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5 Roles farm dads fill that prove they are the best

5 Roles farm dads play in kids' lives that make them irreplaceable.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

June 16, 2016

3 Min Read

As I glanced through Facebook, I ran across the photo on this page. There was Missouri Corn Grower Association secretary/treasurer Greg Schneider taking time out of a busy planting season to stop for a photo with his beautiful daughter Abby in her prom dress. It made me think of all of the things farm dads do for their children that other dads may not.

Not everyone can be a farm dad. It takes a unique individual to fill the role farm dads have in a child's life. Here are my top 5 roles of farm dads.


1. Show ring stylist: While not always eager to hand over the checkbook, farm dads understand that "bling" is required in the show ring. And that boots make the boy. But it isn't just his kids, farm dads are working at the pen primping the livestock before they enter the ring. They know which halter accentuates the heifers face and just how much fluff doesn't make her butt look too fat.

2. Physical trainer. Farm dads are very concerned about their child's physical activity. So, they start their children off with a 5-gallon bucket full of feed. Then gradually move to a 50-pound bag of feed. By the time his farm kid graduates high school, he or she had better be able to carry at least one bag on each shoulder. However, he might make his son carry two or three, or quite possibly his sister who is not moving fast enough to fill the feeder.

3. Spiritual guide. Many times farm dads will invoke the Lord's name during loading pigs, sorting cattle, or fixing a broken down combine. It is in these moments, where farm dads often teach about forgiveness when using the word, or other words, well, inappropriately. However, these are the same farm dads that sit down at the table and offer up a prayer for his family, friends and farm.

4. Financial counselor. Farm dads are the first to explain how to earn money. His kids want to go to town for ice cream, that will cost one stall clean out. Movie and a meal? His kids will work a full day in the hay field. However, farm dads are also the ones who will be the first of handout money for show stock, prom dresses and first cars. Why? Farm dads will sacrifice buying his new truck, planter or even coveralls to make sure his kids have the desires of their hearts.

5. Life coach. Many deep conversations occur in a combine cab. Farm dads hear about friends that fight, schools without sportsmanship and concerns over college. They listen. Wait. And respond. Sometimes it is exactly what farm kids want to hear, other times it is not. Farm dads have a lot of wisdom. They have been involved in ag organizations that don't get along. Still, they stress the importance of communicating without provoking anger. Farm dads are in an industry that is constantly under attack. They share how to keep their heads held high even when others stoop to name-calling. And farm dads are constantly challenged by the future as markets, weather and consumers are constantly changing. So they teach their children that no matter what life throws at them, how uncertain they are about their future, or where their road may lead, to remain calm. Farm dads know that life is a journey--and they help farm kids navigate it from start to finish.

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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