By Kaitlynn Anderson
Growing up on the farm, I learned many things. Food production isn’t simple. Cattle are ruminants. Damage from spider mites can first be seen on the edges of soybean fields. I learned how to spot micronutrient deficiencies in crops.
Above all, there are five lessons learned that I still carry with me in my everyday adult life:
1. Having patience can become second nature. Farming requires a lot of patience, especially when things aren’t going as planned. Perhaps you’re waiting for a couple of days with dry weather so you can bale hay. Or, maybe you’re waiting for a calf to learn how to be bottle-fed. Soon enough, waiting patiently becomes a trait embedded within you.
2. Some of the hardest working people aren’t in the spotlight. Farmers, especially those with livestock, work 24 hours a day – every day. Many also volunteer their time with local organizations, such as 4-H and FFA. Despite working at all times, these people don’t demand attention. Many farmers are humble. If you grow up with one of these farmers as your role model, you learn that some of the people who deserve the most praise don’t always receive it.
3. Death is inevitable, and healing takes time. There will be calves that perish from pneumonia, lambs that are attacked by predators and mothers that die while giving birth to their offspring. No matter how saddening these events are, you will heal. Take time to grieve.
4. Life isn’t always equal. You don’t always “get” what you give. But, you can learn to be okay with that. Growing up on a farm, you realize that giving your time and effort doesn’t always result in the highest yielding crop or the best market lamb in show. Sometimes, knowing that you put your best effort in is just as much of a reward.
5. Being thankful is important. It’s easy to get carried away and lose track of what matters. It’s important to sit back and take the time to appreciate everything you have in life – even the small details. In agriculture, sometimes we can let the stress get the best of us. Droughts, disease and unfavorable prices can easily take the forefront of our thoughts. Living on a farm teaches you to be thankful for the good news that comes your way.