Rednecks, dumb, southern, hicks, cowgirls. All words that get used when I tell people I was raised on a farm. Of course all of these ridiculous stereotypes come from people who don’t even have a relative clue what it is that they are talking about, but still– after hearing these misguided representations of what my background really is repeated enough times, Im noticing myself talk less about what I came from. It may not be right but sometimes it is just easier to not have to explain that “no, I do not keep animals in my house or wear boots everywhere” and “yes my parents have all their teeth”.
It used to be that farming could be a secondary option, if college or another job didn’t work out, there was always a place for a young man to come back and work on the farm. However, times have changed. We don’t live in an agricultural generation where farming is a job that just anyone can do.
Farmers must be life-long learners. As the industry and world evolves, he must either evolve with it or be left in the dust. There is always newer, better technology being developed, but if he doesn’t know how to use it– it is useless to him. For instance, there are apps that tell when and where it is best to plant crops. Tractors that you can program to practically run themselves, and computers that can generate the exact yield for each acre in a field.
Obviously, much of the attribution of agriculturalists success has come from secrets and knowledge that have been passed down from generation to generation, but in today’s evolving industry farmers need to be capable of much more than just running a tractor. Im not saying that being a farmer is the most intellectual job a person can hold, but what I am saying is that there is a lot more education necessary than people give credit for. Some areas do not require anything past a high school education, but others do. A farmer must be a businessman, he has to learn how to watch the markets and crop prices. He has to be a last minute veterinarian when there is no other option. He has to be a meteorologist, an environmentalist, a salesmen, and a crop science expert. A farmer does everyone else’s jobs each day, and receives little recognition.