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17

An open letter to my husband, my family and farming friends:

I see you.

I see you checking your phone to see what the weather is going to do, what the markets did, and what the latest news story is on your profession. I see you praying silently at church and wonder if you are asking for a rebound in the markets or are just thanking our Lord for a healthy family and a roof over their heads.  I see you teaching the next generation how to conserve and care for the land because it is the only one we will ever get. I see the worry in your eyes when more severe weather is on its way. I see you looking up to those that have gone before you seeking or at least wondering what their advice would be.


I hear you.

I hear you cussing and becoming short-tempered as Flood Creek is once again teasing the edges of her banks and threatening to rip out the fence that your family spent hours putting back up after her last rage.  I hear you (under your breath) asking, “Why do we do this?” But then I see the grin on your face when a healthy calf hits the ground. I hear your frustration when parts break and machines quit working. 

I smell you.

I smell the sweat from a hard day's work that often starts before the sun comes up and ends when the stars are out. I smell the manure that you are hauling to fertilize our fields and to create a comfortable, clean space for our animals.  I smell the fresh cut hay as it lay waiting to be baled to feed our cattle and provide income for our family.

I feel you.

I feel the pain that you’re feeling when you turn the other cheek to a critic about your profession or those people blasting comments about taking the insurance check.  I feel your frustration when that heifer we set up the perfect artificial insemination protocol for came back into heat or when the rain came right before our intended hay baling date. I feel you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are thinking about what to plant and how much grain to sell and thinking about how you will get it all done.

I taste you. 

I taste your hard work in the meat that you raised and the crops that you produced when we sit down at our table to enjoy a meal with our family and friends. I taste the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating every ounce.

To all farmers, ranchers, and farming families. I see you. We see you. I see you because I am standing behind you every step of the way.  I keep it my goal to stay positive for our community, share what life on our farm is like, to provide a strong arm to hold you up when you want to fall and to encourage you to keep going when you feel like stopping.

Do you see us? Do you see what the farmers and ranchers are trying to do? I challenge you to make sure you are truly seeing what is going on around you.

I see you, from the gravel road-

Jen

2

It's Wednesday! Please welcome my guest and fellow North Iowa Blogger, Val from Corns, Beans, Pigs and Kids.

What Inspires Me Wednesday - My Community


Community.  Community can mean a few things.  It can be tied to location or tied to common interests.  I'm lucky and get inspired by both realms of my community.  

Latimer, Iowa married into the Latimer, Iowa community over 11 years ago and even as a young woman dating a local before that, I found the community very welcoming.  You don't find that warm hospitality everywhere you live or visit and it's been something I've appreciated and aspire to share with everyone I meet.


I love that even though we are a small community (town of 475), we have big ideas and don't let being small in size stop us from making our community to best place to live no matter your age, race or gender.  Five years ago, as a young Mom, I saw a need for a library in town.  I went to the city council and asked if I could put up a Little Free Library in downtown on city property.  They unanimously said yes, despite never hearing of such a thing before I brought the idea to them.  They believed in me and they believed in the goals of the Little Free Library, and I'm proud to say Latimer, Iowa was one of the first communities in North Iowa and really, even in Iowa, to put up a Little Free Library.  The community has rallied around this project and continues to use it all year long and donates books to me to keep in stocked.

Another project that our community rallied around was building a Splash Pad in one of our town's parks.  A Splash Pad is no small project, in fact ours cost over $92,000.  But in about 9 months (from the fall of 2017 to the start of the summer of 2018), our community fundraised, built and opened the Splash Pad!  How amazing is that!  The Splash Pad allows our community members to cool off and have fun in somewhere that is local and free.  My family became regular splashers this summer and we look forward to spending time at this local amenity again this summer.


Women in Agriculture 

Another community that inspires me is the world of women in agriculture.  Growing up on a farm where my Mom was incharge of the pig nursery (baby pig barn), drove tractor and was apart of daily operations, I always saw that this life was possible, but yet the world still didn't see her as a farmer.

After I graduated college, I started meeting other women in agriculture that inspired me to not let my gender slow me down in a male dominated field and change the minds and impressions of society.  I met these women in person at conferences such as Iowa Farm Bureau's F.A.R.M. team, Commodity Classic and different commodity group meetings.  As part of the ASA Dupont Young Leader program I was inspired to start my blog, Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids over seven years ago.  Since starting my blog, the opportunities to meet even more women in agriculture from across the country and world, both in real life and online has increased.  I have gotten involved with groups like CommonGround, a local Women's Grain Marketing Club and Outstanding Farmers of America.  I am proud to be a farmer and want other women who are driving a tractor, taking care of livestock, marketing their crops and organizing their farm's financials to feel like they too are farmers.


What about your community inspires you?  How are you inspiring your community?

You can follow Val on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CornBeansPigsAndKids

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/plaggeval/

Twitter: @PlaggeVal

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/valplagge/

Blog: https://www.cornbeanspigskids.com/

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