Melissa Beck, Editor
Last time I wrote Ten Reasons Not To Farm, and my husband informed me that was “depressing”, so I decided to come back at this topic from a less depressing angle. Here are Ten Reasons to Farm:
1. You’re a natural born risk taker, a gambler not afraid of uncertainty. If you look risk in the eye and scoff, farming is the job for you. IF, however, you get an upset stomach at the thought of losing an investment simply because the weather isn’t in your favor, or a fire breaks out, or speculators ruin the futures market, you might consider a different career path.
2. You like to change things up, you get bored with the predictable. Blowout on the way to the sale barn, meh, par for the course, heifer calving in the snow and needs assistance at 3:00 a.m., no big whoop, you like to keep things fresh. You’re a rare breed of human that can hold it together on 4 hours of sleep, you’ll still wave at every person you meet on the road, and say “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” even though you’re running on caffeine and chicken-fried steak.
3. You would go bonkers if you had to sit at a desk for more than 45 minutes at a stretch. Sure, you have to work inside on occasion, but the outdoors is where it’s at. You’re the best version of YOU when you’re working outside.
4. You’re a jack of all trades. You can MacGyver equipment together with duct tape, baling wire and ingenuity. You’re a born problem solver and can look at a piece of equipment at a consignment sale, and where others see rust and locked up bearings, you see potential and an opportunity.
5. You can multitask. You’re working complex mathematical equations in your head while driving a tractor. You do your best planning and thinking while operating equipment; this is where you have your epiphanies.
6. You’re always thinking 6-12 months ahead. You have goals, and ideas for improvements. You are always adapting and modifying to improve your efficiency. Whether you’re thinking of ways to reconfigure your cattle working facilities, or where to put fences, gates, drainage ditches, or what varieties to plant or weeds to spray you’re always thinking ahead.
7. You know how to prioritize. You understand that there are seasons and cycles in this life you’ve chosen. You know how to let certain things slide during your busy season and you know how to play catch up when things slow down. You make time for the most important things, like family, friends and your faith.
8. You understand and value community. You’ll put off your own harvest to make sure your injured neighbor’s crop get harvested. You drive up and catch the high bid on the auction at an FFA fundraiser. You hire young people, even though you know you’ll have to do extra explaining, repairing and supervising; but you also know they need to learn how to work. You give because you appreciate what you have and care about those who have less. You’re a giver, a producer, a doer and encourager.
9. You value a job well done. You get satisfaction out of hay in the barn, grain in the bins, cattle gaining on pasture. You like a sense of accomplishment you get after a hard day’s work. You actually enjoy the kind of tired where you fall asleep before your head hits the pillow.
10. You work hard and hardly ever think of how important this work is that you do. You don’t think of yourself as someone who is “feeding the world”. You aren’t looking for accolades. You’re just doing this job you have felt called to do. You wouldn’t mind making a living in the process, but you keep doing it even in the lean years when you barely make ends meet. You’re a farmer, it’s what you do.