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Day 141: The Family Farmer

Yesterday I took a 400-mile round-trip tour of eastern North Dakota. Half of my trip was spent alone, which is food for the soul for a melancholic/ISTJ! I brought along a few old friends, CDs from the "rarely spun" category, to keep me company.

As I drove north on 281, then east on Highway 2, I noticed what seemed like a thousand farmsteads. I saw plenty of tractors working, people cleaning and moving equipment, and of course endless fields. I got to thinking about the memes I see online about how hard-working and under-appreciated certain people are, namely teachers and nurses. For the record, I don't disagree. Neither of those occupations are something I could do even adequately. However, rarely do I see anyone sharing about the family farmer, the heart and soul of our state and greater Midwest. The music, which was from the '90s, added to my nostalgic and sentimental feelings.

I realize I'm biased because I descend from a long line of farmers, and my brother and dad continue the tradition. I see plenty online about GMOs, vegan diets, and uninteresting celebrity "news,"  but not many stories of the hardworking farm families scattered across our area.

I think of them working long into the nights, anticipating poor weather to come. I think of them coming together to help their neighbors, rather than seeing them as competitors. I see wives working alongside husbands, tending to the family's needs and often working another job as well (probably for health insurance).

Farming and ranching are not for the faint of heart. Any old rube could not succeed in agriculture today. Farmers wage bets against the weather and the prices, constantly working a puzzle with an infinite number of pieces. They want to succeed, and are driven to do so by a passion, without which they would likely fail. I imagine any form of self-employment saddles entrepreneurs with endless worries and stresses. No sick days allowed! So many decisions! Farmers need to be savvy in business and willing to shoulder huge risks.

My intention for putting together these few thoughts was simply to share my gratitude for being raised by a hardworking farmer, and for all of the farmers and ranchers who have directly or indirectly improved my quality of life. I realize there are so many people who work hard and are responsible for how great I have it and today the hardworking farmer tops my gratitude list. If you know of one, shake their hand and buy them a cup of coffee or a cold beer. They probably need it.

Comments

  1. All the heart emojis!!! I wasn't raised in a farming family, per-say, but consider myself to be of the mindset of a decedent of a family farmer. My dad's business catered to the family farmer and because of that, he put in the long hours and felt a lot of their stress. Observing my mom prepare a completely separate meal for my dad, and later my brother, when they got home late in the summer months - after she'd worked all day, and took care of the house, the yard, and the children - I often wondered why she wouldn't just give them leftovers from our dinner? As I grew older, I realized, it was because she appreciated them and thought, at very least, they deserved a fresh, hot meal at the end of a very long work day!

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