Growing up on a farm was one of the best gifts that I have ever received. With it came with great responsibility at a young age. There were several animals to take care of, all of which my brother and I tried our best to do so all by ourselves. We had dogs, several cats, rabbits, pigs, and cattle. Now, not everyone would think that farm animals would be considered as pets; however, to me they were some of my favorite pets. I always enjoyed the cats and dogs to play with and have companionship with, but I liked the livestock the best.
University of Illinois student, Kiersten Kasey, also wanted to share her experience of growing up on a farm. She says, “I was raised on a sheep, cattle and grain farm and I am thankful for that. I have exhibited at livestock shows across the nation and planted seed test plots around the Midwest with my father and sister. From an early age, we were incorporated into the family farm and started going to livestock shows at infancy. I stepped into the sheep show ring with my parents when I was two and have been a part of the showing circuit since then. Having livestock, and other pets including my border collie, Nellie, and barn cats have taught me responsibility and many life lessons. It was not until I was 9 years old selling my first weather, ‘Jason’, that I realized my livestock were not necessarily pets and that they were providing products to people. However, I still treat them with the same care I would my pets because I am proud of the animals we raise.”
Another University of Illinois student, Liz Harfst, also has her experiences to share of growing up on a farm. She states, “Growing up on a farm, I developed a deep passion for animals at a young age, especially for my pigs. I especially loved the mother pigs. As a child, I made sure each of them had a name and EVERYONE knew it. As a farm kid, I quickly learned to appreciate the circle of life, and that we couldn’t keep ALL of our pigs, but to care for the ones that we had at the moment. I wouldn’t trade my experience as a farm kid for anything!”
Many farmers treat their animals with great care, which is the equivalence to how people would treat their pets. Here were just a few personal examples to how farmers view their animals. In the below picture, one can see how much this man cares about his calf, carrying it in during a blizzard.