It's another balmy morning here on the Knolltop. I love this warm weather!
Because many of you don't get the Farmshine, the Farmers' Advance or Farmworld, I think I'll put my column in today.
But before I do, I just wanted to mention the games last night. While Sarah was selling baked goods at the FFA bake sale, Luke's team beat Pittsford and JW's team got beaten. Jake will have his first game tomorrow, he's so excited!
Okay, here's my column from this week.
Truth from the Trenches by Melissa Hart
I want to be a farmer.
Waking up to -20 degrees this morning the words coming out of my mouth are not “I want to be a farmer.” Rather, “I don’t want to be a farmer today” is more like it. But after reading an essay written by a six year old little girl in the most recent issue of the Michigan Farm News I can see again why farming is a special way of life.
Addy Battel of Elkton, Michigan wrote about her desire to be a farmer when she grew up. Like many children her love for farming is rooted from watching and helping on her grandparent’s farm. The enjoyment she experiences from helping feed calves and wanting to be outside along with the wonderful smell of maple syrup boiling and the crunch of a fresh sugar beet are all things she mentioned in her essay. But what sealed the deal in her piece was how much she liked the smell of manure in the dairy barn. Now there is a true farm girl!
How many other kids are out there with this kind of desire? How many kids are out there who have been to our farms, helped with our chores and have developed a desire to want to raise livestock or plant crops and watch them grow? How many other kids are out there who have a passion for farming and may never get the chance?
We’ve discussed this before, but the dead of winter may be the best time to ask ourselves, if our kids want to come back to the family farm are we going to stand at the gate and chase them away to look for a more lucrative career or will we open the gate and let them in?
Looking down the road in the dairy industry there seems to be nothing but doom and gloom. Who in their right mind would encourage their children to come home to that? But who in their right mind would discourage a kid from doing what their passionate about? The passion for a career is what will fuel the learning process and will keep the determination on fire to be successful.
While there are millions of people around the world who are suffering from one thing or another, dairy farmers could teach “Suffering 101.” But remember, suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character and character results in hope and hope never disappoints us.
If there was ever a career that instills perseverance, character and hope into a person, it’s got to be farming. If our children venture down the farming road then these attributes will also be instilled in them, if they haven’t already been developed by simply being raised on a farm.
I’m not saying that if we want hope, character and perseverance then we need to be a farmer, but I am saying that farming is more than high debt loads, broken equipment, rising inputs and volatile income.
It’s a desire that is infused into some people. It’s a way of life that some will never want to leave. It’s passion that will never wither. It’s a responsibility that we have to take seriously. It’s a privilege that we shouldn’t take for granted. And on a day like today, it’s a testing ground that will use up every bit of grit, determination, tenacity and strength in a man. But it’s also a place where we can be renewed, refreshed and recommitted by the smell of boiling sap, the crunch of a fresh sugar beet or the unique smell of manure.