As a collective of female farmers at CommonGround, we are passionate about sharing information with our communities about all things farming. We’ve asked some of our volunteers to reflect on “What is something you wish more people knew about farming?” and gathered their answers to share.
As farmers, we use a lot of technology to help us support our varied soils in the best way possible. We also look for advice and pay for advice from many resources to help us manage our soil, seed, and financial aspects of farming. It’s hard in today’s fast-paced world to be an expert on everything.
Harvest may be done for the year, but the planning for the next year has already begun. We have made commitments to purchase seeds, plan for equipment improvements, and advance purchase the things we will need for spring planting. Additionally, we are watching the markets for the sale contract for next year’s crop before the seeds are even planted. We say we spend a lot of time planning and as anyone knows things don’t always go as planned.
There are real people behind the products of agriculture! Nearly 96% of farms are still family-owned (USDA). That fact is so evident in our own operation, as well as many of our neighboring farms. My dad and my brother run the dairy, my husband and his uncle care for the beef cattle, my dad and my husband do a lot of the crop work, and my cousin Zach and I take care of the pigs. We have a neighboring family (father-son-uncle) that we trade fieldwork and meals with. I have good friends that are moms and farmers like me. I could go on!
People today yearn to connect with where our food comes from, and as farmers, we are working to share our story. The farmer who raised that baby calf or planted the corn is a real person who is passionate about caring for land and animals, but also does things like helping her kids with math homework or shopping on Amazon. I am that person!
We genuinely care about our animals. We go to great lengths to make sure they are well cared for. At our farm, we don’t eat our own meals until everything is fed and cared for every morning and evening.
I wish everyone knew how much we care. Yes, our farms are businesses, but they are businesses that we eat, sleep and breathe 24/7. When you get asked what keeps you up at night, I can guarantee it is something farm-related.
We will spend days trying to nurse a sick calf back to health. We will check field growth every week during the summer to ensure the health of the crop. We spend countless hours doing research and educating ourselves to ensure we are making the best decisions for our farm, the land, the environment, and our community. We weigh every decision a million ways and then do it all over again to make certain we are covering every angle.
Farmers care so much, and I wish everyone could understand how the farm really is an integral part of the farmer themselves – not just a business.
I wish people knew how hard we work to provide them with food on their table. We take raising and growing food very seriously. We are both honored and humbled by providing food for families.
It is frustrating when there is so much fear-based marketing with food in the grocery stores. I sincerely hope that consumers take the time to educate themselves about the food they purchase and/or reach out to a farmer if they have any questions. We would love to answer their questions!
I think another thing I wish consumers knew is the environment is very important to us. We live where our farms are located. We breathe the air, drink the water, and eat the meat we raise.
There are many farmers who work “off the farm” jobs along with farming jobs. As small farmers, we need the income an “off the farm” job provides. I work full-time in the seed industry, and my husband works part-time or seasonally when he’s not planting or harvesting.