4 Truths Row Crop Farming Is Teaching Us About Life
I can hardly believe I am approaching the end of my first row crop cycle in the wife's seat. Just six months ago we were planting tiny seeds, and then feeding and weeding them. Of course, we have science on our side and we hope we have Mother Nature on our side... but we are still extremely invested in an extremely risky crop. I thought I knew what went on behind the scenes. I thought I was prepared... And as always, I learned I have plenty more to learn.
Row crop farming is a different way of life, but its a good life. It has stretched me and grown me and made me dig down deeper. As I reflect on this first season, there are four specific truths row crop farming has reinforced in my life.
Inputs change outcomes.
Crop inputs like fertilizer, pesticides, and even the genetics in the seeds make all the difference in the health of our crops come harvest time. Modern agriculture has all kinds of tools to help us measure the health of our soil and our crops. Farm technology is becoming more precise. Soil sampling can show us which specific acres need more or less fertilizer. GPS keeps us from overlapping rows during planting and will even drive the tractor in straighter lines. You see it's not just what we put in, but where and when and how. What a perfect reminder for life itself. I try to be careful with my mind, my body, my bank account, my time... what I allow into my life today will have a monumental impact on what my life becomes in the future.
Do your best, trust God with the rest.
Lets just be honest, we all want control. Sometimes I feel like I want it more than others, but I'm learning that what I really need is trust... trust that the millions of seeds we put in the ground will soon poke through the Earth, trust that the heavens will eventually open and water our thirsty plants, trust that Derek's endless hours in the field will pay off in the end. We do our best, because we believe that it's the right thing to do. We can sleep at night, because we know that God is in the process of making our best a part of His plan.
Good things take time.
Of the two of us, Derek has always been more patient. In fact, that was one of my favorite things about him. I'm really beginning to wonder if it was this lifestyle, putting seeds in the ground and then waiting, waiting, waiting for the return, that helped him cultivate this trait. Obviously I didn't love learning about patience this year, but it has helped me prepare for the more ultimate investments in life. The best things in life take time, and everyday on the farm makes me a little more willing to wait for them.
This summer I witnessed just how essential roots are. Plants with good roots withstood windy thunderstorms this spring and fierce drought this summer. Not only did they live through hardships, they dug deep into the soil and produced something meaningful. People are the same. We need roots to get us through life's storms and give us nutrients for growth. Our roots can be good friends, family, passion, faith, anything that keeps you connected to the person you want to be. This summer has made me so thankful for the roots I have and so excited to grow new ones.
I guess I could put it more simply by saying the farm is teaching me more about responsibility, trust, patience, and purpose. Life on the farm is different from many, but at the same time it's still life. We face many of the same struggles and worries and challenges that everyone else does... but in a unique way the farm forces us to stay grounded. We are constantly faced with the reality that we will harvest what we sow, probably a long time after we sow it. We have no choice but to cultivate trust when we are unsure and patience when we are restless. We are required to dig deep to find purpose and meaning, because Lord knows this life is not easy.
But it is worth it... just to witness all the tiny miracles of life, to be a part of the big job of providing the world's food and fiber, and to be reminded everyday of these little truths that help us live a happy life.
With a full (and slightly more patient) heart,