From The Outside Looking In

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.



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.

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