Growing up on a farm was and still is, I believe, a good way of life. The business of farming has changed a great deal over the years, but it continues to offer a unique set of values and style of living. I remember growing up with always having something to do, and my time, year round, was full. I learned the circle of birth, growth, maturity of death in life. I learned how to work hard and play hard. The values that are passed on from one generation of farmers to the next are good solid ones and are a firm base. Farmers value the land, respect the weather, and follow the patterns set down by nature.
The next generation of farmers is being raised on our farms right now. Very few farmers were not raised on a farm. Agricultural programs at colleges and universities are full of students who are farm raised. Farming is not a career aspired to by the youth of today unless they are the sons and daughters of farmers. And the lure of a weekly pay cheque, steady income, weekends off and summer vacations is strong for potential farmers. Who will take over the stewardship of the land and feed us when this present generation retires?
The new farmers will face many challenges in making his or her way in life. The high cost of land, machinery and buildings are daunting impediments but they are usually overcome one way or another by each generation. Growing up on a farm teaches them that it is rarely easy, the work is never done and the pay isn’t guaranteed. There is however, satisfaction and knowledge that the work they do as a farmer is important and worthwhile, for the family, and the community. And it’s a way of life that must be preserved and passed on to the next generation.