Are Your Farm Kids Ready?
Is the next generation ready?
After we purchased the Big Green Combine, I started reading the John Deere Furrow magazine that we had been receiving. This month’s issue had five young women on the cover titled “Sisters Take Charge”. I thought it looked interesting. It turned out to be a wonderful story about five sisters who live on a farm in Canada. They lost their parents in a plane accident one summer. In spite of such a devastating blow to the family, the ladies brought the harvest in that fall and continue to run the farming operation.
This got me to thinking about our own situation. If something happened to William and I, would the three kids be able to carry on with the farming and raising cattle. The answer would be No. Our oldest is 15. At their ages they do not have the abilities nor the experience that would be needed to continue farming without us. The article brought it to our attention how imperative it is for William and I to be intentional with raising our farm kids.
What is important ?
Our kids have grown up knowing that work needs to be done and animals are dependent on us for survival. Some of the lessons have been difficult to learn. Others need to be repeated and repeated. On this farm we all have jobs we are responsible for. If something isn’t done or done half-ass, another person will have to make up for the work. This is simply not acceptable. As a parent I think instilling personal responsibility in my children is paramount to anything else I will teach.
As I think of all the details that it takes to run a grain and livestock operation, it is daunting. Thankfully they don’t have to learn everything overnight. It will take years. I think they will learn the most by actually doing it hands on. Setting the planter and combine, building fence, keeping records, pulling calves, the list goes on. The age-old way of doing these things along side of us, they will learn exponentially faster than in a book. We also take them to specialized classes such as artificial insemination school and crop scouting programs. In their school work I have added reproductive physiology and agronomy. But mostly they need to know that their farming education is never ending. Though farmers may think it, they can’t know it all. New technology is coming at us like a freight train. It takes understanding your farm operation to know which information is important to keep up on and which to ignore.
We are parents who want to have the peace of mind that we have made every effort to prepare our farm kids to take the operation over.