As the daughter of a cattle farmer, I understand how important family farms are, not only to our consumers, but also to the families who own and operate them. My parents are Baby Boomers, if that tells you anything about their ages, and possibly how long they’ve been on the Chesney Farm. Before I came to college, my folks began talking about retirement. Now, for me, that was devastating. That farm is really all I knew up to that point. Long story short, most of my dad’s stock and land ended up not being sold, but leased to tenants for terms of as many years as agreed upon. This is where I breathed a sigh of relief. At some point, I could possibly have the chance to take over…if Dad trusted me to work with him. I AM my father’s daughter, you know!
Now, currently I’m in school learning about all aspects of agriculture, from managing cattle to managing money. As a kid, running a farm seemed like a no-brainer. I’m laughing at my younger-self now. Though it’s a true challenge, I’m very lucky to not have to start completely from scratch like some will have to if they chose to farm after college.
I do have two sisters, both with children of their own, who have not really voiced an interest in continuing farming. Their kiddos, though, can’t seem to get enough of Nana and Papa’s farm. My 12-year-old niece, Kennedy, has been challenging me for the farm since she could talk. A girl after my own heart, Kenni, as we endearingly call her, loves animals and being outside. My only nephew, London, is six years old and is a pro at bottle-feeding baby calves. London apparently also loves to tell stories about the cows, the tractor and taking rides on Papa’s Ranger. Sometimes he even drives it, with Nana’s help, of course. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing Kenni post pictures on Facebook of her and London feeding the bottle calf, or hearing London’s 2-year-old sister, Halle talk about how she found eggs in the hen house.
To me, the term Family Farm has always been about FAMILY. That includes my human family, as well as our cows, horses, dogs, chickens, and our dearly departed goat. Without it all, I would not have a college education, a love for agriculture, and a solid faith in the future of our farm, as well as farms much like ours. I also believe I wouldn’t have nieces and a nephew who are so thoughtful, caring, and hardworking. This is the true beauty of being raised on a Family Farm.