Thankful to Be A Farm Girl
As Thanksgiving approaches, I love taking the time to sit back and truly think about how blessed I am. Although I have been blessed in more ways than one, I have reflected on how thankful I am to be a farm girl. Being raised on a farm has shaped me into the person that I am today. Not only was I raised there, but I hope to stay there for as long as I can.
Growing up on my family’s Angus cattle farm and grain operation has always been a part of my life. Farming is not only a profession, it’s a passion, and a calling. Before I was old enough to talk, I was riding on tractor seats behind my dad as he did the work and I sat along for the ride. Tractor riding with my dad made me thankful for memories, life chats and early lessons on driving.
I helped grandma with the chickens as soon as I could walk. Although I always winced at the thought of being pecked, I managed to help gather the eggs from time to time. Grandma always let me help her chase the chickens in before the sun went down too. That consisted of my four year old self herding chickens as though they were cattle, with my arms out and chanting, “here chick chick chick chick chick!”. Caring for chickens with my grandma made me thankful for people who actually love chickens. (Sorry, but I discovered at an early age that I was not meant to be a chicken whisperer. I appreciate those of you who are, it's a gift!)
My heart has always had a huge place for animals. I cared for a litter of kittens that had mysteriously been dropped off by their mother in our barn one afternoon which later became the beginning of what seemed like our “farm” of cats. As it goes with most, I named every cat that I possibly could and if dad or grandpa ever tried giving my kittens away, I became one very ticked off little girl. Barn cats made me thankful for time out in the barn as I watched grandpa and dad go about their daily routine, doing what they truly loved.
If we ever lost a momma cow after a pregnancy, I was the first to volunteer to become the new calf’s mom. After we had a cow abandon one of her twin calves, I quickly decided it was my job to care for the lonely calf. This calf and I were two peas in a pod. I bottle fed the calf for a few months and she became my best friend. Naturally, I named her Annabelle, after the children’s Christmas movie about the calf who wanted to be a reindeer so she could fly. Annabelle has been an incredible cow for my family’s farm. She has had several calves and to this day, she is still a part of our farm. Caring for baby calves made me thankful for the cattle industry and the opportunity to care for livestock.
As soon as I was able to join 4-H, I really began to understand the meaning of hard work. I woke up every day before school to care for my heifers and pigs. As soon as I came home from school my routine continued. And at night before I went to bed, I was back in the barn one last time before it all began again the next day. 10 years of 4-H made me thankful for 10 years of growing, learning, and enjoying my time at the fair with family and friends, as we each were able to experience how it felt having our hard work, pay off.
Junior high rolled around and I found myself turning in my dues to become an FFA member. Another fantastic, deep rooted, and leadership based youth organization that empowers young people to strive for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. My time in FFA made me thankful for relationships, for opportunities, and for a growing industry that needs each and every single one of us to contribute to.
Growing up as a farm girl has been one of the greatest joys and blessings of my life. I’ve learned to be thankful for my family’s work ethic, values, morals, dedication, drive, and passion for farming and for the agricultural industry. I’ve learned that life on the farm has been the best thing that I ever could have experienced. I’ve also learned that growing up as a farm girl opened my eyes to the fact that this is where I am meant to be. This Thanksgiving I ask that you think about what you are thankful for. I know this year, and every day for that matter, I am thankful for the food in front of me, the hands who have prepared it, and the farmers who grew it! From one farm girl to another- I am thankful for you and all that you do for the agricultural industry!