Super Heroes of Agriculture

It’s no secret that one of the biggest, if not the biggest obstacles farmers face is the misconceptions and fears about the food they raise.

The question is, will we be able to change that?

This morning, my little boy jumped on the school bus headed for first grade. Grinning from ear to ear, with his “Avengers” backpack snug on his shoulders. In that back pack was a John Deere combine with “tracks” (Grady thinks these things are the greatest thing since sliced bread) in a gallon zip lock bag ready for show and tell.

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This morning it dawned on me, that little boy that got on that big yellow school bus can have just as much impact, if not more of an impact sharing the truth of agriculture than me.

It is said, todays population is two generations removed from the farm. If my son goes to school sharing his love of agriculture he is sharing that with the third generation removed from the farm.

Granted, we live in a rural community and he goes to a very small school where he only has 25 kids in his entire class. But, even if he can open the eyes of one other child, it’s a step in the right direction.

The thing is, we aren’t just teaching consumers about our livelihood, we are teaching our children as well, which I often forget. They don’t come out of the womb with a basic Ag 101 knowledge (although, how cool would that be?). They learn right beside us.

We’re showing them how to responsibly treat our animals. We’re showing them how to care and maintain the land. We’re showing them that the food we raise is safe and our families eat it everyday.

My little boy went to school today, combine in hand, wearing an invisible cape for agriculture. Grinning ear to ear, sharing his stories of combines, corn, and cows.

Grady with his first big combine……this was the day he told me mommy thank you so much it’s the best. this had to be in 2013 or 2014.

Today, we may be the ones at the front lines fighting for agriculture but we can’t forget about the trainees beside us. Watching, listening, learning.

Growing along side of our crops, our animals, and our industry.

So today, as my little boy stands up in front of his class sharing his love for farming I can’t help but beam with pride. He chose to take a combine when he could’ve easily taken one of his transformers or robots.  It fills me with such joy knowing he enjoys something I am so passionate about. Most children, see their parents as their heroes. Today, Grady’s actions, made him mine.

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Share Your Story-what’s the worst that can happen?

I’m currently flying in a plane headed west out of Washington DC. I never thought this trip would happen, mostly because I’m terrified to fly. I shocked myself and I’m currently writing this post while getting the birds eye view of our country.

I’ve been in DC this week, attending the National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress. I am part of the Missouri Corn Association Corn Roots Leadership Academy. A group that focuses on creating leaders for our industry, to advocate for our issues as farmers.

Yesterday we went to Capitol Hill to meet with House of Representatives and Senators staff. I was so nervous about this trip. EXTREMELY nervous. I hate talking topics I’m not 100 percent knowledgeable on. It was WAY out of my comfort zone but I did it and quite frankly surprised the heck out of myself.

We’re all so unique and all have a different story to tell. Every farming operation and their practices used are different.

As corn producers our main concerns we took to Capitol Hill yesterday were the trade/tariff wars, ethanol, RFS, NAFTA, etc.

No one knows EVERYTHING about these topics. I myself think I only know 10 percent of what I need to. However, I am 100 percent sure on how these topics effect my farm.

We took the approach that as beginning farmers who are already struggling to keep the lights on, that all the decisions they make in this city greatly impact us– which they do.

I was floored when the staff we talked to at these offices of states who don’t grow corn were interested in our story. Some of them had never met a corn farmer. Some didn’t know the difference between field corn and sweet corn. Some didn’t have ethanol plants in their states… BUT they still listened.

The thing I took away from this trip is we all have our stories. Choosing to share these stories is what makes a difference. We have a great staff at the Missouri Corn Growers Association and on the National level too, but making that personal and sometimes emotional connection really brings it home.

Did our conversations sway a vote or make them take our side? Not necessarily. However, we are putting a face to the American farmer. We are giving them a perspective on the issues we face and young farmers and finding common ground and building relationships. We are fighting for an industry worth fighting for.

If we don’t share our story those who know nothing about our industry will.

I wasn’t great at it. I’m better at sharing my story through writing but yesterday really inspired me to encourage others to share their story.

If you are a young Missouri farmer interested in growing as a leader and sharing your story, contact the Missouri Corn Growers about the #CornRoots program. They are an amazing hard working group fighting for farmers everyday.

Sharing your story and voicing your concerns takes it to the next level.

It’s better to try and fail then not try and regret. I chose to share because of the two little ones I’m eagerly awaiting to see when I get off this plane. So write a Facebook post, send a tweet or call a local official or better yet one on the state and national level.

The American farmer is resilient, persistent and always willing to do what needs to be done to get the job done. So stand up, speak out because that what’s going to keep the lights on.

Dirty dishes, dirty clothes, dirty secrets.

Today I woke up in the clothes I wore yesterday.

Today I didn’t change out of those clothes I wore yesterday.

Right now, I’m still sitting in the clothes I wore yesterday with the hair I haven’t brushed.

Disgusting I know, but the reality is depression well quite frankly can be a witch.

I went to bed last night with every intention of today being a productive day. That didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t do anything productive until about 10 pm.

Then the guilt sinks in after a very unproductive day. I laid on the couch and watched a movie with the kids, I may have even fallen asleep. I drove to the gas station just to get a Pepsi because mommy had a headache. The counter top full of dishes, well it’s still there. The yard didn’t get mowed. I didn’t play with my kids. My husband didn’t get supper until 10:30. In my defense he wasn’t home until then.

Truth is, I did good to get out of bed today.

People who’ve never faced depression can’t understand. You’re seen as lazy as pulling an excuse, being over dramatic. I’m not going to lie sometimes it feels that way. I have a hard time looking past what others think of me, when lately I can’t push myself to believe that I’m not lazy or playing a pity party.

Want to know what triggered today. Last night we met friends to watch the fireworks. It was hard for me. Small talk is so hard for me, even with people I’ve known for awhile. I’m awkward. So socially awkward. My husband luckily evens that out, but still I’m incredibly weird.

Tomorrow is a new day. A new opportunity a bit of hope. Tomorrow I will be productive. Tomorrow can be 20x better then today or it can be similar to today.

Depression isn’t pretty. In fact it’s disgusting. It takes everything out of you. The joy you once felt doing something. Your energy. Your confidence. It takes your life. It takes your hope.

Tonight I made a list of things I need to get done. Tomorrow I hope to check those off one by one.

In all to God honesty that may not happen. I may wake up in the morning and not have the energy to even shower, or eat. My kids might get another frozen meal. That pile of dishes might get bigger. My husband might come home to no dinner and be out of clean clothes.

That’s just the honest truth. Life is hard. We must push through and I do for the two little ones currently asleep in the other room. We aren’t alone. Depression isn’t an excuse or the easy way out. It’s real. It’s life changing. It’s also something that can make you stronger.

If you are struggling today, you aren’t alone.

Let your dishes pile up.

Forget the laundry.

Your house might not be clean.

But you, you are here. You’ve survived another day another opportunity to push through. That’s what matters.

To the 18 year old me….

F6ED8A95-DBE1-414C-BB8C-70ACE5263B9EIt’s now the eve of my 30th birthday. A day I’ve been dreading for quite awhile. You see I had so much I wanted to accomplish, that I thought I would’ve accomplished by the time I was 30.

You see though, most of these things I haven’t accomplished.

My 18 year old self, well 17 year old self at the time I graduated had so many goals with no obstacles standing in my way. I had a goal and I was going to make it happen.

Then, life got in the way. Not necessarily in a bad way. In a way my 18 year old self couldn’t even begin to understand because I hadn’t truly lived life.

A college degree, a fancy job title, and awards were all things I had in my sight.

The summer after I graduated I took a HUGE step, participating in a beauty pageant in which I was forced to do something- public speaking, that I was absolutely scared of. I needed the scholarship money for college to earn that degree, so I went for it.

With that leap I gained some experience. I shocked myself and I shocked others around me—and I needed that. I continued to surprise myself over the next three years with what I never in my life thought I would do and succeed at but I stepped out on a limb because I had my eye on the prize.

I fell in love the first week of my freshmen year of college which I hadn’t planned on and wasn’t expecting it to get in the way of my thoroughly thought out plan but in hindsight it did.

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Then life threw me a real curve ball with the roller coaster ride called bipolar and anxiety disorder. Something else I wasn’t planning on.

But all these things I wasn’t expecting quickly manifested into life experiences and growing in ways I hadn’t planned.

My 18 year old self was living in a fantasy world. A world where life goes as planned. Today as a 29 year old (for the next 30 minutes anyways) I am living reality.

I may not have the 4 year Ag degree as planned. I do have an Associates degree so that’s better then nothing.

I may not have a fancy job title but I have the blessing of my job title being mom. I am blessed to call myself a farmer. I’m blessed to do something I truly love even though I NEVER thought I would be where I’m at today.

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I’m stronger because of a disease that has torn my life apart and tortured my brain in ways that are unimaginable. I am here today because some man who may deserve better chose to stick by my side even though he could’ve easily walked away.

I may not have the fancy truck, home and clothing I expected to have at this age but I do have 200 black beauties, a farm truck and the appropriate attire to complete my daily tasks as a farmer.

I may not work as a vet or work in an office for an ag corporation but I do report to two of the greatest blessings in my life, daily.

So to my 18 year old self- you’ve made it. You’ve made it to the big 30. Those goals you set for yourself, well they’ve  been met. Just in ways you couldn’t even begin to understand at your age.

You have a blessed life. A full life. A life I am grateful for. A life formed from success, failure and love.

A life, unexpected. A life that you’re lucky to have.

So tomorrow I will wake up 30, a day I’ve been dreading because I haven’t accomplished the things I set out to.

Tomorrow I will wake up to two little ones calling me mommy and telling me they love me. Tomorrow I will feed my cows and soak in another gorgeous sunset as it sets over the farm. Tomorrow I will be grateful for what I’ve been given. Tomorrow I will smile because I’ve learned what’s important in life and realize I’ve exceeded the goals I once set for myself. Ive failed, I’ve grown, I’ve conquered but most of all I’ve discovered what life is really about. It’s about living in the moment, being thankful for what you have and looking forward to what’s in store.

Heres to the next 30 years. Here’s to being grateful. Being realistic. Giving myself credit for learning and growing from my mistakes and living life as a mother, as a wife, as a farmer, as a woman with no plan but to find happiness in the things that don’t go as planned.

 

 

 

 

 

From The Outside Looking In

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Gorgeous sunset one evening at the farm

Eventually the things we take for granted will be taken away from us. We never know when our last day will be.

In this case, I’m not referring to death but to our last day physically working on the farm.

My husbands grandfather due to some health reasons had to retire from farming and ranching about two years ago. He lost his leg to diabetes and has had a rough couple of years but he is doing really well now.

3 Generations

My husband Seth, our son Grady, and his Grandfather Bud. Four generations would be represented but Seth’s father passed away just one year prior.

In his prime “Bud” as everyone calls him though his name is William ran 1650 cow calf pairs on 8500 acres of pasture and farm ground. He built this farm through hard work, passion, and doing things the right way.

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Bud watching his equipment he spent years gathering being sold at his auction.

Today, Bud is basically home bound. He takes dialysis three times a week. He maybe has a doctors appointment here and there and he goes to church on Sunday.

This man use to spend every waking hour on his farm. He raised his cattle right. He has had a closed herd since the 70’s. He spent everything he had in him on that farm. He took pride in his land and cattle and for that reason he is a well respected man in our area.

We stop by his house which is attached to a piece of ground that we rent from him as much as possible. A couple weeks ago we moved some first calf heifer pairs to this little pasture. Seth and I have been able to start retaining heifers, which is an amazing feeling. All the cattle we own came out of Bud’s herd-That closed herd. I shouldn’t say all we do have 19 that came from a sale barn but we don’t keep their calves. So the heifers we have, come out of a closed herd that has been that way since the 70’s. We hope to replace every cow eventually with a heifer that has been retained from Bud’s closed herd.

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This is gorgeous place where we rent 260 acres and run our oldest group (my favorites) on year round

The other day the kids and I stopped to visit. The kids were in the other room playing with their cousins and Bud and I were at the kitchen table just discussing how things were going on our operation. Not long after we started talking I looked out the window to find Seth (my husband) and his buddy Chris bringing in a wet bale and a dry bale for the heifers. Bud wheeled himself to the door. That day was extremely windy so he wasn’t able to go out on the porch.

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Bud and my son Grady and my nephew Jack

As I watched him, my eyes honestly began to tear up, though I quickly wiped that away. I was still sitting at the table at that point but through the storm door I was still able to see what was going on out there. Watching Bud you could see him fidget with joy, trying to sit up higher in his wheel chair to take it all in. That entire time he looked out the window not once did he turn or take his eyes off what was going on out there. He was basically on the outside looking in on the operation.

When they were finished with putting out that hay and drove off, Bud turned to me and said,”That is what it’s all about, my legacy, you kids are carrying on what I had started with my cows.” I looked back at him literally trying to hold back tears of happiness and said,”but those are your cows, those heifers came from your herd- You never lost your herd, we are just continuing to build it.” I have an immense amount of pride sharing the fact that we are continuing on with the herd of Bud Lemons a well known and respected man in this area. Time and time again that afternoon he just kept saying,”you don’t know how much I miss it, Brit.” That is where this blog begins.

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My daughter Kinze feeding our latest group of heifers we’ve kept

Seth’s cousin Dane, also bought cows from Bud at the same time we did and he as well is doing a good job living on the legacy of the family farm.

That night, as I was tossing and turning trying to fall asleep, that moment with Bud just kept rolling through my mind and I just felt that this could be a good story to share. I’ve been sitting on the notion of writing it and finally decided to sit down and do it.

All of us in the industry, love it. We don’t do it for the money or the glory. We do it, because we love working the ground, watching something grow from the beginning and harvested at the end. I would say a majority of those working on a farm are the next generation to take over that farm and they work hard beside the older generations to keep building what they have started. The love of the land and animals is deeply embedded in our souls. We love feeding the world and we love the sense of pride we get from doing so.

Bud may never actually step foot out in the cattle pasture again. I think that is the thing that has been the hardest on him. Something he was so passionate about and so dedicated to, his ENTIRE life was basically ripped out from beneath him. Those cattle were more then just cattle they were his girls. His pride and joy. Now, the only cattle he sees is what he happens to pass on the way to dialysis, church and the pasture around his home.

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A group of fall calvers off in the sunset

I personally often get so wrapped up in how difficult farm life is. How many struggles and brick walls we have to face. Sometimes I let it overwhelm me and I lose sight of the big picture. That day sitting down with Bud brought me back to reality.

My time on this farm is limited. I can choose to let all the problems consume me or I can enjoy something I am so passionate about while I still can. I love working on the farm- getting my hands dirty. Smelling the silage bale as it’s unrolled to the cows. Watching that corn pop up in rows (I can’t help but sing the Tim McGraw song when typing that). Seeing the light in my children’s eyes as they witness a calf being born or the joy on their face when they get to ride in the tractor with daddy. I love spending my days in the tractor in the summer jamming out to my 90’s country and raking acres and acres of hay. I love being able to tell someone when they ask me what I do for a living , that I’m not just a mom, a wife, but I’m also a farmer. I am blessed to be able to smell the corn being harvested out of the field. Watch the beans become gold in color. I’m able to learn a new task when given the chance. I’m grateful to work beside my husband not only living out Bud’s legacy but beginning our own.

Our days on this earth are limited but also our days on our farms are limited. There will come a day when I’ll no longer be able to carry out the tasks on the farm. There will be days where I have to sit back and watch as someone younger steps in and helps me because I’m physically unable. Then their will be that day. The day my last bucket of feed drops out of my hands. The day I unroll my last bale of hay. The last day I can step out and grab the ears of my favorite cow and rub her head. Hopefully, (crossing my fingers) there will be the first day (it’s on my bucket list) I run a combine and the last day I dump that load of beans in the semi. The last day, when hopefully my grandchildren have decided to come back to the farm and I can look out my window and see them taking care of my legacy.

Our days our numbered. One day we will be on the outside looking in. Whether we choose to embrace what we’ve been given or let it beat us down, there will be the day we look out the window and think to ourselves- man do I miss what I use to do. We can’t take one minute for granted not just in life, but on our farms as well. We are blessed to live the best lifestyle out there. We raise food for the world starting with a little seed and a little baby animal. We raise strong families with good values. We work towards a goal of building a legacy not for ourselves but for our family. One day that legacy will be out of our control. It will be found looking out that glass window or door. It will be the moment we realize we are so lucky to have done what we can in hopes that our hard work continues on.

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So until that day, I will choose to embrace the time I have on this farm. This glorious life I’ve been given. It may not be all cupcakes and roses now. Some day down the road it will be the thing I miss the most. I hope in the coming months we can get sweet Bud out of the house and into the pasture even if just driving him around looking at the cows. Spending those few moments with him that day gave me a brief moment of the outside looking in, until my day comes I’m going to choose to open my eyes, take in the smells and the atmosphere of the farm and cherish the love I have inside for feeding the world.

When my day comes, I will look out that window, look at what we have built and hopefully my children can get a glimpse of their future with watching me look from the outside to the inside of what they continue to build. To some its just a window, to others like Bud its his seat to the life of the outside looking in.

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Thank A Farmer

As the end of “Thank A Farmer Week” draws near.

It’s important we continue to thank them all year.

For waking up early, for braving the heat.

To working non stop to provide the food we eat.

For missing family dinners and date nights.

For raising our food safely and right.

For working long hours despite the short pay.

They continue to work day after day.

They are passionate people, some of the greatest on earth.

They witness death, struggles, but also birth.

They place their seed in the ground praying it will grow.

It could be harmed by pests and the weather, they never know.

Regardless of the outcome they do what they do.

Because their passion in life is feeding people, including you.

So if you get stuck behind a slow tractor on the road somewhere.

Their life is more important then hurrying to get there.

They have our best interest at heart, they definitely do.

They take care of what they produce, not just for them but for you.

Show them you trust them and respect what they do.

Give them some credit for what they do for you.

Thank them when you see them and give them a hand.

They will take that gratitude back to their land.

They will continue to work harder, become more efficient and wise.

They will continue to fight even though some consumer still despise.

So let’s trust our farmers. Listen when they share

If we don’t, they have more they have to fight all year.

So here’s to you farmers. The ones working the land.

We are thankful for what you do, for producing all that you can.

Shining the Light on Ag

Today, while scrolling through Facebook I came across a post by Kate Lambert with Uptown Farms. She had posted a picture of her holding an egg, talking about store bought eggs and why she chooses to buy them. Link to her post here. She had posted it a few days ago but it keeps popping up in my feed because my friends keep sharing it. Yep, she’s pretty awesome. Anyways, today I noticed comments that were being made towards her and Agriculture in general and it stopped me in my tracks.

Everyone in society seems to have an opinion and most of us choose to use social media to share that opinion. At what point though, should those opinions become disrespectful and down right ignorant? I’m not a vegan. I don’t agree with some of the reasons vegans choose to be vegans but I don’t go around bad mouthing every vegan in sight.

Kate and others on the comments were doing a great job respectfully responding to people’s opinions and concerns. However, some of those bully trolls as I like to call them, were down right hateful and unwilling to listen to Kate’s side of the story.

It is so hard at times to take the high road when someone is bashing and being unreasonable with their beliefs about something you are so passionate about. It’s so hard not to lose it, when the opposer won’t take the time to listen and be considerate of the story. Instead they are to concerned with the movement. The whole we are vegan, we don’t believe animals should die, they are like humans mentality.

I feel like that is the biggest thing that continues to expand the gap between consumer and producers. Consumers aren’t willing to listen. They see what others post on social media. They see what the news reports, I doubt many vegans watch RFDTV. They choose to believe in something just because they think the way we raise food and livestock is wrong. We can share our story over and over but until those who don’t understand our industry choose to open their eyes and ears it’s going to be an on going battle.

We need strong Agvocates for our industry. People like Kate Lambert. We need to share our story to every outlet possible. May that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or just your local radio or news station.

We can’t change the way people think. We can’t just magically one day let them see the light. All of us in the Ag industry are so passionate about our industry. If we weren’t we wouldn’t stick through it. I wish there was a way to snap our fingers and all those fearful consumers gain a little common sense.

We don’t wake up every morning thinking about how many gallons of pesticides we can dump on our crops or how many doses of antibiotics that we can give our cattle in hopes of getting back at all those anti-ag. Instead we wake up asking ourselves what we can do to make our farm more sustainable and efficient? How can we reduce our use of pesticides? How can we keep our calves healthier so less antibiotics are needed? How can we as an industry show hesitant consumers that we really have their best interests at heart?

Our children eat the food we raise. Our family eats the food we raise. Why on earth would we expect a consumer to eat something if we wouldn’t feed it to our own families? We don’t. We just hope and ask that consumers take the time to listen to our story. Ask questions they may have. We are more then willing to have them tag along on our farm and look at the hard work that goes into raising food.

Haters can hate but at the end of the day we as producers know how great our industry is. How bad we long for consumers to trust us and listen to our story, our side. They can’t take away our passion and our pride. They can’t take away what we are born to do.

Hopefully, with the push of social media. With more farmers joining the initiative to share their story, we can change the minds of hesitant consumers. It’s not an easy task but our industry is full of some of the strongest people on earth.

We will continue to wake up every morning thinking about how we can make the soil we are maintaining and the stock we are taking care of the best that it can be. That’s all that we can do. If the best we can do is reaching one consumer a day then so be it. It’s like trying to grow and expand your farm. It’s a slow growing process. It takes a lot of nurturing and research but eventually you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In this case that light will hopefully be the last piece of a bridge that connects us with the consumer.

Bridging the Gap

How lucky are we to live the life we live?

We nourish the ground and stock and in return it gives.

Our industry is one of a kind.

It’s hard work but the people don’t mind.

You see, we love what we do.

We enjoy working the land and providing for you.

We plant the seed in the spring. Harvest it in the fall.

We tend to our crop and our stock at every beckoning call.

We fight the rain, the cold and the miserably hot.

We raise the food safely and correctly though sometimes the consumer thinks not.

The gap between the consumer and us has grown to wide.

It is our goal to show them, we produce our food with so much pride.

For many of us, this is all we have ever known.

If given the chance we hope the true story can be shown.

We would happily open our farm to you.

To show you the process and the troubles we go through.

To answer your questions, and listen to your concerns.

It could be an experience where we both can learn.

We are blessed beyond belief to live the lifestyle we do.

Don’t hesitate to call or ask. We are more then happy to share it with you.

So farmers and ranchers open your ears, your eyes, and your farm.

Open up to the consumers and show their food is produced with no harm.

Agriculture is in our blood, it pumps through our veins and our heart.

Now it is the time to bridge the gap and do our part.

Show the consumer how much your job means to you.

How you raise their food safely, it’s what we were born to do.

Share your story, the process, your livelihood.

Share for the sake of the industry if you could.

We can’t let the consumer be afraid of what we produce.

We can’t let others tell our story and social media run loose.

Our job may be loving the stock and the land.

In today’s day and age our industry needs a helping hand.

So don’t get mad at the next consumer who disrespects what you do.

Instead, share your story, allowing them to see the real you.

The farmer who pours every ounce into their farm.

Who produces their food without any harm.

The farmer who loses yields or calves or even your livelihood.

Yet, no matter how bad the troubles may be you still see the good.

Show them how proud you are, of the work you do.

It won’t just benefit them it will help you.

We are an industry, united as one.

We will work endlessly until the job is done.

Let’s join together and bridge the gap.

Let’s share our story and make 2018 the best year yet.

 

 

 

New Year……New Station

All of social media is about to be flooded with peoples New Year Resolutions. Today is New Years Eve after all and people who have their crap together have already been thinking about this. I personally, have been procrastinating because frankly I don’t want to think about all I need to change and do.

As I sit here in my sweatpants that are fitting a little tighter than they were at the beginning of the year. Eating a full bag of Kettle Cooked Chips, gazing down the hallway of laundry shame (probably 10 loads at least, just waiting) I can easily think of three things I need to work on…..eating healthier, working out, and keeping my house organized and clean.

Truth is though, I’m going to continue to put those things on the back burner because I’ve decided my New Years Resolution is to take more time for myself and love who I am.

As moms we often focus so much on our children that we don’t take the time we need. Lately, I’ve found myself having a shorter fuse when it comes to keeping my cool with the kids. I can’t enjoy my time with my kids because I’m to stressed out with all the things I need to do or should be doing.

So this year, I’m going to attempt not to feel guilty or that I need to rush when I drop my kids off or leave the kids with the husband so I can run an errand. I always rush around like a chicken with its head cut off because I feel like I don’t deserve the me time. Not anymore….it’s a new year so it’s a new philosophy.

Most of my alone time in the past year has been spent with cows. I’m not complaining one bit. I love my girls. I hope this year to trade some of the time with those girls to an actual girls night with some actual women not bovine. Go to a movie, go to a concert, take an art class…….

The next part is the trickier one……love myself and who I am. I have struggled so much with this one and quite honestly I think it causes 80 percent of the problems in my life. No one is harder on myself than I. Grady’s teachers at parent teachers conferences told us that if Grady was to get in trouble at school he would be harder on himself then they would. It was like a buzzer went off in my head. Our children truly do soak in what they see and hear. I am so hard on myself. I’m constantly saying sorry for things I don’t need to say sorry for. They have started to do that and it crushes me.

I need to love myself so they have a positive example in life. I don’t want my daughter to think she has to dress a certain way because all the other girls do. I stress out because I’m not the girliest and I have a hard time feeling like I fit in because of this. I don’t want my daughter to be or act this way. She needs to be true to who she is…..and I need to show her that.

They need to see a happy mom. They need to see the old me shine through. They need to see me smiling, laughing, and having fun. Instead of the crying and self criticism. They need to see me happy with who I am not stressing about who I need to be.

So as we head into the new year……I will be putting on my flannel and boots instead of the cute girly outfit I picked out for the evening. I am who I am. So as the new year begins I may not be truly happy with who I am but by next year at this time…..I’ll be on the right track. The song You Make Lovin’ You Easy by Zac Brown keeps playing in my head. If I’m happy and comfortable with who I am there’s no reason I can’t love who I am.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year…..may you have the strength to match your resolution. I know I’m going to need every little pep talk I can give myself tonight to start off where I need to be at midnight. So farewell, the train is leaving the station, next stop…….Love Yourself City.

Real Farmwives of Rural America

Reality tv is everywhere. Like it or not it’s there and it’s something a lot of people are obsessed with. I won’t lie I’ve always been one to watch the Bachelor and Bachelorette —not exactly sure why I continue to, but I do.

However, when flipping through the channels the other night “Real Housewives of Orange County” popped up. I didn’t watch it that night but I had listened to an episode while cleaning the kitchen one day (one of the kids was asleep on the floor and I didn’t want to risk waking them up by changing it). Seeing that on the screen though triggered something in my weird mind. I wondered what it would be like if a film crew followed a group of farm wives or moms around and called it the “Real Farmwives of Rural America”.

The real show is filled with dramatic scenes, makeup, hair and alcohol. I guess all things that make up reality tv.

But what would it look like if a crew followed a group of farm women around, on a daily basis?

First off you wouldn’t find women decked in designer clothing and makeup caked on their face. You would find women in suitable attire for the current season. Flannel, work boots, gloves–their hair pulled back in a ball cap or stocking cap.

You wouldn’t find them spending their days at a spa or shopping until they drop. Instead, you would see them waking up at the crack of dawn–getting their kids fed and on the school bus then tending to the livestock and crop–or in some cases headed into work their full or part time job in town. They do say behind every successful farmer is a woman who works in town. Those that do work in town or somewhere off the farm will come home after getting off to take care of their kids and whatever needs to be done on the farm.

You won’t find these women in BMW’s, Limos or Lexus’. You may find them in an older farm truck that smells like silage and cow manure. You may find them in an SUV that can also double as a parts truck for their farm because it’s carried more parts for repairs then it has people. Or you may find them in a truck that the contents of the back of their trucks makes you think they are in the rodeo business. In my case you find a truck with two car seats, pounds of dirt and manure, various farm supplies rolling around on the floor board and enough crumbs to feed a family of four.

Their weekends won’t consist of costly nights out or fun vacations. It may consist of preparing an enormous amount of meals that will be easy to transport to the men in the field during planting or harvest. It may consist of dragging the kids out of the bed at all times of the day or night to check on heifers calving. It may consist of running to the feed store to pick up feed or doing the grocery shopping with kids in tow. Or it could simply be enjoying a fire and watching the sun set over their farm.

I have nothing against the women on the real show. Everyone is entitled to live the life they want and that is the life they live.

I often what the people who have long passed would think or how they would react if they awoke one morning and were tossed into todays world. It’s mind-blowing the amount of change that has occurred over the years. Heck, just from the time I’ve graduated high school to where I am now I am amazed. It is troubling the types of things that are okay in todays society that weren’t in years past.

I think as farm women or just moms in rural America we can be seen as living a boring life. We live in areas where it takes an hour plus to get to a town large enough to have a selection for shopping. We spend our days working hard to provide for our family beside our husbands or in some cases on our own.

I’ve recently become obsessed with the show Farmher on RFDTV. If you haven’t seen it you should check it out.  You can check them out here—>FarmHer Website

A woman named Marji has started this brand to update the image of agriculture and shine the light on women in agriculture. This show has inspired me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. To know there are women out there who are strong enough to run farms, start farms, and stand up for agriculture. I guess in a way this is the show that shares with the world the Farm/Ranch Wives of the agriculture industry. I have added multiple of these women on snapchat and it’s so fun to follow them on their everyday adventures.

One woman in particular Meredith Bernard who has a blog, a photography business, and home schools her children on top of the everyday farm duties. Her blog can be seen here —>Meredith Bernard. I love following her story. I love following her mishaps and daily struggles as I can relate to her in so many ways. I think it is great that technology can unite and be a way of connecting with other women around the country.

I guess in my mind if you followed a group of farm women on a daily basis and created a reality show you would find women devoted to their faith, their family, and their farm. You would see women who struggle and continue to go on for the sake of their family. You find women who aren’t afraid to share with consumers at the grocery store why they shouldn’t be scared of GMOs or non organic products. You would see women who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and play their role on the farm. I think the key thing you would find is women who instead of breaking each other down, you would find women who build each other up.

We have so much in common. We all struggle during harvest and planting season because we basically become single moms. We all have to deal with explaining death of animals and the process of reproduction to our children. We have to pull corn and soybeans out of the washer during harvest. We have to know that our men want to be there at events that they often have to miss due to their job. We have to realize family vacations may not ever happen because livestock have to be tended to. We have to settle with date nights in tractor cabs. Most of all, we have to realize we have each other. We are one big community of women across the country that have so much in common.

So, no our show might not be as exciting as the Real Wives of Whatever County or City. One thing for sure is that our show will be REAL. We are real people living a fulfilling life feeding the world.

So to all the other farm women reading this—know our life may not be as fancy as most–but it’s still as fun filled, exciting, and wonderful. We witness the birth of baby calves. We witness our corn crop poking up out of the ground and being harvested in the fall. We witness our babies learning about the realities of life and building strong work ethics. We witness the magic of feeding the world. In my eyes, we witness the best life there is to raise a family in.

So fellow farm women……..

We may not be fancy. We may struggle to keep it all together. We may have dirty hands and hair that hasn’t been washed in days under a ball cap (or maybe that’s just me). We may spend more time at the parts store then we do with our kids at the park like other moms. People may think we are single because our men are never around. We may think we are doing a crappy job because you feel like all your attention gets poured into the farm instead of your kids. You may get aggravated at a consumer who bases their judgement on misleading information. You may feel alone and overwhelmed (maybe that’s just me too). Just know though…… you aren’t.

All across America you will find women just like you. All taking part in the reality show of farm life. Keep on keeping on. We are all alike no matter how far away from each other we may be. We should use resources like snapchat, Instagram, facebook and twitter. The closest we may ever get to having our own reality show is FarmHer…..and that is fine by me. Their crew has done an amazing job empowering women and shining the light on women in the industry.

So no I don’t think E, USA, or Bravo are going to pick up a show called “Real Farmwives of Rural America” but I do know FarmHer is a great step in the right direction of showing America how much women do contribute to the agriculture industry.

P.s.  Follow me on snap chat at britlyn88 and on twitter at WilbanksfarmHER

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