Another day, another dollar… if only I made dollars everyday. If only all days logged paid hours.
I’m not complaining, just contemplating this crazy life farmers lead. The waiting for 18-24 months for a pay day when running a birth to beef operation. The waiting 6 months from farrowing to fork for pork.
The care and compassion into keeping great sows, feeding them as piglets grow inside for 114 days (3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days). The breeding with a boar or a bull, worrying which day they might turn.
Farmers are high risk gamblers.
We gamble on Mother Nature to make our fields and crops flourish and grow. Sometimes, she swipes down her wrath in rain, floods, tornadoes, hail, high winds and brutal cold late in the year. She ruins our best laid plays and kicks our bank accounts while she laughs in a swirl of dust as droughts dry everything to a crisp. Truly, to the farmer, she is an evil bitch.
We gamble that no animals with get sick or hurt, living until we can sell them as feeders, heifers, bagging cows. We pray our stock stays healthy and sound to feed a family or supply dairy.
We gamble that the time and costs we put it will be covered when we sell. We gamble that wild animals don’t maim or kill.
We even gamble by telling our stories. We pray each night that people see the truth in what we do, sharing video and posts praying there isn’t much ado.
We struggle sometimes to make ends meet. We go without so our animals can have. We fret and worry and swear we will sell but when it comes right down to it… we can see our own reality hidden within the eyes of a beloved cow and we just can’t do it.
When we sell, we have truly given our everything. Through weather, tragedy, poor markets and usually without much gain. We watch our animals sell off one by one. A piece of ourselves, our heart, leave with them.
Our families break apart under the stress of our gambling darts. We struggle with stress when so many things fall apart. We fall into the pits of depression and despair as we watch that last gate close, sealing an unknown fate.
It’s not just one type of farm either. It’s all of us, small and large alike. From beef cow to dairy calf, from poultry to swine, we’ve all stood at a tipping point. A point of make or break, sink or swim.
We are a determined lot and you’ll often hear, “I’ll never give up” because it’s true. Once you’ve lived this life, it becomes part of who you are. Right down to the very marrow in your bones.
So the next time you follow a tractor going to slow, instead of blowing your horn. Be patient and gives us a wave, it might be the only real kindness that we get that day.
A simple wave can make all the difference. I’ll promise you that nearly every farmer WILL wave back. Even if only as gesture of thanks for understanding.
For understanding that we are just logging another day to try to make a dollar, against all those bad betting odds.
That’s my rambling thought for the day. Based off the kindness and support of others and their impacts on me.