This time of the year is always exciting – the ground is freshly plowed, rows of shiny black plastic make the fields sparkle at night, and hope grows with each plant gently placed in the ground. It’s also at this time of year, that I can look around the farm and recall so many memories from the last 29 years. If you’ve heard the song “The House that Built Me” by Carrie Underwood, you might understand where I’m coming from here, but around each corner, in each field there is a memory and my heart is buried in all of them.
This probably also explains why I am so passionate about agriculture. Few things can get me as riled up as a misinformed news article or worse yet, reading the comments that have been posted below the article. I’m sure to some people it seems foreign. I mean, yes, my family is in the farming business, so it is logical that I would care about the industry to some extent. But caring so much that an extreme introvert suddenly becomes fired up enough to stand up to just about anyone – that’s just a tad overboard, don’t you think?
Here’s what you don’t know… It’s not just that I grew up here. I know that with the start of each season there is an optimistic hope that this will be a great year, but an even deeper fear because as the plastic is laid and plants are planted the debt rises higher and higher. I’ve tasted, first-hand the first, sweet, red strawberries of the season. I’ve also spent many nights praying for the thermometer to stay above 32 degrees. When we water, it hurts the plants, hurts the berries and means that farmers are staying awake all night to monitor temperatures and irrigation. I’ve sat and listened to a winter rain on our tin roof almost cringing with each drop as I envision those precious berries getting pounded with the heavy drops of rain. I’ve seen good years and hard times, and I know that as hopeful as we are each year, we have no idea what the season will look like.
Even beyond all of this, I know that the people that work so diligently to produce the food for our nation aren’t in it for the money. They’re in it because that’s where their heart is. There are good years and bad years, but more times than not, the paychecks don’t match up with the hours put in. Most farmers work from dawn to dusk and spend their nights fretting over the weather. But most people have no idea, and agriculture is one of the most misunderstood industries because farmers tend to be professional isolationist. Well the good news is that I’m not technically a farmer, so I plan to shed light on exactly what we’re all about.