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February 9, 2024
Five days from today, some of you are going to be scrambling for thoughts on what you should give your significant other for Valentine’s Day.
Now, at the risk of profiling and making great generalizations, it’s my considered and educated opinion that it’s likely going to be the men of my readership with this challenge. I’ve done extensive surveying of my female friends in relationships, and I’ve gathered some options into what you can do to make this Valentine’s Day (and really, every day) better in your households.
Just consider me Cupid for Farmers.
Option 1. Flowers and a nice, thoughtful card are fine, really. Unless she’s got allergies, a nice bouquet of flowers brightens a February with some cheer on the kitchen table.
The card should be one that you picked out yourself, without her prompting, took it home, found a pen on your own, wrote at least three things that you love and admire about her inside, and signed with your own name. Bonus points if you, yourself, haul out the craft paper and crayons and sit down with the kids and help them make their own cards for your partner.
Option 2. Dinner out is nice, but don’t make her make the plans. Gentlemen, if you can remember the exact specs of 500 different pieces of farm equipment, but you can’t list three of your partner’s favorite restaurants, try harder. If you’re really stumped, call her friends and ask them.
Don’t put down that phone though, because then you’re going to use “the Google” for more than finding a YouTube video to help you fix a sprayer. You’re going to look up that restaurant’s contact information, check to see if you can get a reservation and make the reservation.
Then, you’re going to arrange child care for the evening — your family or hers are your first steps if you don’t know your regular babysitter’s information. (And, let me also remind you, you should have that information in your phone right there along with the co-op.)
You’re going to tell her what time you’ll be leaving and an inkling of how dressy she’s going to need to look, and then you’re going to drive to the restaurant, hold the door for her, and showcase those table manners your mother tried desperately to instill in you.
Option 3. Your partner may enjoy a day at the spa, or some time to herself. She may tell you, “I just don’t want to worry about anything for one day.”
So, you may think a gift card to a spa, or for a massage, may be perfect. And, it’s a great start. But you still have some work to do for this gift.
She really, really, really doesn’t want to think about anything for a day. She means it.
So, first, you’re going to check with her friends, again, if you don’t know which spa or masseuse she usually uses. You’re going to purchase the gift card yourself. You’re going to put it in a Valentine’s card that you selected and purchased and wrote a thoughtful note inside just for her.
Then, you’re going to arrange child care if you need to do so. If you choose to handle this task yourself, you’re going to make sure that the house is clean to her standards before she comes home. All toys put away. Dishes collected, washed and put away. Counters cleaned. In short, when she comes home there shouldn’t be one single household task she needs to do.
And, gentlemen, you know what her standards are — if you can ensure that your John Deere combine is “Andy Clean” before winter storage, you can surely clean that house.
In short, my friends, the women in your worlds just want a little effort on your part on Valentine’s Day, and every day. They hold down households and careers and still find time to check first calf heifers and homework at night. They make sure that children get to 4-H meetings and basketball games, while also making sure you don’t miss that board meeting and the cow dog gets its updated vaccinations.
They do all that every day of the year. Show them you really care and take on some of that mental load this one special day.
Trust me. After all, would Cupid steer you wrong?
Editor, Kansas Farmer
Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.
Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.
While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.
She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.
Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.
Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.
“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”
She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.
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