Christian. BoyMom. Farmer's Wife. Marathon Runner. Ag Professional. Bourbon Lover.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Advocate for all things agriculture and rural.
Tunis Sheep Hampshires heed
6/24/2019 119 Comments
Hey Farmer: You are not the farm
I need you to hear something right now. I need you to hear this loud and clear - I’m so sorry for everything this year has thrown at you. I’m so sorry for all the things you cannot control that put so much weight on you. But hear me - YOU are not defined by this year’s crop. Or this year’s income. Or this year’s “success”.
You are not the farm. You are more than the farm.
I saw you leave again this morning, smiling, but still carrying the stress. I know the first thing you did was drive down by the creek to see how much the water has receded. After you do chores in flooded pastures, you’ll sit with your Dad to try and figure out what fields might dry out the fastest and what, if anything, can be done while you wait.
You’ll run the numbers another time or two, to see if it all makes sense. You’ll run through the calendar a few more times, to count down how many days you have left to get caught up on work. We both know you’re never going to be caught up.
You’re standing there, facing wet fields and a crop that may not generate enough income to cover its own expenses, hay fields that can’t be cut, and calves that don’t quit eating just because it’s wet. In your head, you’re hearing the clock - tick, tick, tick - counting down the hours you’ve got to do the work you’re so far behind on.
I know, that even though you keep smiling and laughing, the stress is getting heavier each day. I see it in your eyes. I feel it in the way you toss and turn all night.
So I need you to hear me again - YOU ARE NOT THE FARM.
You are a man who works harder than anyone I know. You are a man who is honest to a fault. You are a man who always finds new ways, better ways. You are a man who can keep the big picture in mind while maintaining laser focus on the details. You are a man who quietly, and humbly, prays for God to help you on the tasks he’s laid before you.
You’re a husband. A father. A son. A brother and an uncle. You are a farmer, a damn good one too, but you are not defined by the farm.
Your family and friends - we love you, regardless of your corn yield or planted acres or the price you sell your calves for.
We will get through this year - one, rainy, wet day at a time. Together, with the strength and guidance of God, we will get through this.
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12/27/2018 4 Comments
But how was Christmas, really?
How was your Christmas?
It was amazing. It was wonderful. We are so blessed, beyond what we deserved. My heart is full. Or at least, that’s what I am supposed to say. And I take my role seriously, so of course, that's what I say.
But how was Christmas, really?
It was exhausting.
Since the turkey from Thanksgiving cooled, I’ve been in my excel spreadsheets making lists. Making budgets. Checking them all twice. And twice more.
I’ve been browsing, ordering and sending back. I’ve been answering the never-ending requests of, “Do you have any ideas for...”
I’ve been cussing at missed deadlines for the custom things and praying for delivery of the late-things.
I’ve been cooking. And baking. And shopping. And searching. And wrapping.
No really, tell us how Christmas was.
It was a little disappointing. The reactions to those “perfect” gifts I found was nonchalant.
The dip I found on Pinterest that promised to make this the #BestChristmasEver was just OK.
The Christmas trip I planned for weeks that was sure to make this the most unforgettable Christmas ever? At times it felt more like a visit to an overcrowded nuthouse run by small children.
And then, on December 25, it was all over by 8:00 a.m. and left me in desperate need of a nap.
As a mom, I wanted everyone’s Christmas to be perfect. I wanted everyone to get just what they had hoped for. I wanted the meals to be amazing, the games to be fun, the company to be perfect.
Because, growing up, that’s how Christmas always felt to me – it felt perfect.
So the day after, when my oldest woke up and said, “Yesterday was the best Christmas ever,” I was confused.
When I quizzed him about it, he replayed Christmas from his eyes. “Mommy, remember the water slide I went down with Daddy and I wasn’t even scared? And then remember at church I got to sit with baby Beau? And when our friends were here and Papa won that game and it was so funny? And we both got new boots which was exactly what we told Santa we needed! And we played games all day and even Daddy got to stay home with us?”
My youngest, also wanting in on the recap added, “And it was Jesus’ birthday. And we had fun for Jesus’ birthday. And we watched that movie when Aunt Bethany says the pledge instead of praying!”
Their little voices carried on over breakfast, remembering all the fun they had over the last few days. In their eyes, maybe it was perfect.
Even though, we didn’t get the family picture. Even if they opened gifts in their underwear instead of Christmas pajamas. In spite of the fact the jeans I picked out myself, as a gift from my family, still somehow didn't fit.
I know in my heart, that Christmas is perfect with or without my help. Because Christmas is the celebration of Jesus coming here, to save me. And you, when none of us will ever be good enough to deserve saving.
Even knowing that truth, part of me, the mom part, still wants the experience of Christmas to be unforgettable. To be perfect. Like it was when I was a kid.
But maybe now, looking back, I can see that behind those perfect Christmases, there just might have been an exhausted Mom, in desperate need of a nap.
Someone shared with me an article published by PETA, “Seven reasons kids should never hunt”. Last year, I wrote about my mixed emotions sending our oldest out hunting his first deer season.
Even while the number of hunters continues to decline, I was confident this year that the deer stand was exactly where he needed to be. Here’s why:
We are blessed to have the opportunity and resources to allow our sons to spend time hunting in a safe, responsible way. To those who argue that children shouldn't hunt, I hear you, but you're wrong.
This morning was a good morning. To my knowledge during church, only one crayon went flying from one child to the other and I only raised my voice twice.
We haven't graduated to the point where someone might say, "You boys were so quiet I didn't even know you were there!" But we are making progress.
It hasn't been all that long ago that my husband and I had to pump each other up for Sunday morning church - like soldiers preparing for battle.
Week after week we would rush into church, always late, settling into our pew, hoping shirts were on right, we had remembered all of our shoes, and hair and faces were in order.
It would always start out OK. They usually made it through the children's sermon relatively unnoticed. The music over the next few minutes would usually drowned out all the ruckus coming from our offspring.
But then... the sermon would begin.
Our time had run out.
We braced. It was game time. Us versus them. Civility versus complete chaos.
We were up against twenty solid minutes of only one man's voice. It wasn't even close to enough to cover the screams, untimely laughs, occasional harsh words and tears that would be coming from our children.
On bad weeks we would drag them out of the sanctuary. On good weeks we might make it through the sermon but our neighbors probably wished we had drug them out.
For what seemed like ages this went on. Each week I left feeling defeated, often wondering if it was worth it. I wasn't hearing the message, they certainly weren't, and because of us half the church wasn't either.
At some point, it stated getting better. I've found more weeks than not that I am actually hearing the message. And recently, I noticed our oldest proudly and easily joining us all in the Lord's Prayer while he colored. He was actually taking something in.
With light at the end of this tunnel, I suddenly have time to be grateful. Not one time in the last years has any of our church family said anything hurtful about the boys' behavior.
No one told us to stop coming. No one told us we were bad parents.
One time, in response to the frustration showing through my face, my pastor told me that if he couldn't preach over the noise of the children than he shouldn't be preaching at all.
On one particularly bad day, I remember a man kindly winking at me while I marched an unruly child to the back of the church. He was reaching out, saying "It's OK. This too shall pass." That meant so much to me. I never told him that.
I am so grateful for that kindness shown. I am so thankful our church gave us time to get where we are, without judgement. Even if it took our boys longer than most.
"But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." Matthew 19:14
To any parent out there, dealing with those same Sunday struggles, I want you to know it is worth it. And remember, this too shall pass.
And to anyone else having their Sunday worship interrupted by a child behaving like a rabbid raccoon, know you're doing the right thing by biting your tongue. Or better yet, giving a kind smile or joyful wink.
That mother and father are working on it. But they need your kindness or they may lose the battle.
Even though we've gotten better, we still aren't perfect. I imagine for quite some time I'll continue praying with one eye opened and continue being grateful for the kindness and forgiveness of those around us.
11/2/2017 14 Comments
Shortly after our oldest was born, I started reading everything the search engine returned about how to feed children the “right way”. It would be a few more years before I realized this is almost never a good idea.
From the first article on, an overwhelming weight was being pushed onto my shoulders. The weight of fear, fear of our food.
Everywhere I looked, I was being told our food was scary. It wasn't like it "used to be". It wasn't "natural". It wasn't "simple" or "clean".
His runny nose, my extra baby weight, his occasional rashes, my cough, our inability to sleep well, the mysterious missing other sock - all clearly stemmed from consuming this new "Franken-food".
I was being told this, being sold this, by food manufactures and restaurants and bloggers and even other moms. I was being told I had to pay more, be more selective, and demand more. I had to "know my farmer" and “buy local” or else...
And I was ready to do all of that and more. This was my child's health after all and I am his mother! And no one knows better than his mother.
I also remember my first dose of reality. I was quizzing my farmer husband about GMOs, while eating sweet corn from our own field. He didn't laugh or put me off, but answered as best he could. He did smile a little at some of the crazier things I had bought into, but never laughed.
Over the next few months, and continuing today, I started learning about our very own industry - modern agriculture – from a new perspective. The perspective of a mom.
I spent more time on the farm; I spent more time with other farm families. I spent time with the scientists and researchers who develop our technology, with people who test it, with the people who actually use it. I spent time with our consumers, talking to them about our industry and hearing their own concerns. I spent time with other moms, who also happened to be well educated on farming and food.
I spent time learning about where we had been, and where we are now. I learned that both eras in agriculture - yesteryear and modern times – are represented with inaccurate, incomplete stories often told to evoke emotion instead of truth.
Soon, I realized - we are those farmers.
We are those farmers they want you to fear. We are those farmers who raise GMOs. We are those farmers who use chemicals. We are those big farmers. We are those farmers who raise that grocery store food.
We are the farmers who use GMOs.
We use them by choice. We use them because they help us fight drought, erosion, pests and fungus. They help us leave a smaller footprint and be more responsible stewards of our land. We are also the family that proudly buys and consumes products grown with GMO ingredients because we understand what they are, how they help, and the science that has proven them safe for over 20 years.
We are the farmers who use chemicals.
We use chemicals carefully and in the correct amounts. We do not “soak” your food in chemicals. We use chemicals to manage risk and our environment and to provide you a safe, reliable food source. We often rely on modern chemicals that have been developed to be more effective and less toxic that chemicals used decades ago.
But we are also the farmers who use GMO's and other technology to reduce our chemical use as much possible. Not because the chemicals we use aren't safe, but because they are expensive and require extra trips across the fields.
We are those big farmers.
From the outside looking in, people often look at us as large farmers. Surveys have indicated the average American defines a “large farmer” as anyone farming more than 100 acres. We are 20 times that.
Other farm families would consider our farm size average or standard. We farm more acres and have more animals because we needed to grow to support another family returning to the farm. We farm more acres because we have equipment and technology that allows us to. We farm more acres and have more animals because we actually love farming!
We are those farmers that raise grocery store food.
We aren't "local" to hardly anyone, with the exception of a handful of folks in Linn County, Missouri. Our calves and lambs end up on your grocery store shelves, without any labels to distinguish it as "better" or "safer". Our corn and soy end up feeding animals across this country and in food products that end up on your store shelves, again, without any distinguishing labels.
We are those farmers. The farmers you hear about on TV and social media. We are those farmers you read about on fast food bags and internet blogs. We are those farmers, but that is NOT our story. We are those farmers, but we are not scary, and neither is the food we are raising!
"Tell your story!" Anyone in the agriculture industry has been hearing it! It is important and I'm the first to boast how much I love to tell my story.
But, if I am honest, I'm usually telling my husband's story. He's the farmer.
Well not this year! Matt is sliding over into the buddy seat and turning me loose on my very own 60 acres! And I'm taking you along for the ride by detailing the entire process of raising corn right here, all season long!
When it comes to land, farmers generally talk in acres. One acre is 43,560 square feet - roughly the size of a football field.
The first step for any crop farmer is the most obvious (and most expensive) one - find some land.
Generally there are two options available for a farmer to obtain land - buy it or rent it.
On a side note- some farmers are given land, most families cannot simply turn over acres to the next generation that wants to come back. That would essentially be taking one family's income and cutting it in half. Generally, when a child comes back to the farm, the farm has to grow - a prime example of why "large farms" do not equal bad farms.
Buying land can be very challenging. Matt farmed for 7 years before we were actually able to buy any land. Land has to be for sale in an area that makes sense for the farmer, it has to be the right type of land for what the farmer wants to use it for, and the farmer has to be able to afford to purchase the land.
For years we kept an eye out for farms that might be for sale in our area. Several times we looked at farms that were either too far away, not the right type of soil for growing crops, or we simply could not afford them.
Just when Matt had all but given up, a couple we rented land from decided to give us the opportunity to buy the farm Matt had his eye on for as long as he could remember!
Owning a farm, instead of renting, is a financial game changer for a young farm family in the same way that owning a home, over renting, is for the average American family!
This farm was in the exact right location, with the mixture of crop and pasture land that matched our family's needs.
Additionally, the sellers were willing to wait on us to obtain funding from the USDA's beginning farmer loan program - which can be a long process. In a market where they could have contacted an investor and had their money in a few weeks, this was unbelievably gracious, a blessing we will never forget.
Traditional farm loans usually require a 30% down payment, at adjustable interest rates higher than a typical home loan. Also unlike home loans, most farm loans are made on 20 year instead of 30 year terms.
The USDA's young and beginning farmer program allowed us to be qualified for a 30 year farm loan - partially from a private bank and partially from the USDA - with only 5% down.
When it comes to a first farm purchase, many young farmers would never have a chance if it wasn't for these programs, funded through the farm bill. Matt and I were no different.
My sixty acres is part of the farm that Matt and I own. So although we do not pay rent, we do have a loan on the farm, which means there is a payment that still has to be made - from crops and calves we raise each year. That payment will be made not only from income off this farm, but from income from the farms Matt rents as well.
Renting land comes in many different forms. Farmers need to find land in the area, that is available for rent, and that can grow the crops they want to grow.
Rent contracts have gotten more creative and unique over the last few decades but most agreements take on one of two general forms - crop shares or cash rents.
Crop shares - or share cropping depending on your location- was the most popular way to rent ground for a long time. This form of rent allows the landowner and farmer to share in the risk, and the reward, of farming.
Many crop shares today are still on a standard 50/50 agreement where the landlord and farmer split the costs of putting in the crop, the land owner provides the land and the farmer the equipment and labor, and they then split whatever crop is raised off the farm half and half, or 50/50.
Another common crop share version is a different split such as an 80/20 or 70/30 share where the farmer covers all costs of the crop and pays the landowner the agreed upon share of the crop as rent.
In the last decades, the cash rent agreements have become more popular. Some of these contracts can become very complex with multiple payments, price averages, yield bonuses and more but the concept of cash renting is largely the same.
The farmer pays the agreed upon rent, sometimes in the fall, sometimes in the spring, and sometimes in two payments in fall and spring, and the farmer keeps 100% of the crop. The farmer takes on all of the risk and all of the reward with growing a crop.
Matt told me that he could probably rent my sixty acres for to another farmer for $100 an acre - so he would agree to rent it to me for $150! (By the time I harvest this crop he will be wishing he charged me more!)
Now that I have my 60 acres "rented", I have some major decisions to make on seed, fertilizers, crop insurance and more before it's time to plant.
“What do you do?” Sometimes I identify myself with a lengthy description of my career in Ag finance, but often I just leave it at, “We farm!”
I also find myself using “We farm” as an explanation as to why I am alone so often at gatherings. But the more people I talk to, the more I realize that not everyone knows what I mean when I say, “We farm”. So I am going to explain exactly what “farming” means to my family.
Our farm consists of our cows, our sheep, and our row crops. I will cover each of these over the next few posts, but will start with our cows.
One of my favorite parts of our farm is our cattle herd. We have what is commonly called a “Cow/Calf operation” – meaning we maintain a group of cows who will raise a baby calf each year, and then sell the baby at weaning time.
When Matt decided he wanted to come back to farm with his dad that meant he was going to have to find additional sources of income. For most farm families it simply isn’t feasible to take a farming operation that supported one family and suddenly expect the same income to support two families.
So for us, the decision was pretty easy to purchase cows! We both love livestock, we actually met at a sheep show! A cow is a fully mature female who has already had babies. We started with 20 older cows, which was considered a little safer investment because of their experience delivering and raising calves, or babies.
Once we became more experienced with our cows, we started adding heifers. A heifer is a young female who has never calved before. We like to purchase heifers because a younger animal can stay with us on our farm for a longer time and we will know more of her complete health history. But the risk is higher and labor greater, because heifers need more assistance in the beginning.
When we first started, we did not own any of our land so we had to rent the land our cows used. We have since been able to purchase a farm, but still have to rent some pasture to make sure we have enough for all of our cows.
The first step is to breed the cows and heifers. On our farm we live breed – meaning we use live bulls, or intact male cattle, that naturally breed the cows. Many farmers are taking advantage of other breeding methods like artificial insemination.
You might hear people refer to “spring calvers” and “fall calvers”. These terms describe the time of year the cow will have her baby. We actually have some of each, so we are typically having babies, or “calving”, in September and October and then again in February and March.
Our cows, like nearly all beef cattle in the United States, have their calves on pasture. They rarely need any help, but we do have to watch the heifers much more closely – remember heifers are the ones who have never had babies before. Usually after one or two calving seasons they have it figured out and will no longer need any help from us!
Once the calves are born, they graze and roam pastures right alongside their mamma for about 8 months. After the group reaches the point they no longer need milk as source of nutrition, they are ready to wean. Because we are a cow/calf operation, this is the time we sell our baby calves, who now weight about 550 pounds!
When our calves are ready, we sell them for the current market price. Prices fluctuate daily on cattle and it’s something we have no control over. Price changes is one of the greatest challenges for any farmer!
Our calves are purchased by other farm families that will “background” them. They will keep the calves, most often on pasture, until they reach 12-16 months of age. We typically separate our calves and sell the heifers (females) to a local farmer who will background them until they are ready to breed, and then sell them as bred heifers to other cow/calf farmers.
The steers (neutered males) then go onto yet another farm family who will finish them at a feedlot. A majority of feedlots are considered small feedlots, with 95% of them having less than 1000 head.
Regardless of size, the families that run feedlots are extremely dedicated to finishing out a high quality and safe product! Once the cattle reach market weight, they will be harvested with their beef sold in stores across the country.
Nearly all beef cattle in the US start on farms just like mine and spend a majority of their lives grazing pastures. The next time you purchase beef from the supermarket, know that you are supporting family farmers just like us!
The next time you purchase beef from the supermarket, know that you are supporting family farmers just like us!
"If you are in college or heading to college, but want to eventually head back home to a one stop light town, here are some career paths to look into."
In college, when it became obvious my now husband was going nowhere but back to the family farm, I became nervous about finding a career that I would love. His hometown was less than 5,000 people and not within commuting distance of any major city.
I loved him, and I loved the idea of farming. The thought of raising kids on a farm sounded perfect. But there were a few realities that bothered me.
First, I knew we couldn’t both stay on the farm. One of us was going to have to have reliable and steady income to cover our costs and start paying back student loans, not to mention the need for health insurance. .
Second, I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t have a stimulating career that pushed me mentally and forced me to develop as a professional. So, when I landed a job with the largest agriculture lender in the state I thought I felt like I had struck gold (I was right by the way, my job is still a pretty sweet deal!).
The more time I spent in the industry, the more I noticed that the demand is strong in many careers that can take you back home to rural America!
If you are in college or heading to college, but want to eventually head back home to a one stop light town, here are some career paths to look into.
1. Farm Appraiser: This is first for the obvious reason it’s the best career! (Or at least, it’s my career). Actually, there is a great demand for Farm Appraisers in rural America. The average age of Certified General Appraisers (the highest license available and a requirement if you want to appraise farm land), is reflective of the age of farmers – somewhere in the upper 50’s.
As a farm appraiser I spend most my time in the field looking at farms. I visit with farmers and provide services help them manage risk on their operations better. The analytical side of me loves the number crunching and data analysis I do each day. It’s a rewarding and well-paying job, for more information on this career path; visit the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
2. Farm Manager: Land ownership in our state is following trends seen in many states. We are getting more and more out of the area land owners (either through inheritance or purchase) and these land owners often know very little about agriculture. The demand for Farm Managers, someone to help guide owners in making sound management decisions for their farms, is growing in nearly every rural market.
Farm managers spend a great deal of time networking with farmers, land owners, buyers and sellers. They make arrangements for the operations of farms, they monitor progress and sometimes are even directly involved in farming properties! For information n this career path, also visit the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
3. Crop Insurance Agent: With more volatile markets and rising input costs, most farmers have to take advantage of any risk management tools they can. A huge one in crop areas is crop insurance.
Insurance agents work with farmers to help guide them through insurance policies, finding which options are best for their farms. They assist them with making claims and other aspects of insurance. For information on this career path, visit National Crop Insurance Services.
4. Crop Insurance Adjuster: Of course with all the crop insurance policies come crop insurance claims. Adjusters work with the agents and farmers to measure any loss that farmers have.
Adjusters spend a lot of time in the field working directly with farmers, mostly on their farms. For information on becoming a crop adjuster, visit the websites of Crop Insurance companies such as Rain and Hail.
5. Land Surveyor: There is a huge need for land surveyors in rural America and that need is anticipated to keep growing! The average age, much like that of appraisers, is estimated at 57..
Land Surveyor’s work with farmers, government institutions, financial institutions, attorney’s and more. They are skilled professionals that spend time in the field and also get to utilize technology. For more information on this career path, please visit All About Surveying!
What other careers are available in your piece of rural America?
We are finally getting around to hanging some of my new palette shelves above the staircase, which is a space I have designated for our stock show photos and hardware!
I started to unpack some of the NAILE cups and needed a quick way to clean them up and I found it!
Grab a soft rag and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Squirt a few drops of sanitizer onto the rag and polish into your silver to give it a "fresh from the shavings" shine!
How do you clean your silver?
7/21/2015 4 Comments
He is not "just a farmer"
The boys and I made the trip back home to northern Illinois over the weekend, without my husband who was in the fields still, and someone asked, “Does your husband just farm?”.
I understood the question. The person asking was wondering if that was his full time job or if he had another job. And the person asking was certainly not meaning any offense by the question. But it had me thinking for many of the miles home.
My husband, like any farmer, is not “just” a farmer. He is a well-educated, smart man. And this is not unique to my husband. Most all the successful farmers I know are ridiculously smart. In no way are these people “just” farmers. So here is a list of just some of the roles farmers play every day.
·Laborers: Much of their day is spent doing physical labor. Before I sat down at my desk this morning my husband had physically hauled feed to several hundred animals and picked about 30 dozen ears of sweet corn. A few months ago we participated in a Fitbit challenge and I was blown away when my husband consistently out-stepped me (the runner!).
One day I had an EIGHTEEN mile run. I got up at 4am and purposely ran around town in circles for 18 miles. He out-stepped me that day (they were building fence) by 100 steps. I cried.
·Scientists: They are constantly gathering and analyzing data, testing soils and plants, analyzing those tests to make informed decisions about what the next move will be. This year for instance, my husband has had to monitor the rain fall on each of his fields to try and gage how the nutrient content, soil health and plants will be affected from the large amounts of moisture we have had and determine if there is anything they can do to help their plants.
If you doubt the intelligence of a farmer, check out this guide from North Carolina Department of Ag that is supposed to help a person read a soil test.
·Weathermen: The farmer does not rely on the local news channel for his forecast. Instead, he gets out his smart phone and looks at a dozen different websites, analyzes the radar maps, and makes his best determinations about when to plant, when to mow hay, and when to hold off. These decisions can be the difference between making a profit or not.
People married to farmers do not check the weather either – we simply call our farmer (who is probably more accurate)!
·Chemists: Many farmers have their chemical applicators licenses and are required to study and understand the chemicals they are using. Watching my husband prepare his sprayer is like watching a chemist at work in a lab. He is intimately familiar with the chemicals he is using, their purpose, risks and hazards, and the exact measurements and mixtures he needs to be safe and effective!
·Veterinarians: Livestock farmers simply cannot rely on their local veterinarian all the time. They have to know about medications, dosages, and wound care. It’s not uncommon during calving or lambing season for my husband to have to deliver babies, treat mamma for something and treat babies for something in the middle of the night when no one else is available.
·Buyers: The options available to farmers for seed, chemical, fertilizers, loan products, equipment and more are endless. They have to spend time sorting through all of the data and reviews to make the best decisions for their operations. Unlike popular internet myth, Monsanto does not make a single one of these decisions for the farmer and Monsanto is only one of many choices they have.
·Marketers: Farmers have to market their own grain, hopefully at the right times. They have to make the final determination about what to sell and when. Again, these decisions can mean the difference between being able to make the farm payment or not.
·Lobbyists: Farmers now make up less than 1% of the population. This means each year politicians care less and less about how their legislation affects farmers. Several times a year my husband puts on his suit and tie and heads to our state capital to meet with lawmakers and tell his side of the story.
·Heavy Equipment Operators: So this is probably a given. Most people think of farmers driving their HUGE tractors in the fields. But farmers also have to navigate those giant pieces of equipment down city streets and highways, safely! This is a huge challenge for them during planting and harvest and one of the most stressful things about their job. So always remember to SLOW DOWN when you see farm equipment on the road!
·Mechanics: Farm equipment breaks down. It breaks down in fields that are miles and miles from anywhere. And most farmers can fix most anything and have to, often times in a hurry.
·Men of God: They know there is only a portion of their job they can control and huge portion they cannot. They cannot control the weather, disease, pests, prices and more. So they look up and ask the Good Lord to give them the tools they need to make it another year doing what they love.
Whatever farmers do they always do it well!
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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