If you've driven through the countryside in the last month you've probably run in to a tractor either plowing, fertilizing or planting. I know I was recently observing a tractor in the field caught a whiff of the natural fertilizer being injected. As I took a deep breath, I thought a little bit about the life of the farmer and what they do on a daily basis to grow crops or raise animals to provide for their community and also their families. Many of us know with commodity prices being low, being a farmer in recent years has not been easy. Yet, many of them will tell you it is a fulfilling life and they feel a purpose in what they do. Farming is an important part of our community, our economy and our area history. I am thankful to know many great farmers and farm families. I am even more thankful for the work they do for all of us on a daily basis. Paul Harvey wrote his 'So God Made a Farmer' Speech and it's a great message. I urge you to google it and read or listen to his message.
In this blog I want to touch on some things we can learn from any farmer.
1) Having a Plan makes the work easier - very few successful farmers go in to the season without a fairly well laid out plan. Taking the time to write things down, understand your resources, labeling tasks, creating short term hurdles and a timeline can help the mundane tasks become easier to do and more fulfilling.
2) Believe - the farmer has a vision of what his land will look like in the fall. It starts with a plan, preparing the land, planting the seed and controlling the things he can (and praying for those he can't) Whatever your goal is, you have to believe and have an internal drive to control the things you can to help fulfill that vision.
3) Nothing worth having in life comes easy - relationships take work, schooling takes work, living takes work, parenting takes work, being parented takes work (at least my kids seem to think so), farming and working takes work, playing takes work (how many times have you needed a vacation after a vacation?). Having good things in life takes work of many different forms. Identify the things you want to work for (step 1) and spend your time and energy doing the things you need to do to accomplish those things.
4) The school of life can be educational- School is not just about having a diploma. The school of hard knocks is a real thing and self education is important. Many successful people and farmers didn't stop schooling when they received their last diploma. They continued to strive to learn more about those things that were important to them. If we want to be good at something read a book, take a class or find a mentor. Think about how the farming profession has evolved over the past 40 years; managing futures, seed genetics, inputs, machinery technology, among many other things. Keep pushing your knowledge and get better at all you do.
5) Be loyal, give back and be good neighbor- a good farmer replenishes and takes care of the land with fertilizers, a good crop rotation and many other ways. Farmers work with their neighbors in a friendly way to swap equipment or time to make ends meet for their small family farms. Many farmers mentor a son or younger relative to learn their trade and carry on their legacy. Find a co-worker or another someone to mentor or a charity to forward the causes that are important to you.
Obviously, this is just the tip of the iceberg on what we can learn from a great profession. We hope that you enjoyed the read and take some time this week to thank a farmer.
Enjoy the day!
Keith, Jared and Tammy