I have always loved this photo. I took it a few years ago while we were out in a field that had just been planted. We were down in the dirt counting green bean seeds to check the planting rate and I remember looking over at Matt as we both were kneeling down, and being thankful to have him out there with me. I wasn’t sure how I got so lucky, I’m still not, but I’m reminded often that I am.
And today just so happens to be this great guy’s birthday! And while it might seem like just another day on the farm, I wanted to share something special on here, because as real life happens, we don’t say all the good stuff enough. My farmer is the one who gets to (has to) be there when I can’t (usually because of our growing family). He works tirelessly at the weather’s beck and call, yes…even on Sundays. He takes risks alongside me as we make decisions that will effect our success and ultimately our livelihood. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without this man, and I can’t imagine our farm without him either.
Although now that I think about it, he might be able to…I think it would probably involve a lot more fishing and hunting (sorry babe!). Plus I have to be honest here, farming together isn’t always perfect moments of bumper crops, slam dunks and sunshine (especially this year!), and we are together very literally all the time, no really, ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes it’s tough, but we are doing it, we are working together, sometimes with trial and error and a few (or a lot of) deep breaths. But I’ll give him credit, he’s my rock when I get (very rarely obviously) all wound up about this that or the other. I can’t thank him enough for that.
He’s also a great dad, who loves his boys with a love that is unwavering. We are finding that we are lucky….every single day….to get to do what we love with who we love. So today happy birthday to my one and only. You’re a great friend, my solid ground, an incredible dad, wonderful husband….and as it turns out, almost as good of a farmer as me (wink wink). And cheers to another wonderful year of hanging out in the fields, inevitably covered in dirt, with our little farming family!
A few years ago I was advocating for some pro-agriculture legislation at the state level. I wrote a blog about how great it would be for Oregon’s farmers and for our industry as a whole. A friend of mine reached out and told me that she was confused about why I was working so hard at getting this passed at the state level, she thought my efforts were wasted because,
“We should save these state level fights for things that effect everyone, not just for farmers. This is not an issue of statewide concern.”
To say I was shocked was an understatement, so I took a deep breath and asked a few simple questions…when she last had a meal. I asked what her clothes were made of. I asked her to look around her and told her that Oregon agriculture employs 1 in every 12 of the people she sees. I wanted to help her see that while only 2% of the population might be a farmer…farming reaches everyone, statewide and beyond!
Which is why I was so excited to see the new campaign that American Women in Agriculture launched this year. Ag Day 365, showing how Ag Day is Everyday! The goal of this campaign is to show everyone how much our lives, all our lives, connect to agriculture. It’s not just for us farmers out in the fields, farming touches the lives of every single person every single day. Even for all my friends from Loyola Marymount University in LA, yes to all of you who only know one farmer, your lives are constantly being affected by farmers from all over the world.
If you want to learn more you can check out the website AgDay365, or feel free to follow along with #AgDay365 to see the many posts from farmers all over the United States. Here are just a few of my favorites from some great advocates for agriculture…
Allowing people a look into what farmers face each and everyday is not an easy task. It takes time and effort that goes beyond just trying to make your business survive to the next generation. But in the end, groups like American Agri-women and our local affiliate Oregon Women for Agriculture are always helping the effort. Please follow along and encourage others to as well. Because while farmers are such a small number in people, there are a growing number of us who are trying to reach out and let everyone know what we are up to out in the fields, how we raise the food you eat, and share in some of the challenges and successes that make up what we are proud to call Oregon agriculture.
Old Grey has been on our farm for 22 years. 22 fertilizer seasons of running around loaded down from field to field. 22 summers of hauling grass seed, clover, wheat, even filberts on long hot days. 22 years of wear, tear, washing and waxing before each season.
I realize it might seem silly to have an attachment to just a piece of equipment on our farm, but silly or not, I was sad to see her go. Maybe it’s because I always think back when I was a kid and that steering wheel seemed so big! I can perfectly imagine it’s what Hoot is thinking right as I took the photo below! Or maybe it’s the memories later, sitting in the driver’s seat of Old Grey, learning how to drive a semi, while dad sat in the passenger side and told me to “Take it easy on her!” and inevitably cringing while I grinded every gear heading down the road. Old Grey is the truck that didn’t have the get up and go of her new counterparts at our farm, but I’ll be dammed if she didn’t always get you where you wanted to go….eventually.We bought a new truck that is currently being put together, painted up all pretty and shiny. She’s newer than Old Grey by a long shot, has more horsepower, and will be a great addition to our farm. When we bought her and made the decision to sell Old Grey, it was the end of an era. This is the first large purchase that Matt and I have made since buying the farm from my parents. In a way Old Grey represents the past generation on our farm and the transition to the next.
So while Hoot was farming with me on Friday, we went to say our goodbyes. I gave our boy, generation number 4 a chance to stand on the seat and pull the horn one last time, just like I did growing up.
Obviously Hoot didn’t quite feel as sentimental as me, he was just excited to go see the combines haha! But regardless I said my thank yous for being such a great part of our farm, and for always getting us where we needed to be….eventually.