One of my latest obsessions lately has been Jason Aldean’s song “Fly Over States”.. In it, he starts off like this…
A couple of guys in first class on a flight
From New York to Los Angeles
Kinda making small talk killin’ time
Flirting with the flight attendants
Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma
Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms
Man, it all looks the same
Miles and miles of back roads and highways
Connecting little towns with funny names
Who’d want to live down there, in the middle of nowhere
They’ve never drove through Indiana
Met the man who plowed that earth
Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me
Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas
They’d understand why God made
Those fly over states
And you know usually I probably wouldn’t pay much attention to a song like this, well, because I’ve never experienced much of those fly over states except to visit for a week here or there every couple of years. I had never really been exposed to what it’s like living somewhere in the middle of this country. But now, as the reality of the fact that I will be soon becoming a resident of North Dakota is sinking in, which in case you haven’t looked on a map, is located in the middle of this country, something about this song hit home for me.
And the more time I spend here, the more time I get exposed to what it is that farmers, who provide this country with its food, do on a daily basis. And the life of a farmer is a damn hard one. What makes it even worse (and quite frankly makes me sick) is when people out there bash the lifestyle of a farmer and make claims that it is easy. Let me tell you, the little bit I have experienced has shown me that it is anything but easy. It really is a never ending job!
So today I’d like to thank my farmer!
With the rain of last week gone, things are starting to get green around here, farmers are chomping at the bit to begin fertilizing and planting. And the chaos has begun. Now for those of you unfamiliar with what it is my farmer does, not only does he farm with his father and brother (along with the help of the women in his life- mother and sister-in-law), but he is also an agronomist. What in the world is that you may be thinking…? (Not going to lie, I had to look it up when he first told me too). Well I explain an agronomist as he is an adviser to farmers. By definition he is an expert in plant and soil sciences. He help farmers use their land more effectively and suggests methods to increase yields. He may also aid in solving or preventing problems with soil and crops.
So agronomist by day, farmer by evening… Sort of. In reality, both jobs are really never ending. His days begin around 7 AM when he is up and out the door before I am even able to wipe the sleep out of my eyes (I have yet to adapt to the time change… or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself, ha!) He may spend his day (right now) spreading fertilizer all day or maybe at the plant managing the chaos that is going on right now as everyone gears up to plant. His phone is ringing off the hook with farmers trying to order seed, fertilizer, needing to ask questions, etc. If he has time, I see him around lunchtime. But just long enough for him to wolf down some food and then he’s out the door. The next time I will see him is around 8-9 P.M. Yes, at night. And yes, that is a 12 hour day. And then work doesn’t stop there. Phone calls and text messages continue from farmers throughout the evening. Or like last night around 11:30 P.M., we have to go investigate an anhydrous leak. An agronomist-farmer’s work is never done!
But I am finding the more I lament (Haha! Not really…) on Facebook and Twitter about my woes of “farmer’s girlfriend”, the more support I receive in that knowing I am not alone. But in fact, there is a whole community of women out there whom this is everyday life for them. But in all actuality, any man that has been married for years on end, knows that they wouldn’t have made it without their wives. Whether working full time jobs on top of being a “single” farm mom and maintaining the household, being a farmer’s wife is not an easy task either.
And if there is anything I’ve learned from spending my time out here in the middle of the country, in the prairies of North Dakota it is this. Our country today would not function without the long hours farmers put in for us. And although I live in an area where agriculture reigns supreme. And agriculture is indeed something I am very passionate about, I even write about it here. Never before have I seen and experienced farming firsthand like I have here in North Dakota. When I wrote my first blogpost about North Dakota I said that the people are passionate about three things: their community, farming, and their food. And that is indeed the truth. Farming reigns supreme here. People around here live, eat, and breathe farming. And there isn’t anyone in the area who doesn’t appreciate what these people are doing because face it, most of them are living it.
When I was here back in March, you may recall me sharing photos of hauling a truck of grain to the elevator. What that means essentially is we were selling the grain. That day we hauled THREE semi loads of wheat to that elevator. Now let’s break this down.. Did you know that 70-73 loaves of white bread can be made from a bushel of wheat? And on average, that day, we were carrying 1,000 bushels per semi load. So in other words that day we were supplying this country with around 210,000 loaves of bread. How cool is that!?
Living here, spending the days with my farmer, it has really cemented for me what it is that farmers all across the country do for us. All of us. And why we should be thanking them. Every single day. The food we put on our tables, the food that sustains us. We have it thanks to farmers. Farmers who literally (like Jason Aldean says) busts their ass for you and me. Because without them, the world would literally be starving.Farmers know this, because afterall, they wouldn’t be putting in all this hard work if they weren’t passionate about what they do. And they have every right to be proud of what it is that they do. In my eyes, it’s pretty incredible. Don’t you think?
So thank you to my farmer, to all my friends who farm, and to those of you I have yet to meet. Thank you for the hard work you put in to feed your family and to feed mine. And know that despite how the media portrays you, know that there are people out there who appreciate what it is that you do, every day, sometimes 12-14 hours a day.
And to my farmer, Mark, I know that this life of ours won’t all be rainbows and sunshine. I fully know that this life we are choosing to embark on will be full of long days, hard days, and lonely days. But know that I will always appreciate the hard work you do. And that when you come home at night after a long day, I will be here. And I know how much that means to you.
And to the entirety of Rohrich Farms, I feel so blessed to be able to experience what it is that you all have been doing since 1970. I know it is your passion as well as your livelihood. And I thank you all enough for all your hard work, blood, sweat, and tears you’ve given to the farm. I cannot wait to share with the rest of the world your stories through my eyes and my lens. And most of all, I cannot wait to find my place in your legacy.