Last week, I had the chance to speak to 385 farm and ranch women at the 2013 AG-Ceptional Women’s Conference in Norfolk, NE. Being able to participate in this conference was a chance to recharge my batteries by mingling in a crowd of like-minded folks. At times, farming and ranching can be very isolating. In fact, I probably talk more to my cows than to people on most days!
Being at a conference like this one was a good reminder for all of the women in attendance that there are others out there who live the same lifestyle and have similar experiences. So on a bad day, they can think of the strong network of folks who are walking in similar shoes and know that they aren’t alone.
When you get a group of nearly 400 agricultural women in the room, there are a lot of commonalities -- daughters, wives, mothers, friends, sisters. Through conversations with these women, it was evident that one of the most shared joys throughout the room was being able to raise children on a farm or ranch. Although I’m not in the children-raising category yet, I would have to agree that being a farm kid was a great way to grow up.
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I ran across a great blog post the other day written by Alison Bos, entitled, “Growing Up On A Farm: 25 Facts About Being A Farm Kid!”
Bos writes, “This post is dedicated to all you past, present and future farm kids out there. There may not be very many of us, but we truly are one-of-a-kind. In all honesty, I don’t know of a better way to grow up. Yes, we worked hard. Yes, we can tell stories all day long about our experiences both good and bad. Most importantly, we are proud to be farmers’ sons and farmers’ daughters. We are proud to be born and raised farm kids. We are proud to be future farmers. There is no doubt about it, we really are lucky!”
Bos listed the 25 things that make farm kids great, and some of my favorites include:
1. When you were first asked what you want to be when you grow up, you could not think of anything other than a farmer. Duh!
2. You did not open your Christmas gifts on Christmas morning or go trick-or-treating on Halloween until all the chores were done. And you did not complain about it.
3. You have had the opportunity to see more sunrises and more sunsets than most kids your age did. That is pretty cool.
4. You could tell if a cow was calving by the age of eight. You got to see more live animal births of any kids in your class. Once again, cool kid status reached! While we are on the subject, you could tell if an animal was sick. You could determine how crops were doing. You could count hay bales during hay season. You knew a great deal about medicines, fertilizers and other farming practices. You were that smart.
What made your childhood on the farm or ranch great? What lessons do you hope to impart on your little ones? Share your stories in the comments section.
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