growing up in a farm familyAhhh, fall is finally in the air! It’s the perfect time to grab the family and find a nice pumpkin farm or somewhere to pick some apples. Don’t forget the pumpkin spice lattes and a nice warm sweater. Forget about harvest you can finish that field tomorrow! – Said no farm family EVER!

For those of you who grew up on a farm you will know exactly what I am talking about. Growing up in a farm family, like anything else, has its pros and cons but it definitely a unique experience to say the least! Hopefully, this will give the “non-farmers” a little bit of insight to what it is really like.

  1. “Sure, we can go…. As long as it rains”

Farm kids know this one all too well. Planning family activities, attendance at Saturday tournaments, or RSVPing to a wedding invitation is next to impossible during planting and harvest seasons. If the sun is out and the sky is clear (enough) that combine or planter is moving then plans are out the window!

  1. Dinner is never eaten at the same time or place.

Just like the equipment, when a farmer is in the field he needs fuel to keep on keepin’ on. Some of my favorite childhood memories are taking Grandpa and the crew supper and eating it in the tractor or on a tailgate.

  1. The Farmer 5

For some unexplained reason, it seems every farm family grew up with the “farmer 5” TV channels. I guess what more explanation do you need than… it’s free! And besides, who needs to watch TV when there are animals to be fed and work to be done!

  1. You get your unofficial driver’s license at age 10

I hope most of you have the song “Drive” by Alan Jackson? If not look it up, I promise it is worth it. Driving for the first time at a young age (under parents supervision of course) is typically very common in rural America. As a farm kid, you can drive more than a car by then and do it on your own. By the time you get to your driver’s education course when you turn 15, you can drive an automatic, a stick, a tractor, a forklift, and more!

  1. Personal Playground

Having a farm right in your backyard makes you the hot spot for all of your friends to come over and play. You know what you can and cannot touch. You also know all the fun hidden places to play in the barn. There almost always some cute baby barn cats to pet as well! When you have this much possibility for adventure, who needs cable anyways!

Despite the constantly, undetermined schedule and the hefty amount of chores to be done the farm life is pretty sweet.  Farm families work together to live the life they love and provide for others, while still trying to lead a “normal” life. This profession is typically handed down from generation to generation so working together with your children is very important. I have not encountered many who have said they would have wanted it any other way!

Happy Harvest Farm Families!

courtney millerCourtney Miller
Illinois State University student



  1. I didn’t grow up on a farm but married a farmer. I hadn’t even mowed a yard.My husband his dad and brother farmed and had hog confinement buildings. When we were 27 my father in law passed away. My brother in law quit the farm and we had it all to do. My husband continued to work off the farm for 1 1/2 yrs. I took care of the pigs worked the fields so he could plant at night. Did I mention we also had 3 kids with chicken pox a 7 yr old girl with a broken arm a 4 yr old boy in a body cast for 3 month and a 1yr old baby. Oh yea I also started driving the school bus that year have done that now for 28 years. I wouldn’t change my life it’s been a bleeding from God and I’m sure he has more intended for me

    1. I still don’t call it dinner, although all my kids do who went to college-maybe they started it in school, but I’ll never change. I also say, “We’re going into town and go shopping.”

      1. The pic of lunch in the wheat field brings back many fond memories. Lunch was a snack in the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes Mom brought “lunch” to the wheat field in the morning also. I grew up in the middle of Kansas…….I had a very good upbringing.

    2. And for us lunch was that snack you got between meals. Could be one in the morning, but most often mid-afternoon and usually consisted of homemade cookies or bars and a pop.

  2. How true! — How true! — How true! 🙂 …….And, isn’t it wonderful accomplishing something good and satisfying? My kids were driving and helping with chores when they were very young… Supper was often at 10 p.m. during harvesting… This brings back so many memories… Thank you.

  3. I was raised on a small farm, and can relate to some of these. We didn’t even bother with TV at all, though. 🙂 The backyard playground is sooooo true! Who misses TV when you have so much fun stuff to do?

  4. This is perfect especially the one talking about if it rains I have brothers that play football and baseball and that’s always during harvest and they are always wanting us to be at the games but they are getting to the age now that they kmow if it rains we will be there bit I wouldn’t trade this life for anything early mornings late night hard work stress aches and pains it takes a special person to do this type of work you have to love it it has to be part of you not just somethings you do yiu can learn alot from looking at a farmer you can learn what work is all about I am a young man ill tell you the truth I’m only 23 but my familys farm consist of me my grandad my uncle and my dad and one man that might as welk be part of the family he’s been with us since my grandad started we wouldn’t trade our way of life for anything in the world

  5. When I was young I spent some summers on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm helping with haying and learning to drive. Long before I could drive on the roads back home( lived in town) I had been driving trucks and cars in fields and on country roads. Loved it.

  6. 5 channels? Try 2 and only for Bonanza, Bugs Bunny, the news and weather. The t.v. didn’t get turned on some days. We ran, played, did chores helped Dad, found critters to save and doctor or tame. We lived outside, freedom to run, explore, use our imaginations. Oh, we worked but oh how hard we played, too. C
    ould our lives have been better? How?

  7. I am not a farmer by any means, but I love the family life that comes along with a farm family. Talk about growing up together and sharing fun experiences, laughs, tough times too, but sticking it through together. Love it! Sometimes I think the world would be a much happier place if we all took some lessons from farm families. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’m 75 years and when I read your article I was so moved to know not much has changed
    ( except farm tv). Unchanging foundations of life create strong confident men and women.
    South Dakota Woman

  9. My grandchildren are 7th generation on our small family farm. I’ve been a widow here for 8 yrs and have kept it going strong. My 2 daughters and there families live on our land also. We are close and enjoy our little community we have built. Would not have rather been anywhere else in this world. My great grandma was a widow in her 30s here and my mom at 49 and myself at 49. I am blessed these women hung on when others wanted them out. I pray it keeps going on long after I leave this earth.
    No better person then a farm kid and later an adult!!!

  10. Nothing taste better than homegrown food on the table, fresh milk and eggs, but it was sad when my pet chickens or rabbits went “missing” . Summers playing in the wash tub and hand crank ice cream makers what a great life.

  11. Memories, memories, memories. Growing up on the farm was a hard but very good life. I miss it greatly! I remember that I would not eat butter at home, even though I loved it. I wanted to make it last as long as possible, because I knew that as soon as it was gone, I would have to churn some more!

  12. Great article and I got a great surprise when I got towards the end and saw a picture of our oldest two grandkids with the little green tractor. : )

  13. I grew up on a farm during the 30 s & 40 s no electricity, no running water no inside toilet, Mother had big garden & canned & stored potatoes in cellar. But we were free to play outside any place on the farm. Then I married a farmer, so I drove a tractor & worked the ground ahead of my husband planting crops, had a big garden, canned, raised chickens to dress & eat , had fresh eggs , had a cow for milk, & for beefcalves. RAised four kids to adulthood, who had eleven kids, who have FOURTEEN KIDS& we have two great great grand children& two on the way. Farm life is the best way to live. We are in our 80 s & have been married 62 years.

  14. So many treasured memories of growing up on a 160 acre dairy farm, but the sad fact is it’s mostly corporate now. The destruction of the family farm as we knew it began in he early 80s and has continued relentlessly since then. It’d be nearly impossibly now to ‘buy’ a farm and make it work. You’d have to inherit or be very wealthy. You need $500,000 combines and tractors and other equipment, not to mention we’ve seen fertile farmland go for $8k or more an acre. It’s so sad to drive the rural areas and see how much destruction there is. If the corporate farmer can clean out a small woods or tile a wetland to get a few more bushels of corn, they’ll do it. And of course the wind blows and takes more and more of the top soil because there is nothing to stop it. The corporate farmer gets subsidies that amount to farm welfare, but of course they don’t want anyone to know that. And when the yield is too good, the price goes down so there’s a subsidy. And if the crop is destroyed by natural disaster, there is crop insurance for that. Of course, the population keeps growing and we have to feed 7 billion people on this earth one way or another, so maybe there is no other way, but that’s a political discussion. I for one mourn the loss of the way of life of the small family farm. It was a beautiful way to grow up. Church on Sundays, hard work amazing ‘playground’ outside. I pray for those few who are still able to make a go of it that they can continue to do so, and for the employees of the corporate farms that they are paid a living wage. I pray for those too who have lost their way of life due to the corporate climate of agriculture in this country. I try to buy locally now and try to buy organic when I can afford it in hopes it supports the ‘little guy.’ God Bless America and may we find a way to hang on and expand the values that built this country.

    1. Apparently you’ve never actually been in most areas where there is farmland. 90+% of all farms are still family owned and operated. The main reason that the number of farms have decreased, while the acres per farm have increased is due to the fact that many old farmers have retired or will retire with no family that wants to continue. The land gets put up for rent and nearby family farms add it to their acreage. Our operation has increased in size by over 1000% in the last forty years, yet we didn’t push one farmer of their land nor deprive someone of their way of life. Bigger areas to cover require bigger machinery to get everything done on time, hence the increase in machinery costs. Nice try, fits a narrative, but completely untrue. Btw, we farm some organic acres, and i can tell you the yield is less, the quality is lower and there is much more damage to the land due to the practices needed to control pests and weeds ( oh btw, certain pesticides are approved, and used in organic farming, which are also MUCH nastier than conventional products). Saying Organic food is safer and healthier is like saying a chocolate cupcake is healthier when you call it a muffin.

  15. i live on a farm and i thought i has going to have to call bs on some to all of the facts but it hit the spot… but you left to out we have respect like no one could think of and hard work don’t quite till the jobs done… all pretty much for nothing but a slap on the back

  16. Last evening my just married Daughter wanted 6 bales of straw. She came over with her pickup and I jumped in with her. We headed for the straw field and I mentioned, remember when you first drove the F150? She said yes I was 9 years old. We needed to pick up the fence posts and I needed a driver while I walked and loaded the fence posts. She did great but was really scared. We laughed about her experience. We picked up 22 bales off the field and returned in the dark. Another good farm experience.

  17. My mom was from a farm family. In the area of her parents farm, each was hundreds of acres. From the door, of the house, to the bus stop, was 5 miles. Her and her 6 siblings had to walk on the road that led from he house to the main road. They weren’t allowed to cut throw the fields due to the irrigation water that was up to their knees.
    Also, it didn’t matter if the sun was up or not, their mornings started around 4:30am and ended after dark – if someone had a light of some kind, to work the fields or had to collect food from their garden, for dinner.
    From what I’ve seen from the farms, in central Minnesota, they are a very hard working bunch and very serious when it comes to their crops. My Uncle is 1 of them. I’m grateful I learned from him, my relatives, and grandparents – that if you’re going to farm or garden, always do it right. The Rewards outweight the hard work you spend on doing them.

  18. Oh soda isn’t soda in Minnesota, it’s pop. And an icee is a slushie or a slushie is an icee. Been awhile so I can’t remember which way that 1 goes.

  19. Farming now for 37years and even though it’s been long hard hours, I wouldn’t change a thing. Hard work builds character and a greater appreciation for what we have and can do. Farm life is rewarding and helps feed the world! Thank a farmer today!

  20. Lunch, dinner, supper. Had this discussion many yrs ago with city nephew. I explained it thus, according to Webster- dinner is the main meal of the day. Supper is an evening meal. Lunch is anytime in between. On the farm the main meal of the day is at noon(dinner) . Supper is your evening meal. Lunch or snack is anything in between.

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