I wasn’t always a farmer.

Before I married a farmer, I looked at the world a little differently.  But after nearly 40 years on the farm, I have learned some very valuable lessons that apply to both farm life AND my day job.

Be prepared!Jim and Pam Robbins
Living out in the country miles from town a wife must be prepared to do almost everything from the stores of supplies “on hand”!  This can range from making a cake to feeding four or more men in a moment’s notice.  Farmer’s “offices” are in the hundreds of acres in their fields, either getting soil ready in the spring for planting or harvesting the crop in the fall and a farm wife must be able to whip something up in a moment’s notice that may have to feed grown men for their midday meal.

No running to McDonald’s for the farmer! Rather farm wives must have ingredients to prepare a well-balanced meal to take to the fields or prepare for a mid-day visit by your farmer family and menus that can be prepared quickly or travel in containers to where the working farmer may happen to be.

I learned shortly after being married in August 1980 that I was responsible for feeding four grown men which included delivering that meal to the field. I had to learn to cook quickly, and that meant keeping the shelves in my kitchen stocked with ingredients that I could prepare to make a large meal in a couple of hours. I learned to “cook big” and still can do it today!

Expect to treat any injury that might show up at the back door!
I’m a nurse so this one stands out for me.  When a farmer injures themselves they seem to do it big. Farming, or as they list it Agriculture, is one of the most hazardous occupations according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  The registered nurse in me always kept an emergency bag of bandages and gauze ready to go to make a visit – especially to the field.

One day my brother in law came to my back door covered in bean dust holding his glove over his other hand. I had no idea what to expect – would a finger be hanging on by thread?  A deep cut in his hand?  He took away the glove and a large slice was in his palm. He has gotten too close to the combine blades that cut the soybeans. A trip to the hospital was on our agenda for the evening. Several stitches later we arrived back home and he went back to the fields. Never a dull moment with farmers. Farmers work long hours. Being fatigued contributes to injuries and praying my farmers stay safe is always on daily rosary beads!

You can do everything correctly but if it doesn’t rain it doesn’t matter!
The focus on weather before becoming a farmer’s wife is quite different after becoming a farmer’s wife. “Before farming” (BF) weather could be seen as an inconvenience – if rain was going to interrupt your daily plans.  As a farm wife the importance of timely moisture from God’s sky to grow crops at the crucial time rain is needed was a new topic I had to quickly learn.

The conversation about the weather is something farmers and their families never get bored with discussing! Will it rain, how much will it rain, how hard will it rain, will there be wind, hail, is there going to be an early frost. The list of weather conditions can vary as the seconds in a day! BF weather was simple – do I grab an umbrella?  After marrying a farmer, I’m now concerned if our fields get enough moisture to produce a crop that we can sell. If we have no crop we have no money…our income is off the yearly harvest of our crops.

City folks go to work and get a check every week. If it doesn’t rain at the right time for the crops there may be no check! That means that year is a bust. So when you see a rain cloud in the sky note if it growing season for crops and say a prayer that the farmer gets enough moisture to grow a crop to feed his family and the world!

One U.S. farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people and is the leading producer of more than 50 foods of importance to diets throughout the world.

Pam Robbins
Registered Nurse & Farmer
Northern Illinois


About corncorps

As Illinois' corn farmers, we're proud to power a sustainable economy through ethanol, livestock and nutritious food. We love agriculture, the land and CornBelters baseball.See or follow us on Twitter,
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