters that will affect my career. There will be years when fuel/feed prices are high and my output prices will be low. There will be several obstacles that will stand in my way. With each day, there will be new challenges. You have shown me this. You have taught me how to handle it.

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You see, I have learned from you. I have been watching you. I have been taking mental notes. You have been my mentor and my role model. During times of hardships, I have noticed how you never gave up and how you always found a way to keep your head held high. The stress, the tears and the heartache… It is all inevitable in this lifestyle; however you have taught me that the passion I hold for the farming lifestyle burns strong enough to fight the fear of giving up. Your example of strength and courage through those hard times has been engrained in me. I am prepared because of you.  On the flip side, the joy you had made me realize that you loved what you did. You were happy, and I realized how I want to be happy too. How would I be happy? By following in your footsteps and following the farming dream.

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Let’s talk about those good times a little more.  I will never forget the look on your face after a good harvest or after you saved the life of an animal. You have taught me that along with the heartaches, there is great joy in farming. We had so many good times, so many laughs and so many precious memories made. From the moment when I drove the tractor for the first time by myself to the moment when you left all responsibilities on the farm to me when you left for a few days, there were so many moments that I will never forget. This is what the farm life is truly all about. This is what has inspired me to follow the same path you did. I want to experience those things too. I want to experience it all.

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During the good times and the bad, I know I must always remember why I chose this lifestyle. I chose it because 1) I want to keep my family’s tradition alive; 2) I want to do my part in keeping food on peoples’ tables all over the world; and 3) I could not imagine my life being any other way. You are the ones responsible for this mindset. You have taught me so much and I am so thankful for that. I could easily go on and on; however I want to end with the valuable lessons and responsibilities you have taught me.

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First of all, to be able to make a living in the agriculture/farming world, I must be passionate about what I do. Secondly, I must be resilient and willing to push forward, even when the future looks doubtful. Next, I will not be successful unless I am willing to work hard and remain dedicated, as well as committed. I must also make farming a priority. Lastly, I must always keep a strong faith and pray to God constantly for the productivity, safety and well-being of my operation. Faith in farming is so important!

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Thank you again for raising me on a farm and inspiring me to continue your tradition. Thank you for allowing me to realize that I want my own kids to someday experience what I did. Thank you for laying down a pathway for my future. Most of all, thank you for being a great role model that I will aspire to be like every single day.

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I love this life, and I could not imagine it any other way. I seriously cannot thank you enough.

Much love,

-The future of agriculture

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If you are thankful for growing up in a farm family, share this with those who have influenced you. Share this with your friends so they can realize just how valuable this lifestyle is to you. So many people do not realize how much more there is to farming and how much the farm life teaches us. We are hard-working, passionate and driven individuals who are responsible for feeding the world.

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Until next time, God Bless our Farmers and God Bless You All!

~Ali

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Growing Up on a Farm: 25 Facts About Being a Farm Kid!

This post is dedicated to all you past, present and future farm kids out there. There may not be very many of us, but we truly are  one-of-a-kind. In all honesty, I don’t know of a better way to grow up. Yes, we worked hard. Yes, we can tell stories all day long about our experiences both good and bad. Most importantly, yes we are proud to be farmers’ sons and farmers’ daughters. We are proud to be born and raised farm kids.  We are proud to be future farmers.

There is no doubt….WE REALLY ARE LUCKY!

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There have been several blog posts containing lists being shared on Facebook and Twitter right now. These lists, which deal with topics from growing up in a small town to reasons why you should date a teacher, inspired me to write about the farm kid life. For all you farm kids out there, you know we had a very special upbringing that many do not understand. With this in mind, I decided to come up with 25 truths that most farm kids could relate to in some way.

To me (and I think many will agree), being raised on a farm is a gift and something we should definitely treasure. We learn things that will be with us the rest of our lives. I could literally go on and on about how lucky farm kids really are. Whether you were raised on a farm or are just simply curious about the farm kid life, I hope you enjoy this list I have come up with. Don’t be afraid to smile, laugh and take a trip down memory lane! I know I did 🙂

20131122-121759.jpg25 Farm Kid Truths….here we go!

1. When you were first asked what you want to be when you grow up, you could not think of anything other than a farmer. Duh! 

2. Yeah, those Hot Wheels, Barbie Dolls, Nintendo’s were all oh so cool. BUT nothing compared to your farm toys and figurines. Those John Deere tractors, plastic hay bales, plastic cows, horses, trucks, etc. They were your favorites that you played with ALL the time.

3. No Christmas list was complete without those farming toys. Ertl farm sets, more toy tractors, more farm animals…you needed to make your “farm” bigger.

4. No matter how hard your mom tried for you to have “good clothes” and “chore clothes,” and/or “good shoes” and “chore shoes,” everything you had turned into clothes you got dirty outside. Your excuse? “Sorry mom, I forgot…”

5. You learned some of the most random things…most of the time, the hard way. Examples?? You learned that if you got stuck in the mud while wearing your muck boots, you better just stay put and wait for help. You learned that your parents weren’t kidding when they said the fence was “hot.” You learned to avoid crawling through or over barbed wire fences. You learned that no matter how “cute” little mice looked or how tempting it was to pick one up to tease your sibling(s) with, those suckers would bite if you messed with them. You learned where not to hold a bottle when bottle feeding a baby calf. This list could go on and on. 20131122-121739.jpg

6. Here are some of the rules you were given when you went and played outside. Don’t go to the road, don’t go near the bull, if you open a gate then you better shut it, do not turn on/operate any piece of equipment, DON”T GO TOO FAR,, don’t hurt your brother/sister, blah blah blah. We all heard it.

7. You learned at a very young age that you needed to pray every day. Granted, yes we need to do that every single day. However, you prayed for things most kids would not even think about. You prayed for rain during a drought. You prayed for a good harvest. You prayed for sunshine when hay needed to be made. You prayed for your animals. You understood just how important faith in farming is.

8. The worse forms of punishments in fact were not getting spanked. The worse forms of punishment included picking rocks out of dirt lots and walking through fields with a feed sack and scissors cutting thistles. Even worse than that? Being told to stay in the house. Ughhhh!!!!!

9. You have been chased by a chicken, bucked off a horse, cut by a barb-wire fence, kicked by a cow, fallen face first in mud, fell out of a tree and/or have fallen off a tractor/truck/trailer (just to name a few) on a few occasions. Funny thing is, it did not slow you down one bit. 1016244_10201392292111296_1643819930_n

10. You did not open your Christmas gifts on Christmas morning or go trick-or-treating on Halloween until all the chores were done. And you did not complain about it.

11.  The best bonding time with your daddy came from sitting on his lap in the tractor. You seriously felt like the luckiest kid alive. What made you feel even luckier? Riding with your daddy in the combine! Also, let’s face it. Whatever your daddy’s favorite kind of tractor was, well it was yours too.

12. Your momma cooked the best home-cooked meals. She was the best at making those daily bumps, scrapes and bruises that we would always get all better. She could get manure and oil stains out of anything. She could then go outside run a tractor, haul cattle to town, tend to a sick calf, haul hay and back a trailer just as good (or sometimes even better) than your daddy and the other farm hands could.

untitled13. Hay season, planting, chopping, etc. were like mini Christmases to you. You could ride in the tractor all day long, your meals were brought out to you, you could even stay up past your bedtime sometimes…

14. Yes, we had our swing sets, trampolines, sand boxes, etc. However, those were not the coolest things to play with. The coolest things were round bales, livestock trailers, piles of seed, skipping rocks at the pond  and stuff like that. Now that was fun!

15. You could operate equipment, drive a tractor, drive the farm truck and run the 4-wheeler at a very young age. (I won’t exactly specify what age this is, but let’s just say it is way before the age of 15.)

16. You could tell if a cow was calving by the age of eight. You got to see more live animal births of any kids in your class. Once again, cool kid status reached! While we are on the subject, you could tell if an animal was sick. You could determine how crops were doing. You could count hay bales during hay season. You knew a great deal about medicines, fertilizers and other farming practices. You were that smart.

17. You have had the opportunity to see more sunrises and more sunsets than most kids your age did. That is pretty cool.sunset

18. You had manners and learned to respect your elders. You learned the importance of listening and following instructions. You quickly learned the value of a dollar. You just learned lesson after lesson day after day.

19. You strongly disliked going to school sometimes because you could not stand to be locked up inside. You’d much rather be outside working on the farm, no matter how it was like outside. It would literally drive you insane. (Sidenote, all of your projects/assignments somehow incorporated farming into them.)

20. You had that one animal: One dog, one cat, one cow, one horse, one something that was your buddy and at the time, your best friend. That special animal is one you will never forget.

21. Your senior pictures, prom pictures, graduation pictures, etc. have a tractor, truck, FFA jacket and/or livestock in them more than once.200592_1002209537548_6788_n

22. You were proud to be a member of 4-H and/or FFA.

23. The older you got, the more responsibilities and chores you were given. No we were not slaves of our parents. No we were not “overworked.” Our parents were teaching us one of the most valuable lessons a person could learn – that is RESPONSIBILITY!

24. You understand the value of hard work, commitment, good character, good business and dedication. Farming is no easy task, and you fully comprehend the fact that these values will benefit you the rest of your life. These values will lead to success and you know it.

25. You realize just how lucky you are to have grown up on a farm. You realize that you want your future kids to grow up on a farm too because there really is not an upbringing that can compare. ❤

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I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. One thing I know for sure is  that I am so proud to be considered one of these kids. If you are, share this! Show the world you’re proud of it too. Better yet, thank your parents for giving you the rare opportunity to grow up as a farm kid.  

Thanks so much for reading this post. As always, God Bless You All!

Until next time…

~Ali~20131122-121833.jpg20131122-121808.jpg20131122-121818.jpg

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