There's an old, abandoned farm site just a few miles from our place. The house has that weathered and worn look; the wood is chipped and grey, the windows are knocked out and the roof is starting to sag. Just a few yards away, the barn is leaning, and trees have begun to sprout from the foundation. Yet, despite it's crumbling characteristics, there is one thing that seems mighty curious to the passer-by. In the summer months, the family of this homestead mows the front yard, and the journalist in me wonders why.
When I was a kid, I used to make up stories about the historical places I would find in our pastures -- teepee rings, a gravestone from the 1800s and an ancient barn with a rock-and-pebble foundation. Each held infinite possibilities of stories untold. Who lived here? What kind of life did they lead? Where did they come from? What hopes and dreams did they have? What ever happened to them?
I suppose I should have known my chosen career path way back then because I would spend chore-time creating these stories and telling them to my dad or my dog or whoever would listen. Even today, when I pass by that old, abandoned farm site, I wonder about the people who once raised kids and cattle there and what changed in their story that it stands alone and empty.
A good friend of mine recently left a comment on the blog about her and her husband's adventures getting started in the cattle business. She described the challenges they face, but ended her comment optimistically with this reassuring quote, "Many families headed west with little more than bedding, buckets, Bibles and high hopes, and that’s a pretty good start."
That's what I like about agriculture. It's rich in history. It's abundant in faith. And, it's sustainable. Sure, some old farms sit empty, but many more have supported three, four and even five or six generations of farmers and ranchers. Today, our consumers strive to define sustainability, and I think we have done just that. Just as the pioneers settled in lands unknown with nothing more than a prayer and an idea, those prayers have been answered and those ideas have formed into reality for today's agriculturalists. That's a story worth telling, don't you think?