Farming and ranching is hard work - absolutely no questions about it. It is a career that many clock into as a kid and don’t clock out of until they’re pushing up daisies.
Farming and ranching can be inconsistent and unpredictable with unreliable weather and fluctuating markets. It is strenuous manual labor, long hours, and often times uncomfortable. There are no days off and overtime is a laughable concept. Some days, manure happens.
With all of this being so, why on EARTH would any person dedicate their life to such a thing?
It is not for the fainthearted and Lord knows it is not for everyone. But let me tell you a secret… farmers and ranchers do what they do because they love it. Agriculture is a labor of love, driven not by greed but by PASSION.
No, it is not all rainbows and butterflies, but beyond the blood, sweat, and tears that come with the job description there are plenty of feel-good “warm and fuzzies” of farming.
Allow me to share a handful.
2. Fresh Food
You know how your mom’s home cooking somehow is always the best? Well, home grown/raised anything is kind of that way too. Maybe it’s the freshness that makes it taste so good, or maybe it’s just your mind telling you it tastes better because it was your hands and hard work that grew it. Either way, it’s delightful.
3. S p a c e
*cue the Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces"*
Imagine a world where your neighbors are fields away instead of feet away, a place where the sound of tires on gravel takes place of doorbells and the only thing obstructing your views are the views themselves. While other people have to take vacations to get peace and quite, farmers and ranchers live it every day. Morning strolls consist of rolling hills, open fields, and fresh air rather than stop lights and sirens. If you grew up on a farm or ranch, it's likely that moving to a town or city would be a bit of an adjustment. While the convenience of walking to the grocery store is nice, the serenity that comes from rural living is good for the soul.
If your neighbors aren’t already your relatives, it is likely that they are close enough to feel like family. All it takes is a quick phone call to someone down the road if you get stuck in the mud, need a cup of sugar, or just need an extra person to play cards. As a farmer or rancher, you are adopted into a community and family that extends far beyond your front door. Even though they may not always see eye to eye, they always have each other’s backs.
About 97% of U.S. farms and ranches are family owned, many of which have been in the family for generations. Agriculture is a profession, a lifestyle, and for many it is also a tradition. There is something special about flipping through old black and white photos listening to your grandparents talk about "good ol' days" on the homestead, or maybe watching as the little ones ride a horse for the first time or proudly head out for morning chores with daddy. Yes, agriculture is an industry, profession, and lifestyle but more than that it is a story written by the generations of men and women that have worked the land. Having deep roots and ties to the land is a special relationship well known by those in agriculture and one so few outside of it ever truly experience.
Less than 2% of the U.S. population is directly involved in farming or ranching. Thanks to the dedicated men and women with a passion for what they do, others are afforded the opportunity to pursue their dreams and passions without worrying about growing food for their own table. At the end of the day, farmers and ranchers can be proud. They put in a hard day's work not only to provide for their family, but to provide for someone else’s as well. One farmer today feeds more than 155 people! Now THAT is something to be proud of.