By: Kristin Witte
Farm kids, we come from small towns where we made our own fun, knew everyone we graduated with, and didn’t have to worry about stop lights. I have always been called a farm kid and never really thought about everything that I learned while growing up on the farm. The first time I heard someone comment that they love working with farm kids I was surprised. What made us different from kids who grew up in town? After observing others and thinking about this comment I have come to see that what I learned on the farm really has helped me become a desirable employee and a well-rounded person.
- Responsibility: It didn’t matter if I was tired, sick or just plain didn’t want to do it. I always had to take care of my livestock. I knew there were no excuses for not feeding and watering my animals, if I didn’t want to care for them not only would my parents be upset but my animals would suffer. To this day if I am in charge of taking care of something I take care of it, no excuse.
- Strong Work Ethic: Getting up at six in the morning to load hogs was never fun or my idea of a perfect morning. But, my Dad expected my sisters and me to help even if we had stayed up late the night before. Once the hogs were loaded we weren’t done for the day. Often times we would go eat breakfast and then head back outside to do chores. My least favorite part of hog loading days was helping clean up the barn. This job was smelly, usually hot and not glamorous but it still had to be done and no amount of whining was going to get me out of it. I learned to suck it up and do my best to complete the task at hand.
- Connectedness: In small towns, everyone knows everyone and can typically list at least a handful of relatives that the person is related to. This is an example of connectedness; Agriculture, just like small towns is very connected. It doesn’t matter if you are a grain farmer, a hog or cattle producer you still rely on each other to be successful. Hog and cattle producers can’t raise livestock without grain to use for feed. Grain producers wouldn’t have such a demand for their crops if livestock producers didn’t need feed.
- Where my food comes from: Many consumers these days have no idea where their food comes from. They don’t know anything beyond the fact that they purchase food at the grocery store. I used to take my knowledge of how our food is produced for granted. I am now thankful for my understanding of production agriculture. While others may believe all the horror stories they hear about mistreated livestock, I know the truth: that producers care for their livestock to make sure they are comfortable and healthy.
Growing up in agriculture definitely made for some great memories and laughs. I am just now starting to understand how much of what I learned on the farm can be used in my everyday life. People have already recognized that as a farm kid I understand responsibility and hard work. Now I am realizing how important it is to comprehend and share the idea of connectedness of agriculture and share where food comes from.