As a college student at a major Illinois University, I often get a second look when I tell people I’m a farm kid. I don’t wear overalls. And I think that city kids just don’t expect a farmer to be in college.
When I think about it, farmers are actually quite a few people, all wrapped up into one.
1. Farmers are weathermen.
The weather is very important to farmers because this tells farmers how their year will be and how this will affect the farm itself. Whether it’s the hot or cold, snow or rain, farmers always must be prepared for whatever comes their way. Everybody knows that if you want to know the real forecast, just ask a farmer. Weather is their livelihood, and if they are not weathermen, they will not be too successful as a farmer.
2. Farmers are political activists.
Politics is extremely important to a farmer. Spreading the word about the right candidate through the agricultural community is a big part of being a farmer. Campaigning and donating to candidates running for office is also huge for a farmer. Whether it is food policy, agricultural coalition, or farm laws, a farmer must do his best to get the right person in office, or their family may find themselves in a tough situation.
3. Farmers are business professionals.
Many people do not look at farmers this way, but farmers run small businesses. From day-to-day tasks like job delegation, to the burdens of input versus output for the year, a farmer is well acquainted with is banker, his calculator, and his accountant. His family, his employees, and every person that consumes food depends on it. Farmers need to be up to date on market prices and know when to make key business decisions to best suit the future.
4. Farmers are veterinarians.
Animal well-being is something every farmer needs to know. Farmers cannot plan when an animal will get sick or when an animal will give birth, so being a veterinarian in addition to a farmer is crucial. A farmer must know how and what to vaccinate certain animals with. A farmer also must know the best environment for their animal to thrive. A farmer must be aware on what is the healthiest and most nutritious for their animals, because animals are their income.
5. Farmers are mechanics.
Every farmer knows about the trouble that equipment gives just before harvest or just before planting, but everyone else thinks farmers can just take their equipment to the shop. Farmers do not have the luxury when it is crunch time to get crops harvested or get crops planted, to just drop off their tractors and combines at the shop. Farmers must know the ends and outs of their equipment and get problems fixed as soon as possible. If farmers were not supposed to be mechanics, farmers would have no use for their own shop, filled with wrenches, grease guns, buckets of miscellaneous metal, and a billion cans of either green or red spray paint.
6. Last but not least farmers are family.
Whether it mother/father, sister/brother, or grandma/grandpa, farmers never grow weary of their first purpose – being a farm family. Farmers farm to put food on the table. Farmers never have a day off and are still around for every waking family moment. Not only do they go out of their way to be with family, they want their family with them all the time.
Illinois State University