- Growing up With the Beauty of the “Fly Over States”
Whoever coined the phrase “Fly Over States” honestly had no idea what they were talking about. Agriculture and the Midwest, are two of the most beautiful sights you will ever behold. In this part of the country we literally ride into the sunset on four wheelers and horses. Other places may have an ocean view or beautiful city skylines but I’ll take the view of the Flint Hills, the Kansas sun setting over my small town elevator, the Konza Prairie, and the miles of backroads lined with crops over any of that any day.
- Hard Learned Lessons are Often the Most Valuable
The times you got drug across the yard by your show steer only taught you to get back up, dust yourself off and keep trying. After the time you forgot to latch the gate and the cattle escaped to ruin both your evening and your Mom’s freshly mowed lawn, you will have learned to take the extra time to do the job right the first time. The time you were learning to drive a stick shift and killed the truck in the middle of the only crowded intersection in your small town taught you how to fail gracefully. There is a never ending list of the many lessons my brother and I learned the hard way, but you better believe that we will never forget them (or to always latch the gate).
- Old Farmers Are The Best.
If you have never sat through a three hour long conversation with an elderly man talking about his crops, kids and livestock, you have truly missed out on some of the greatest wisdom this planet has to offer. At the time you will undoubtedly believe that you are sitting through the most boring social exchange of your entire life and in some ways that may very well be true. But someday, maybe even five or ten years later, you will wake up and realize that Grandpa and that old guy at the elevator were doing more than simply telling you for the tenth time about the drought years. The most important part of the story is what goes unsaid. It’s the part that is felt on the callused hands and seen in the cloudy eyes of the men and women who have lived through the worst and managed to see their family and their farms through it with love.
- Watching Your Crops and Animals Grow Makes Your Heart Grow too
When I was a kid, I would always wonder why in the world my Dad wanted to be a farmer. He works literally all the time and there is no end to the blood, sweat and tears that he puts into his work. Then one morning I couldn’t sleep. As I walked out into the kitchen to get a drink of water, I saw my parents on the back porch with their coffee in hand, watching the sunrise over their growing crops. That’s when I learned that we all have our moment. That split second in time when you’re feeding your first bottle calf (yes I was in a tutu and rubber boots), working with your favorite show steer or watching your crops grow when you suddenly realize agriculture has your heart and that will never change.
There are no words that describe the feeling you get when you realize your family has your back through anything or when they make you laugh so hard you cry. Here in the agriculture industry, we are one big family. We’ve had that feeling of family from the first time our grandparents took us on our first tractor ride. We get that feeling every time we step into the doors of our home town elevators and everyone wants to know “how’s school going”. We get that feeling when tragedy strikes and we’re instantly surrounded by an entire community of loving supporters. We get that feeling every time we join thousands of other students by putting on those iconic blue and gold FFA jackets. We get that feeling when we step onto the campus of Kansas State and become a part of the family that is the College of Agriculture. We get that feeling when we sit down to a dinner that we have raised in our own gardens and pastures. I got that feeling when I joined an agriculture sorority and all my sisters stole my heart. We all get that feeling as we watch our crops, animals and friendships grow. Together. As a community. As the one big family that is Agriculture.