There is a new billboard in the county that I would like to give a huge “Thank You” to Dairyland Vet Clinic for sponsoring. I am not sure if you have had the chance to see it as you drive west on Highway 54 outside of Luxemburg. It is simple and to the point and simply says … “It’s Life. It’s Love.” And while it is about the dairy farming, it is also about all of agriculture, regardless of the size of the farm or who works on the farm or if it is organic or traditional.
This billboard has given me pause to think about what my life would have been like without agriculture. There was a time when I was growing up that I didn’t want to following in the footsteps of those that came before me and go into farming. When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town and experience life away from the farm, as am sure many of you did. And I did … for a while, but it didn’t take long to realize exactly what this billboard is saying.
What many do not realize is that farming is something that gets into your blood. There is something very satisfying to watch crops grow in the hot summer sun. Even after all these years, it takes my breath away when I see the cows out on pasture. I still get teary eyed every time a new lamb or calve is born.
In farming, there is honor in getting up before the sun and getting home after dark. There is great satisfaction in the sore muscles after that long day. Farming teaches you at a very early age, that it doesn’t always go your way. There will be heart aches and ups and downs, and times when you are so exhausted you wonder if you can keep going. But you do and you do it because it is something you love to do.
My time away from agriculture taught me a couple of things. One of the things that I treasure the most, is it gave me a perspective of what those that are removed from farming think farming truly is. In my time away from farming, I met wonderful friends, who are still some of my closest friends today, and it gave me the opportunity to help bridge the gap between Farm to Fork.
Agriculture is who I am. I am NOT a farmer to make millions. I am NOT a farmer to destroy the environment. I AM a farmer to help feed the local community and the world. I AM a farmer because it is my life. I AM a farmer because it is what I love.