Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday Motivation: Why I Farm Roadtrip Week 42

It's week 42 of the Why I  Farm Roadtrip! There's still a lot to accomplish between now and the end of May, so I'm going to keep this week's Monday Motivation blog short and sweet. Check out these three Midwest farmers' stories to get your week started with plenty of inspiration.

South Dakota farmer: Chris Breen
"I grew up one of six kids here. We’d help feed cows in the morning and wash out bull racks and drove trucks, helped combine, do the whole thing. You work your way up through everything, it's just like any other business. We've always been pretty self-sufficient and you don't take things for granted. We work a lot here, but we still enjoy the time we're working. I bring the kids a long to have fun here and let them see everything. Kinze, I'll have her out there when we're working cattle, she'll come out and help chase them in or she'll run a broom and learn to pick up things and listen. We get to have a little fun there and they also learn their boundaries." -Chris Breen of Breen Farms in Seneca, South Dakota

Illinois farmer: John Kennay
"Having the grandkids with me, it's a gift to them that they can actually experience and be in the machinery versus just seeing it on TV or alongside the road. My grandkids are used to it, but it's a treasure to me to let them experience it and drive. They don't need to drive straight, I don't care. I've spent a lot of time with grandkids in the cab. One in particular, we spent hundreds of hours together. He would not want to get out. Even at nine months old, he was with me nine hours. You change the diapers, clean the peanut butter off the windows, and then they fall asleep. I love having the kids out there, because that's what I did. I slept in the combine. I slept in the tractor. Now, to have them do it is awesome." -John Kennay, grain farmer of Ashton, Illinois

North Dakota farmer: Laura Rutherford
“I love this picture of my grandparents. Grandpa served in the Army during World War II, and was close to my age when this picture was taken. He came back and started farming with very little, but by the time he and Grandma passed away, they had built up the farm. It's amazing to think about where they started, what they accomplished and how they passed it on to their family. I look at the land, and I just think about the cost and the years of labor; the blood, the sweat, the tears, the time, and the personal investment. I think about what it took and how much it cost to be able to pass it on. My motivation is to be able to do the same thing for my kids that Grandpa did for his family. I want to be able to pass it on to them. I think that's what keeps all farmers going through the good years, the bad years, and the really bad years. The ups and downs of the markets, the politics, and the weather. I want to honor the memory of my grandpa. When my time as a farmer is over, I want to be able to say I followed in his footsteps, that I was a good steward too. That I worked hard, that I knew what it cost, and I that knew what it meant.” -Laura Rutherford, sugarbeet farmer near Grafton, North Dakota

Even though I'm only 23, this week's stories have me thinking about the legacy I'm building, and will some day leave for my future children. It makes me thankful for the generations before me that took the time to include me in their work. That they taught me lessons of responsibility and commitment, and paid the price of sweat and sleepless nights so I can be where I am today. Someday I want to say I built on that for the next generation. Guess I better get to work! Happy Monday! Thanks for reading!

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