How do you know you’re born to farm?
“Farming is in your blood.”
“You’re born into it.”
“You don’t do it for the money, you do it because you love it.”
If farming or gardening is your occupation or hobby, it’s undoubtedly true that you’ve heard these expressions before. Agriculture is the backbone of society, but ask anyone who’s in this career space and they’ tell you that farming’s not for everyone; it’s challenging! But oh-so rewarding.
How do you know if it’s for you?
I grew up on my friends’ farms in Wisconsin and was involved in 4-H. (Get them involved at a young age!) Educational Ag programs like the National FFA organization and 4-H are a great place to gauge interest. Maybe kids will love it or hate it, but at least they’ll know or even change their mind over time.
Changing changes you
When I was in high school, every aptitude test I took said I should work in agriculture. Passion for farming that was always just “there” for me. I always wanted to work the farm after school and ride and groom horses. The smell of fresh cut hay, harvest time, and farm fresh dinners all molded me into who I am today.
After high school, however, I ignored these passions and pursued a fashion career in Los Angeles. Like many other 18 year-olds (who are quite possibly trying to find themselves), sometimes you just need to spread your wings to see what else is out there. Hey, I had never been west of Minnesota before!
Well, my high school teachers were right all along. Twenty years later, I’m doing what I should’ve been this entire time; rekindling my love for agriculture as a full-time farmer advocate on social media, writing, and speaking.
Do you have a similar story? Are you wondering if your kids want to take over the farm? Just know that it’s okay to take a little time off and see if that time apart allows you to really miss this simple, rural “AcreageLife” many have come to love and read about.
It’s more than a feeling
When you work on the farm, does it genuinely feel good to you and does it make you happy? Does regular chores ignite excitement within you? Would you rather work with animals and plants rather than people? You might be cut out for this!
On the flip side, cast a hard eye on the romantic image of what this life is about. Caring for and nurturing crops and livestock requires physical labor and patience. Sometimes the romantic “feeling” of the classic red barn, tractor, big overalls, and hay bales isn’t always reality.
Before diving in head first, try working on a farm for a while to understand realities: weather catastrophe, death, failure, and market fluctuations. If you decide to go the farmers market route, make sure you understand local regulations, competitors, and scheduling. Time and people management are big parts of modern gardening and farming.
Share your wealth of knowledge
If you’re already well on your way and successful, good for you! Don’t be afraid to mentor someone who’s not sure. We’re all in this ag community together and depend on each other for knowledge, community, cost share advantages, and land rental to name a few.
If you’re wondering where to “shop” for farmland, a website like cashrent.com is a great marketplace to start.
Still unsure where to start? Don’t fret. Start small and network, attend seminars, expand your horizons, and be patient. We all change our minds sometimes so you just never know.
Your former 4-H kid currently living in the city could one day come back and join your family farm, ready to reignite their farming passion again.
About the author
When not tending to her own 17-acre farm, Michelle Miller aka The Farm Babe is a writer, public speaker, and social media influencer on food and modern agriculture. Learn more about her at thefarmbabe.com.