MISCONCEPTIONS OF FARMING

There are misconceptions about everything in life. Religion, schooling, and sexuality are just a few. One common misconception that many people have are understanding someone else’s occupation. People always seem to have an opinion of what someone else does for a living and most of the time it is very skewed.

Farming, agriculture, and rural life are some of the many occupations that people have a misconception of. When someone who isn’t familiar with agriculture describes a farmer and their life, they would probably use the stereotype description. They would say that a farmer is someone that lives in a “hick town”, wears blue jean overalls, and talks with a southern twang. However, for those of us that farm, we know that this isn’t usually the case. People misunderstand what farmers do and what rural life actually consists of all the time and as farmers we wish that people could understand our life styles better.

There are five things I wish my classmates and peers around me would better understand about farming/agriculture/rural life:

bag of money1. For starters, everyone thinks that all farmers are rich and that is why they farm. I can’t think of a single farmer I’ve known whose goal was to get rich. People farm because they love it. Farmers farm out of a deep desire to help, to make a positive difference in the world. Farmers also farm simply because they realize that farming that it is truly necessary.

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2. People that live in a rural community understand that there is more out there then just farming. People tend to believe that since someone grew up in a small community that they don’t know that there is more to the world than a small town. Just because someone grew up in a rural community doesn’t mean that they have never seen a skyscraper or been on an airplane. Farming and small towns coincide because of the advantage of excess land not because the people are sheltered individuals.

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3. Just because you grew up on a farm, doesn’t mean that you will be a farmer the rest of your life. There is a common misconception that people who grow up on a farm will forever be farmers and never do anything else. Many children of farmers go to college and receive a degree and never farm another day in their life.

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4. There’s no future in agriculture. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. The people that do not believe that there is a future in agriculture obviously wants to stop eating. Fox News recently said that farmers are the “hot ticket” for job growth because it is completely necessary for everyone. People will forever need to eat and therefore there will need to be people supplying and taking care of what goes into our food.

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5. Farmers are uneducated. This is a myth and one we need to bust. The days are gone when you learned everything you needed to know about farming from your grandfather. This doesn’t mean we don’t use grandpa’s advice, since it is based on years and years of experience, however, it does mean that farmers today need post-high school training. They need training in many categories such as science, business, marketing, and communications. Farming is a life long learning process and will continue to need educated people doing it.

maschingGrace Masching
Illinois State University Student

SIGHTINGS FROM THE SILO …

I grew up on a fifth generation grain and livestock farm in central Illinois with my dad, mom and two brothers.  Our farm has a beautiful white farmhouse surrounded by vibrant red barns, a white wood fence, grain bins, trees, pasture and the acreage.  The highest point on the farm is the silo. The silo is a concrete, vertical structure made to hold silage, chopped corn, with iron ladders on the sides.  Our silo stands 61 feet tall, and I have climbed the silo only once with the help of my brothers. The view from there was amazing.  You can see every inch of the farm right around you to the miles that extend to Christian and Shelby Counties.  When giving direction to our friends on how to get to the farm, it was always stated with “Look for the silo!” because it stood out and was the only farm with a silo around us, so it was a landmark for many.Sightings from the Silo

My parents were working parents as my brothers and I grew up. My mom was a full time farm mom. She made sure that meals were on the table and my brothers and I had our homework and farm chores done. She was also a small business owner of Prairie Lady Productions, a business that made her flourish as a well-known agriculture historian allowing her to travel around Illinois singing and telling stories about living in the 1800’s on the historic prairie as the Prairie Lady. I can remember traveling with my mom as she performed at different festivals or churches all over the state.  (I also remember dressing up in prairie time period costumes and helping her in a few shows when I became older.)  When I was in the first grade she took on another job in Assumption, IL , at an insurance office.  At the end of her workday she would head north towards the silo to start our evenings on the farm.

My dad was a full time farmer, part-time livestock trucker and sale barn employee.  I remember going on short cattle hauls with my dad and taking the livestock to the sale barn to be sold.  The sale barn is where hay or straw can be taken to be sold and where livestock is sold to another farm or slaughtered for our food. Every Tuesday during my summer breaks I would go to work with him at the sale barn.   He would work in the back with the livestock and I would work in the café, either as a waitress or dishwasher (depending on what needed to be done).  When I was in high school my dad took a job as the assistant road commissioner where he would help maintain the roads and bridges in the township. He also was in charge of plowing snow in the winter and picking up debris after severe thunderstorms.  The entire township that he helped to maintain could be seen from the silo.Sightings from the Silo 2

It wasn’t until I was older with a job of my own and farm responsibilities that I truly understood how much time my parents dedicated to work.  My parents worked both outside of the farm and on the farm to help provide for the family.  To most that would be two jobs, to our family it was a job and a way of life. They would leave work to head home to the farm to work more.  In the evenings after school, my brothers and I would help Dad around the farm working on equipment, with livestock, or just doing regular daily maintenance on the farm, while Mom would be inside making a meal.  My mom always valued eating one meal during the day as a family. On typical nights like these when we were around the farm, it was easy for my mom to simply ring the dinner bell for us all to come in for family dinner.  However, during the Spring planting or the Fall harvest, a family meal meant Mom and I taking the meal to the field so we could all be together. Even though the dinner table was now a tailgate, what truly mattered was that we were all together with the silo still in view.

Alicia GullidgeAlicia Gullidge
Illinois State University Graduate Student

THROUGH THE LENS OF A FARM GIRL

It’s Video Week on Corn Corps! We are bringing you one video every day this week that celebrates Illinois agriculture, corn production, and farm family life.

Today’s video comes to us from the new Facebook page Keeping it Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl.  As the creator of this page, Erin Ehnle hopes to provide a wide open door to the world of agriculture, as it happens right here in central Illinois. She’s a farm girl and photographer all rolled into one. As a result, her page combines the art of photography with the happenings around her agriculture-based community.

In her first video, she features Kristi, who is the 6th generation to live on her family’s farm!