Growing up on a farm can feel like a curse when you are being roused out of bed in the predawn hours to help out with morning chores. However, as I spend more time away from the farm, I see my experiences as more of a a blessing.
I grew up on my family’s farm in Moscow Mills, Missouri. My father, grandfather, and uncle all worked together to run our farms — collectively known as Hoelting Farms. Our operation consisted of row crops, raising cattle and swine, and teaching life lessons I will never forget.
Teamwork. Working with family can be challenging. Tempers are going to flare at times and at other times you will have to try to work through fits of laughter. The best thing I took away from the farm is the ability to work with others to accomplish tasks and the skills to work with others effectively. Whether scrambling to get the feeding done before dark or the combine fixed before harvest, teamwork was the thing that always guided us to accomplish our goals.
Responsibility. As a current college student, this lesson is the one I am the most thankful to have learned at a young age. When livestock depends on you to be fed and cared for, you learn to be responsible for completing tasks assigned to you. This lesson followed me off the farm to school, jobs, and any task I work on.
Work Ethic. Farm work is hard work. At times the work seemed never ending, but it still had to be done to the best of my ability. Hoelting Farms is my family’s livelihood, and without a strong work ethic, we would not be able to continue our operation. The hard work helped me become more goal oriented and more efficient when completing tasks. These are skills that have translated directly into the work place.
Kindness. When living on a farm it is essential to be kind to not only one another, but also to those in your community. Farming communities are known for being close-knit and mine was no different. Whenever you needed help you would turn to your neighbors in the community, who would not think twice about dropping everything to assist. A little bit of kindness to a neighbor in need will come back to you when you are in need down the road.
Cherish Family. I was lucky enough to get to spend time with my family working on the farm every day. Some days were not always sunny, but I have memories that will last a lifetime that came from the farm. I realize not everyone gets the opportunity to spend time with immediate family members let alone his or her grandfathers and uncles as I have been able to. Each family member has shaped my life in some way by their guidance and support in matters on and off the farm.
As I said, farm life is both a blessing and a curse. I only wish more young people would have the opportunity to experience both.