By Katie Thomas Glick and Sarah Thomas
It was a chilly December Saturday on the farm. The barn lot was covered with snow and filled with several semis, but our family didn’t own all of them. So, why were there so many semis parked in the snow covered barn lot? While many of you were listening to Christmas music and finishing up your shopping, our family was trying to finish harvest. Yes, just because the seasons according to the weather change does not mean they have changed for the farmer. Only a few of those semis belonged to our family, the others belonged to different farmers. Farmers who were so generous to give up their time and help our family. This year was a bountiful harvest (the largest in our state’s history), but it was a wet harvest. We needed more space to store the corn and soybeans we grow in our grain bins. These farmers came with their semis to load and haul away grain so our family could have room to store our grain in the bins.
That day was also a familiar scene. The barn lot was full of other farmers’ semis over five years ago, the day after our father’s funeral. Some of our farmer friends came out to the farm with their semis to help take loads to a grain elevator and give a beautiful tribute to our father. It was amazing to see our farming community come together when one of their own needed help. That’s what farmers do. They give help when it’s needed. They are a generous breed.
Farmers are also dreamers and gamblers. They dream for a perfect year that brings perfect weather that will help yield the perfect crop. But they know that the perfect year will never come, and yet they still take that gamble. Farmers know that there can never be a perfect year because there is always different types of circumstances that get in the way. Whether those circumstances are the weather, a death of a local farmer or the fluctuating markets, they will continue to make that gamble and strive for the perfect harvest. And when these circumstances begin to slow them down, others from their breed come with helping hands, and in our case, a semi too.
They give so much of their time to their farm and their lives to the land while every season brings new challenges but new opportunities.
Farmers live and die by seasons, and they learn to appreciate each one of them. All four bring their positives and negatives. Spring brings warm weather to melt the snow and warm up the ground where the farmers plant their seeds and begin again. They pray that a late frost doesn’t coat their crops and that rain doesn’t flood and wash them away. Farmers’ prayers in the summer include timely rain in June and July for the corn and in August for the soybeans. And it shouldn’t include heat and dry weather that lasts weeks on end. The harvest prayer is for safety in the fields, on the roads and at the farm. Winter is a time to plan for the spring planting season, rest up a little and spend time with fellow farmers at meetings learning about new farm practices or how to make our farms better for our families and all those we feed.
We aren’t saying that farmers work harder or give back more than other professions. Well, we might be a little biased especially during some of God’s seasons like spring and fall. What we are saying is that they appreciate the seasons and care for the earth they are given and the people they provide for. We were fortunate to learn that lesson on our family farm and hope to share it with others.
The year our father passed was also a late harvest. At times we watched snowflakes coat the corncobs that were left standing in the field. But they weren’t there long thanks to the farmers who came to help with our harvest. We are forever grateful for your friendship, commitment to agriculture and your hard working, caring hands. You are a generous and giving breed.