Almost everyone has heard the famous Paul Harvey poem, “So God Made a Farmer.” Whether it was in the Super Bowl commercial, at an ag event, or in a YouTube video, it resonates with you. And I am so thankful for all farmers — past, present and future — who embody those words. But I tell you what I am even more thankful for: farm moms. The glue that holds everyone else together. The women who do the impossible, who give everything and then miraculously find more strength to give.
These women represent my goals. I’ve always heard the phrase, “If I am half the woman my mom is …” I used to not truly understand it, and then I got older. Now I think if I could be a quarter of the woman my mother is, I would be happy. There is something resilient about all mothers, but farm moms are a special breed. I don’t know if it relates to them knowing the loss of livestock, land, or crops, and therefore viewing every moment as even more precious. Or if they just have extra special genes to deal with the tough times.
I have asked my mom to do some ridiculous things, and she always came through without hesitation. Like driving two hours to the hospital at 10 pm after I received a concussion from my horse, driving an hour and a half to eat lunch (and then wearing a cow costume for my sorority), and running our family farm by herself now that I am grown up and moved away. She did all of these, without recognition, because she says it is her job. I bet your mom has done similar things for you — worked 50-hour weeks off the farm and come home and worked 20 more — without complaint.
Farm moms can teach us a lot about life and ourselves, if we will just listen. Trust: Trust in Mother Nature, God, the land, the markets, but most importantly trust in our family. Trust that no matter what, someone will be there when we need it. Whether that’s help with planting, with kids, or after tragedy, farm moms will be there with a plan and a casserole.
They teach us resilience. Farming is not all playing with livestock or riding in a tractor. It is hard work and stressful. Farming is not for the faint of heart. No one knows that better than the farm mom. But yet, she chooses to face each day with joy and hope. Monday is just another day to get things accomplished, not to dread. There is no reason to give up, because it is possible. It might be more work than anticipated, but as my mom always said, “A little hard work never killed anyone.”
But more than anything, farm moms teach us about love. A mother’s love is unconditional. I know because I have tested it (flashback to when I made my mom wear a cow suit). A farm mom doesn’t limit her love to just her children, but to their friends, to the land, to the livestock and to the livelihood. Farm moms work hard because they want better for their children. And what better life to live, than to grow up being raised by one of them.
To all the mothers and especially the farm moms, for these lessons, and so many countless others, I say thank you.