Thursday, August 6, 2015

I'm Fine

“I’m Fine” are the 2 worst, most deceiving words in the English language.  They are used so often to cover up our true feelings of sorrow, grief, sadness, pain, shame, weakness, embarrassment, struggle, anger, frustration, and just plain ol’ fashion vulnerability.  We act like “I’m fine” is a good enough protect us from being seen; to help others feel at ease rather than being honest and real with what is actually hurting us or how we feel.    No wants to admit feelings but so often we need to in order to free ourselves and grow.  Dairy farming is tough, there’s no way around that, and right now it is very tough.  Farm prices for milk are once again at an industry low.  While these prices are nothing compared to the catastrophic year of 2009, these are tough times once again.  Another factor is the ever increasing costs of farming, whether it is land, feed, insurance, labor, or even regulations.  Now ask a dairy farmer how things are going on their dairy and most will reply, “I’m fine”.  Only on certain days when farming has really got them beat down will they be honest about the sacrifices that they have to make. 

Then they will tell you how much it hurts to feel so vulnerable to the markets and have so much of their life out of their control.  How hard it is to know that you might not be able to pay all of your bills this month.  How disappointing it is to have an excellent employee leave your business because you just can’t justify giving them a raise for their hard work, right now.  How much it hurts to look at their families and know that they can’t give them everything that they need or want, and that as a family they will have to be the first to sacrifice so their employees and their families can be paid and fed first before their own.  Disheartened over the next major machinery repair, which means unplanned bills that will have to be paid, because you can’t go on without that vital piece of equipment.  Every cow, heifer, and calf was already a valuable living being, but their wellness is even more critical when prices are low because illness and death are expensive.  Essential equipment upgrades have to be put on the back burner, until prices are better. 

It’s ok to be honest about these feelings and challenges.  I think consumer should hear the struggles of the American family farmer.  A very wise friend pointed out that so often we let egos get in the way of what we’re really trying to feel and say, especially in agriculture.  I think he is right, let the egos go.  Be honest.  When you get asked how things are going on your farm, let be real with each other and consumers.  It’s not all roses and butterflies, in fact some days it gets down right ugly.  If given the chance, though I’m certain all of us would keep on farming regardless, that’s what we’re made of: perseverance, passion and drive.  Lets be honest with each other and consumers, it’s not all pastures and prairies; it's floods, droughts, storms, and most days rainbows.

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I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!