In honor of World Gratitude Day, I thought it would be interesting to see what today’s farmers are grateful for. I asked a few friends who have helped out on their family’s farms since they could walk and here’s what I found:

#7 Good Market and Consumers

Farmers are thankful for the demanding market and its loyal consumers that stabilize it. They know that they are not only producing food for their family to eat but others across the state, country and even world. The average American spends 9.5% of their income on food-less than any other country. So return the favor and thank a farmer for their efforts in making healthy food always available.


#6 Technology

In order to keep up with the growing population and demand, Farmer’s use of GPS for precision planting and biotechnology for efficiency is something very important and highly valued. Today’s farmers are producing twice as much as their parents did while using less land, water and releasing fewer emissions.  They grateful because as the farm is passed down to future generations they are confident that their sons and daughters will have an even better opportunity to produce then they did.

#5 ZZZ’s

During peak planting and harvesting seasons, farmers are out in the field from dawn to dusk for days on end, sometimes the labor is rigorous and requires extreme concentration. Farmers don’t sleep till the job is done and plan their schedule off the land and weather. Some farmers even pick up other jobs during the winter months such as snow plowing to support their families. So a nice nap, if they have the time, is much appreciated.

#4 Fertile Soil

Before the dinner table, the food we eat grows in the soil and nutrient-rich land is the key to healthy plants. Farmers understand that we have some of the most fertile lands here in the U.S. and more especially Illinois. They are thankful to be given the opportunity to be the stewards of the soil that produces food for so many people worldwide.

#3 Crop Insurance

We all know that natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes, and tornados happen and devastate homes and families. Just like you would want to protect your home from potential loss farmers want to ensure their crops and most importantly their livelihoods. As my farmer friend explained it sometimes all it takes is a bad year to put a family farm out of business and crop insurance secures their way of life for future generations as well.

#2 Rain

As Luke Bryan said, rain is a good thing and can influence a farmer’s actions. They evaluate previous years weather patterns and use that to make their decisions for the future. Weather ultimately decides if a crop survives-too much rain can cause flooding that could uproot the plant while too little rain will cause it to die. The right balance of rain and sunshine is crucial to a healthy crop.


#1 Family

97% of farms are family-owned, passed down from generation to generation. Farmers are grateful that they have a family to support them during the long days out in the field and also help out on the farm. When I asked my farmer friends what they were grateful for without hesitation each one said family always comes first. They know they’ve learned many values like responsibility and hard work by helping their parents with the farm, and they couldn’t be more excited to eventually be the same role model for their children.

sombeckEmily Sombeck
Illinois State University student

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