To change things up a little bit, today I host a guest post from a graduate student, dairy farm kid, and agriculture advocate from Minnesota. Farming and ranching in general, require much patience, passion, and hard work. Once ya grow up on a farm, it’s impossible to leave those experiences behind. Even though so many Americans leave the farm today for other careers, Elizabeth shows how we can all stay involved and carry a little bit of that with us for the rest of our lives. Thanks for the contribution Elizabeth!
Last weekend I visited home, my family dairy farm. I asked my dad to wake me up in the morning for chores (I’m not a morning person!), but I found myself not wanting to get out of bed when he did. I had just worked five full days and in my head, Saturday was my day off. But not on a dairy farm. My family doesn’t have the privilege of taking days off.
No matter what day of the week it is, the cows need to be milked once in the morning and once at night. All of the animals require fresh feed and water. A new calf might be born. And the list goes on. But don’t take this as me whining. On my family farm, we take pride in doing these tasks each day. The animals outside are an extension of our family. You could compare it to growing a large garden or being a collector. There is an excitement that comes with steps in the process. “Oh, look! The first cucumbers have come in!” or “I’ve reached my goal of collecting 20 of this item.” This principle extends to farming. We look forward to new calves being born. We love watching them grow and mature into adults eventually producing their own offspring. It is a constant challenge of how can I improve? How can I improve my herd’s genetics and the care I give them? But the enthusiasm and thrill of developing a herd takes on an additional level of importance when you go to bed each night knowing these cows are your livelihood. On our family farm we take great care of our animals and land not just because its fun and we take pride in it, but also because we depend on them to provide for our family.
In my current position as a graduate student, I don’t get the opportunity to enjoy these small, but important moments in the life of a dairy farmer—at least not very often. So when I am home, I love to hear my father explain the latest news on the farm whether it be the daughter of a heifer I exhibited at the fair as a child is now an adult or that the corn prices have changed. Even though I’ve chosen to leave the farm and explore another career, I want to keep up with happenings in dairy and agriculture. You see growing up on a farm gives you something special. For me it’s a passion for dairy. If you asked me, I could talk all day about dairy: why its good for you, stories from growing up, my experiences exhibiting cattle, my time as a dairy princess, and the basics of running a dairy farm. It is in these stories that I realize I will never leave my farm or my cows. I will always be an agriculture advocate because I know how much work and passion goes into producing the quality food products our farmers produce each day.
So in writing this post, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my parents, to my grandparents, great grandparents and further back who each made the choice to be farmers. You helped make me who I am today.
To each and every farmer who puts in long days so that we in America can be blessed with access to safe, healthy food on a regular basis, Thank you.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Elizabeth on Twitter (@elizabethkern10)
Elizabeth is a Communication Studies graduate student at Minnesota State University Mankato. She will graduate with her Master of Arts in May and will be seeking a career in marketing or public relations with a ultimate goal of promoting agriculture.