Despite the challenges and frustrations that come with farming – or maybe because of them – I cannot imagine going back to the lifestyle we had before farming. A friend of mine once told me, "the deeper the love, the deeper the hurt". It's kind of like the physics law that states "every action has an equal but opposite reaction". With farming, the greater the challenge, the greater the joy. The challenges we face provide contrast for the joys we experience.
I watch Dan greet each cow with an imaginary name as she comes back into the barn. He then waits until they're all tied up before going around the barn looking for Dinah, our oldest cow, one of our most cherished cows, and the only one he recognizes. He finds her and proclaims, "Dinah, my favorite!" Every day his greeting is the same, and I am reminded this is why I farm.
A kitten climbs up into the stroller to nap on Monika's lap. She tries to say "kitty". And I know that she, too, will learn to love and respect all God's critters the way her brother and the generations of farm kids before her have. This is why I farm.
I stand guard at the gate while Glen brings straw to the heifers and the heifers come to me, waiting for their turn to have their ears and polls scratched and I think to myself, This is why I farm.
When we started farming, nearly five years ago now, some people thought we were crazy for choosing farming over the good, salaried jobs we had. This was the response I sent to one of them:
Hard work is what we grew up with and what we enjoy. We choose to farm because we enjoy spending the day with the people we love most in this world, taking naps together, eating our meals together, feeling fulfilled, making a difference, not answering to anyone but ourselves, solving our problems and making our own decisions, living and working in the open air, and experiencing the miracle of life on a daily basis; and for the million other reasons why farmers are called to this profession.
Is it hard? At times, yes. Is it unbelievably rewarding? 99% of the time. Without challenges in our lives, we cannot fully appreciate the rewards.
I have never felt more fulfilled, more purposeful than I do now.
These words have never been truer; this is still why I farm.
Why do you farm?