A farmer’s life is hard. Working all day, everyday. No matter the weather, chores need to get done. Weekends? More like all the kids are around to help out- all day. Holidays? More kids to come help with evening chores before Christmas supper. Vacations? They can’t leave. Who’s going to feed the cattle and check the fields? Even if a farmer did take a vacation, he would be worried about what’s going on at home. Did the help get the cattle rations right? Are all the animals bedded down with dry straw? Did any of them get sick or injured? What if a calf is born or a cow has difficulties getting that calf on the ground? So many worries, why even bother? Not to mention they probably can’t afford one anyway. Unless you’re a crop farmer, but that’s a different argument in itself.
Growing up on a farm has had it’s challenges and as I get older, I see more of struggles my parents go through. When a tractor breaks, you fix it yourself if you can. If the cattle run through the fence, usually at the most inconvenient times, you have to round them up and repair the fence. The animals always have to be fed, no matter the day, time, or weather conditions. And don’t get me started on the people who criticize everything farmers do to provide the world with a safe, stable, and reliable food source. I think you know what groups I’m referring to.
Anyway, one of the biggest struggles for many farm families is cash flow. It’s very hard to make a living on a smaller farm. You may be wondering why farm families stay on the farm when they struggle to make money. I used to wonder that as well, until I was older a realized how moving to town would hurt my family more than being in debt on the farm.
Losing a family farm and having to move to town is almost worth than death for a lifelong farmer. Farmers take pride in their work. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into their farms. They want to see their children take over the family tradition and pass it on- generation after generation.
Both my dad and my mom spent almost their entire lives on a farm. They lived in town for a short while when they were first married, but moved to their own farm as soon as possible. They both passed on their love of God, farming, the FFA, and 4-H to myself and my siblings. This love and passion for agriculture is shown in the projects my siblings and I partake in, especially in the summer months when we prepare for the County Fair. We’ve all had our fair share of unique experiences as farm kids and we wouldn’t trade them for the world. Farming is not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle and it’s the lifestyle I have chosen for my adult life. I see farm life as a hobby, a job, and entertainment as one day is never the same as another.
When times get tough, farm families stick together. They get stronger through struggles and look for a light at the end of the tunnel. They have to look for a bright side or the situation will only get worse. The way farm families come together reminds me of “The Tramp” and “The Gamin” in the 1936 film, Modern Times.
Throughout the film, the two characters are poor and try to keep everything together. They have big plans and big dreams. They do well for awhile, then something happens and they are back to almost nothing. Even though they continue to go through that up and down cycle, they stay together, change their plans, adjust to the situation, and look at the bright side. They work as a team to get through tough times, just as farm families do.
Out of all the lessons learned on the farm from “Always close the gate” to “Those animals better eat before you do,” I think the most important is have pride in what you do and make sure you keep a good relationship with your loved ones. Turning to prayer and family comfort is the best way to get through a rough time. You never know when you may need them for a helping hand or guiding words. Keep believing, work hard, and know God and your family is always there.