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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Story in Agriculture

I have attended several conferences and workshops this year and among several things I take away from each of them, a phrase stuck out that was common between  - Share your story....so here is mine. 

So many of my early memories are involved in agriculture. From riding in the combine during harvest, to helping plant the garden, picking pumpkins to carve in the Fall, to doing chores and cleaning the horse stalls on the weekends. Even all the way down to playing tractors in the sandbox with my brother, one way or another, agriculture has always been a part of my life. 

My grandma helping little me get out of the combine from riding with my dad
I can remember going to feed the cows with my grandpa and dad some mornings before getting on the bus to head to school.  My brother and I did the horse chores every day before and after school as we got older. Pajama, boots, and our Carhart bibs were the attire as we woke up extra early on the winter mornings to make sure we had time to break the ice in the water troughs, or to get the chores done before we headed off to morning swim team practice. During planting and harvest, if we weren't riding along in the field, taking dinner to the field and catching a ride was something we looked forward too. We were also the kids at the top of the hay wagon tossing down those very top bales when unloading into the barn. SO many memories revolved around daily life in agriculture. 

Our school system has a strong FFA program and I was first introduced to it in 8th grade and I remember at that point is when I knew I wanted to be involved in agriculture as a career. That is when I decided I wanted to learn more about horticulture. Then in high school, I got involved in my FFA chapter and was on several judging teams. My interest grew even more for horticulture. Here is where I decided I wanted to attend college for Landscape Horticulture and Design. At this time, I also knew I wanted to marry a farmer/someone with the same kind of background as I had, and here is when I met just that person. 

The college years went by and I married that farmer, my high school sweetheart. I graduated college with a BS in Landscape Horticulture and Design with a minor in Food and Agribusiness Management. I worked a few different jobs that I loved in the horticulture industry, but currently am a work at home mom where I have my own creative sewing business and also work part time for a wedding planner, help manage our produce farm, and take care of our 3 children. My farmer and I grow produce and pumpkins for 9 years now. We have a small CSA program that we offer in our community and we are vendors at a few local farmers markets. 

One of our past CSA shares
I have always had a respect and appreciation for agriculture, but here in my adult life and being a mom is where I REALLY have a LOVE for agriculture. I have always helped on my family's farm in so many ways, but these last few years, I have really gotten to help more first hand. Being in the tractor and helping my dad and brother with hay and planting/harvest was how I spent so much time and made me love it even more. I appreciate helping them as much as they appreciate me helping them. 
Auger Cart duty :)
Scott and I  - pumpkin season 2011
 Agriculture isn't just a career, it is truly a way of life! I am proud that my husband and I share a love for agriculture! He knows so much history about the area we live and grow up in and shares that with me and our children. I love that he grew up with a family very involved in agriculture as well and helps on the family farm. I love that we have the same love for agriculture. I am proud that my children are growing up directly involved with agriculture by being part of the planting and harvesting process, baling hay, and growing produce. They are seeing first hand where food comes from. They help us plant the seeds, maintain and care for the plants, and pick the produce to take to market and bring to our table. I am proud that I am able to help my dad and brother in the field as well. We are able to teach our children the value of hard work and the rewards that come from working hard. But also teach them the hardships from loosing crops or animals. There is so much they can take away from growing up on the farm and maybe one day coming back to farm themselves. I love that they are getting the same experiences I did. Agriculture makes me PROUD. We live it, learn more, advocate, and share our story. 
One of our little garden helpers snacking on peas
 Agriculture is all around us, everywhere in our economy, community, and daily lives. It's important to tell our story and share with others. So on National Ag Day, here is my story! I can't wait to continue it for many years to come! Be sure to tell and share yours. 


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