Hi everyone – Annie here! As most of you know, I live out in rural Kansas. I drive past fields and horses and cows everyday. I have chickens and roosters and ducks. Country life is my heart, my passion, my home. I am not a farmer, but many of my closest friends are. I wanted to share a post from someone I met at AgChat last year. (AgChat is a social media conference for agriculture professionals). She shares from her heart, her point of view, why she loves farming. She married into it, she chose this life. And now you get to hear why!
Nearly five years ago I met my farmer. I was a city girl with no real understanding of farming and the agriculture industry. In fact, my husband spent our first date explaining why he had to deliver the bulls to the cows. Let’s just say it was the bovine version of the birds and the bees. But as my relationship with my farmer progressed, so did my love – and understating – of farming.
It’s more than the crops and cattle, it’s the people, the work and the ability to produce food for the world that makes me so passionate about all things farming. Here are the top five reasons I fell in love with farming:
1. The Farmer. My farmer is one of the hardest working people I know. During the cold months of calving season, my husband spends countless hours checking mother cows, caring for newborn calves and watching over his herd, ensuring their health, safety and well-being. During the warm months, he logs countless hours in the tractor, working ground, planting seeds and harvesting the crops. My farmer and all farmers work 356 days a year to provide for our family and feed the world.
2. The Ability To Feed The World. It never ceases to amaze me that less than 2 percent of our nation’s population feeds the remaining 98 percent. And they do it with dwindling farming acres and a greater concentration on conservation and preservation of resources. Farmers are the original environmentalists and work daily to leave the land in better condition than it was found.
3. Family. Nearly all of the state and nation’s farms are still owned and operated by families – like yours and mine. The farms may be large – cover thousands of acres and play home to hundreds of animals – but they are still managed by fathers, mothers, husbands, sons and in-laws. And it’s not just the family ownership structure that makes farming so unique; it’s the fact that many of the families that work together also play together. Multiple generations of farm families often live only miles from one another, many times occupying homes of past generations. That means families can – and often do – spend evenings, weekends and holidays together. As a mother to a four-month-old little boy, I have learned to truly appreciate having my family only minutes – and miles – away. We celebrate birthdays, holiday and life together.
4. Rural America. Like most teens, I dreamed of attending college then moving onto the big city to begin my career and strike it big. But contrary to my plan, I ended up back in my hometown – population 14,000 – and now, at age 30, wouldn’t have it any other way. My town is not small compared to many communities farmers call home but it doesn’t have a Target, shopping mall or Starbucks – and never will. The millions of small towns that make up rural America are the backbone of our country and some of the greatest places to call home. People know you by name, complete deals with a handshake and go out of their way to help their friends and neighbors. Rural America may not have the lights, the shops and the dazzle of New York City but it has all the charm and character you could ever ask for.
5. The Cows. I enjoy a ride in the tractor but there is nothing like driving through a pasture of cows that makes you appreciate farming. My husband raises certified Angus cattle and every summer we make multiple trips to the Kansas Flint Hills to check the mother and baby calves and enjoy the fruits of my husband’s time and labor. Raising cattle requires time, dedication and an understanding of the animal and its needs. My husband puts hundreds of hours of labor into each animal and works everyday to ensure their health and well-being. I love seeing happy, healthy cattle grazing on green pastures each summer and watch new calves enter the world each winter.
About Katie: Katie and her husband, Derek, farm and raise cattle outside McPherson, Kan. Katie works full-time off the farm but blogs about her life on the farm at www.newtothefarm.wordpress.com. She is a member of Kansas CommonGround and advocates on behalf of her farm and the entire agriculture industry.