I’m sure by now that most everyone has heard Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer.” It has become a classic, and almost a mantra amongst us farmers.
It seems more days than not I ask myself, "Why in the world am I doing this? Why did God make me a farmer?”
The mental stress somedays would drive a “normal” person nuts.
We go into massive amounts of debt to farm only to worry about how we will pay it back.
We worry about the prices of the commodities we sell.
We stress over weather; this year it rained most of the spring, but since then we’ve hardly had any rain in our area.
Breakdowns seem to happen one after another or not at all.
Diet and sleep schedules are things that don’t get priority, and in turn we end up hurting our bodies and health.
Again, I wonder why I do this. Is it for the love of nature and conservation? For the love of animals? The ability of being your own boss and getting to hold onto that steering wheel of the tractor you’ve spent so much time and money on? The satisfaction of watching seeds turn into plants and then having a bountiful harvest?
Lessons passed on
Until recently, my answer would have been driving the tractor and watching the crops grow. Those have always been my favorite parts of farming since I was a young boy. This spring, that answer changed. Sheilah grew up on a farm and learned things from her parents. She tells our boys, “Papa moo taught me how to do this.” Or, “Nana showed me this.”
I hadn’t realized what a large part of passing things down played in farming. Passing on my knowledge and love for the land to my kids has now become my favorite part of farming.
Back in May, one of Cole’s last preschool assignments was to dress up and tell his class — via a Zoom meeting — what he wanted to be when he grew up. I got a little choked up when Sheilah told me that he said, “I want to be a farmer like Daddy when I grow up.”
She asked him multiple times, “Are you sure that’s what you want to dress up as? You could be a fireman or construction worker or truck driver.” He continually said, “No. I want to dress up as a farmer.” He told his class he could drive tractors, and plant crops and would wear a hat, pants and a shirt to work. Then he showed them his collection of toy tractors.
Now, I really feel that this is another reason God made me a farmer. To hopefully show the next generation how to do this; to let them experience and teach them hard work, responsibility and to manage the everyday stress; to plant their crops row by row; to put their faith in God and know that however this season may turn out, that we will be even more optimistic for next year. And to know the feeling of reward and grace when it has been a good year.
The boys have a lot of time to decide what they want to become. Regardless of if they choose agriculture as a career path, I know that they will have a great understanding of how the industry works and an appreciation for hard work. Whatever path they choose, they will have 100% support along the way.
For now, though, we’ll continue to pick blackberries, enjoy walks through the fields and count every moment as a blessing.
Because God made us farmers.
Mike and Sheilah Reskovac and their sons farm near Uniontown, Pa. Check out all of their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" blogs.