This question has been weighing on me heavily as I've watched my kids enter adulthood. This is not an easy life to live, and I say that seriously. People on the outside looking in think farmers have it made. I'm here to tell you the answer is no; we don't.
And do my kids feel pressured to take over the reins when we want to retire?
I've heard many farmers talk about their parents, grandparents, and generations that farmed the same land before them. I can feel the strong bond and respect the farmer has for them and his land by looking into his eyes and listening carefully to his stories. Traditionally, the family farm would continue to the next generation, but we live in a very different world in which our ancestors lived.
That brings us to the difficult question, "Do I want my children to farm?"
The quick answer is obvious, yes if they want to.
My children learned many valuable lessons from our triumphs to our hardships. A farm can be a wonderful place to raise a family. They can change a tire and the oil in their car, drive a tractor, or a gooseneck loaded with bales, and wrangle cows, pigs and chickens without breaking a sweat. We have had a lot of laughs in the barn and spent a lot of family time sorting calves and hogs, but we were together.
But on the flip side of that comes the long hours and short tempers, stress and mental stability, financial burdens and tough decisions, fighting activists and the rules slapped on us, and missing irreplaceable family time, including meals, vacations, band concerts, and ballgames.
So I weigh "the good, the bad, and the ugly."
Ultimately it leaves me with a heavy heart. I want my kids to be successful just like you want yours too also. It is not that I don't think they can do it, because I do. The world we live in is the misinformation spread about farmers and the methods used and constantly defending our morals and ethics.
This life is not for everyone, but it is up to my kids to be part of the remaining 2%.
Either way, even with my weary heart, I will be right by their side cheering them on and fighting for the rights of every farmer.