Matching mother and daughter Lily Pulitzer, golf club tee times, and cocktails parties at sunset; this is what I grew up in. By looking at me you wouldn’t know this, because Lord knows I wore my boots and big buckles amongst this chaos anyway. I didn’t grow up on a farm, I didn’t get to do 4-H and FFA but I was determined from a young age that no matter where I came from I was going to follow my passion in life. Agriculture.
I grew up in a beach town in southern Maine which is the epitome of New England prep style; but I always loved farming. Now, I can’t say that this was out of the blue because my mom grew up on a farm in Kansas and we would visit 2-3 times a year. One year my mom told me and my brother that we could go to Disney, but we would have to miss our trip to our grandparent’s farm… well we both promptly told her that a ride in a John Deere combine was better than any ride that Disney could have to offer.
As I got older I tried to become involved in agriculture by reading anything I could about farming, working on smaller John Deere tractors with my brother, going to any livestock shows I could and trying to keep up with everything going on, on our farms . Still, this was never quite enough for me. Once I got out of high school I was nervous to go too far from home so I decided to go to a school close to me that had a lot of dairy management opportunities. I love dairies and all butttt, it wasn’t quite the thrill I got from harvesting in a combine or fixing a down planter on my family’s farm. I decided to move to Kansas where most my family was and try to focus on furthering my ag knowledge. I got involved in the agricultural sorority, agricultural clubs, and took extra classes just to get a taste of what I had been missing. I helped out with my first harvest on all of my family’s farms, and tried to absorb all of the knowledge I could. I can’t say that I know everything there is to know about farming, but I can say that I am working on it one day at a time.
My point in writing this article is not to address the kids who grew up on a farm (even though I am quite jealous of you), but to reach out to those who didn’t. Just because you did not grow up that way does not mean that you cannot follow the path you want. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in agriculture, even starting in high school and college. You may feel behind compared to everyone else, and yes sometimes it is true you’ll have to fake it until you catch on; but just know that regardless of how you grew up, if you follow your passion and work at you can be just as successful as anyone else in agriculture.