Over the weekend, I attended three different events in three different places that, at first, seemed to have nothing in common, but by Monday morning, I realized they did.
The first event was a reception for a young man graduating from high school.
The second was a meeting with a man and his son who worked full time in town with jobs in manufacturing, while farming on a small scale on evenings and weekends.
The third was a large auction of estate and household items from several families.
The high school graduate is one of those young people there are not enough of, graduating with high grades, active in athletics and a 4-H member.
He is just a pleasant, respectful, kind of person whose future looks very good.
I had heard he was interested in being a farmer, but as his parents had only an acreage, it looked like an impossible dream.
I visited with him briefly and told him to not give up on his dream. There are many agricultural-related jobs and I suggested becoming a veterinarian because of his interest in livestock.
Later that day, I met with a father and son who farmed with older, small machinery, because of the size of their farm and performed most of their mechanical work including overhauls.
They had both crops and livestock, but with full time jobs in town, did their farming during evenings and weekends.
The father told me their farm was a hobby farm, and I told him with $3 dollar corn we are all hobby farmers.
At the end of our visit, I knew I had met two men who proved that farmers come in all sizes, and that love of farming is not measured in acres or new shiny machinery.
At the large auction, my wife went to her area of interest and I walked to where the guns were being auctioned.
After the last gun was sold, smaller gun-related items were next and the auctioneer sought bids on a bayonet.
He said a person can tell this bayonet was owned by a farmer because the tip had been flattened to turn it into a screwdriver.
Lying in bed awake Sunday night, my thoughts reviewed the weekend and what I saw.
The high school graduate who had no access to land, but still wanted to farm, is the future. He has his work ahead of him to realize his goal.
The future of agriculture and especially farming will depend on those young people who are committed to their goals and willing to take a risk and do the work to realize them.
The father-son combination is the present in farming. They’ll do what it takes to pursue their passion. They recognize they have to balance their expenses against income.
They will be able to ride out the low crop prices because of their off-farm income.
I left their farm with an admiration for their obvious passion, hobby farm or not.
At the auction I thought about this deceased farmer whose lasting mark after leaving this world was turning a weapon of war into a tool of peace.
In these three seemingly unrelated events, I had seen the past, present and future of farming and the people who have been farmers, are farmers, and want to be farmers.
These are the people who keep farming and agricultural-related work the honorable profession it is – past, present and future.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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