It’s the constant “get to know you” question.
Depending on the circumstances of the meeting, it might follow “Which kids are yours?” or “How long have you gone to church here?” or even “So, how do you know John?” if John has just introduced us. But inevitably, the conversation arrives at “So what do you do?” And that’s a question I love answering.
Because I honestly, legitimately love what I do.
It’s a sad fact of life that there are MANY who do not love what they do. Some who are living the majority of their life in a cubical when they’d rather be outside; some that despise driving and are forced to drive hundreds of miles every week. But for me, aside from the inevitable pain of waking up too early on a Monday morning, I actually enjoy going to work.
For starters, I enjoy writing. I have a creative mind (which always seemed at odds to me with my animal science degree) and even my free time is spent crafting, sewing, crocheting, and writing. Coming to work every day and writing is second nature for me.
Secondly, I love the people I work with. Yes, every group of people has its problems, whether it’s the local softball team you play on or the small group at church. Our office is no different. But at the end of the day, I actually find myself wanting to spend time with the people in my office AFTER WORK. I like them that much. And I’m no fool; I realize that this is a rarity.
But mostly, I just love farmers. I love agriculture. I love the feeling of being a small part of the fact that people all over the world are eating because of our industry. I love the idea that this industry actually creates something from nothing using only the soil and water and air. Think about it … you plant one kernel of corn, and through some miracle, you get hundreds. It’s a little bit like experiencing all the miracles of having a baby every single year without the morning sickness or the swollen ankles.
The farmers that I work for are good people. Honest people who believe in work ethic and treating people right and preserving their heritage. They appreciate old farm houses and they work in the barn that their great grandfather built. They wear dirt and oil and grease with pride because they understand the value of blood, sweat and tears.
They stop in at our office just to say hello (and we’re actually happy to see them!) They bring their granddaughters and grandsons along because they decided on an impromptu lunch date with the next generation. They leave here with said grandchild on their lap, letting them steer the vehicle out of the parking lot before strapping them into the carseat behind.
Our farmers get stressed, but they are faithful people and they all understand that God has their back and that they WILL live to farm another day. And when it’s stressful in the office, it’s usually because we realize that 99 percent of our job is to deliver for them and make sure that they DO live to farm another day.
They toil and sweat and work and stress over each little plant. Over the water and whether there’s enough or too much and are they keeping it clean? Over the soil and their farming methods and are they doing the best they can so that their kids can farm? Over new technologies that are hard to understand but are in the best interests of the future generation. So they toil and sweat and work and stress some more.
In the fall, they pray for bounty. For the fruits of their labor. They yearn for the smell of harvest, for a glass of iced tea in a mason jar, for retired farmers who stop by in a pickup truck to watch and chat and relive the miracle again and again every year.
Who doesn’t want to be a part of this miracle? The miracle of life and nature, of bonding with the earth and the next generation, of knowing where true value in this life lives.
I love farmers. I love this industry. I love my job. And I’m grateful.