By: Leanna Gubbels
Waking up on Monday after a fun weekend just to go to class or back to the office is not ideally how many would like to spend his or her time, especially when you might still be in the weekend mood. There are those few people, however that can’t wait to get up when that alarm sounds and run off to work where they can lose themselves in busy-ness and completely enjoy every minute of it. This may be you occasionally, as long as it wasn’t your turn for that dreaded weekend or holiday shift, or you happened to cover a night shift that you normally don’t work. Unlike most jobs, (contrary to popular belief), farming is not a simple 9-5 job. You can’t tell your cows not to calve tomorrow morning between 10 and noon because you will be at Church and then want to visit the in-laws. The rain isn’t going to hold off for you to get those last three rounds across the field done because you had a late start since your kids were sick this morning, and you had to tend to them first.
It takes a special kind of person who is hard enough to take on the storms (literally)-rain, sleet, hail, snow- just to find that one animal who was too scared and confused to find its way back to the barn with the rest; who is kind and patient enough to spend the whole night out with a nervous mare who is in labor with her first foal, just to be up with the sun to feed the rest of the animals before spending the day planting in the field. To spend all his money on seed, repairs, fertilizers, feed, and fencing and then caring for the crops and animals as he prays that the rains will come and sicknesses won’t strike so that he can earn back the money in the fall to provide for his family.
Farming isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Kids that grow up with this privilege already know how valuable and satisfying hard-work can be because they have lived it. As soon as they are old enough to tag-along after Mom and Dad just to “help out,” they learn the hard way what happens when you don’t follow through with your assigned chores or forget to close the door on the henhouse. They also know firsthand the miracle of a new life as little piglets scramble around their mother, and the sad reality of death as you hold their hand as they say goodbye to their favorite dog and best friend.
Contrary to what society may cause you to believe, farming is not primarily run by huge corporations and factories that put animals in cages, cram them full of drugs instead of real food, and then bask in the money that they earn at the animals’ expense. If you are unhappy, you aren’t healthy, so why would animals be any different? Animals need care, just as you and I do, and farmers know this first hand which is why they do everything in their power to put the needs of the animals (or even the fields) above their own. It takes a special kind of person with a selfless drive to be able to live such a lifestyle without paid vacations, company vacations and benefits, or even sick days. The benefits you obtain by living this way are far greater than any a corporation could give and that is the Passion of a Farmer.
**Send prayers out to all those fellow farmers and ranchers that have been struck by the late storms in Wayne, NE, and Colorado and the early snows in South Dakota for their families to be resilient and be able to overcome these tragedies**