Springtime Brings Optimism and Excitement for Farmers

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spring on the farm

Photo credit: Anthony DELANOIX via Unsplash

I’ll be honest – I feel a little out of my comfort zone writing this column. Those you have gotten to know through this column before me did such an impressive job of bringing their stories to life with what seemed to be the perfect words. Truth is, I’m not a writer; I’m a farmer. It’s what I grew up doing and what I still love to do. I’ve learned a lot on the farm. So, I hope and pray that you will bear with this ol’ farmer as I attempt to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from farm life, and that somehow, someway, it will encourage you in your life.

As a young boy, I always looked forward to spring because it meant school was almost over for the year and I could spend the summer running around the farm, riding the tractor with my dad or helping my mom feed the baby calves at our dairy. I rarely run, jump or play on the farm anymore, and if I did, aches and pains would replace the joy and excitement I once felt. Those childhood experiences were meaningful and instilled a passion in me for the rural way of life and my love of agriculture.

Photo credit: Jill Wellington via Pixabay

The farm provides yearlong work, excitement, opportunity and challenges, but for me, as well as many farmers, spring is a time to be hopeful – a chance to improve upon last year’s successes and learn from last year’s struggles. As the days get longer and warmer, my senses are always heightened. The grass turns green, the flowers and trees begin to bloom, the songbirds sing a little louder and the bees begin buzzing. It also means seeing newborn animals romp through the fields, planting crops and anxiously awaiting the sight of tender new growth emerging through the soil. It’s like all of God’s creations awaken from a sleep.

Spring also provides a sense of optimism and excitement for farmers. We all begin the year with expectations of good weather and good growing conditions. A thousand things must go right in order to grow and market a successful crop, and sadly it only takes one wrong turn to create a failure. The enormous costs and stresses associated with farming will sometimes cause a farmer to crawl on the ground digging into the soil impatiently to ensure the seeds he placed there are sprouting or to make multiple trips daily to the pasture to check on the herd.

See more: In Bloom: See and Taste Early Signs of Spring in the Garden

So, spring might be my favorite season, but if I thought about every season, I could come up with something I deeply cherish about each of them. And the reason is because of the memories and perspective I have gained from being a farmer. The early mornings, late nights and hard work preparing for a good, healthy crop are all worth it when reminded of the gift entrusted to us by being stewards of the land and caretakers of the animals God has graciously given us. To me, this is what makes each season special in its own perfect way.

spring on the farm

Photo credit: Joel Holland via Unsplash

Now as I get older, I realize our lives, just like nature, go through seasons. At this stage of life, I’m much closer to fall – when one begins to reflect on what you planted, how you nurtured it and the expectations for harvest. When I’m on the farm now, I hope I’m planting the same joy, hopes and dreams for my nieces and nephews my parents gave to me and my brothers.

Through the 98 years, the Tennessee Farm Bureau has experienced many seasons. The generational changes taking place in our lives and at our farms and businesses also occur at the Farm Bureau. Just as I strive to build upon the foundation my parents laid out before me, the Farm Bureau even today holds true to its original mission: to support the interests and needs of farmers and rural Tennesseans while providing high-quality, valuable services to all our members. As president, I feel personally grateful for your continued support of Farm Bureau and what it stands for.

See more: Spring Chickens at Moss Mountain Farm

I’ll conclude by saying this – whatever season of life you might be in, take the opportunity this spring to smell the roses and plant something that has the chance to create a bountiful harvest for others. That’s what we’re striving to do at the Farm Bureau, and that’s what we pray you will strive to do in the lives of those around you too.

About the Author

Jeff Aiken is president of Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He and his wife, Carol, work tirelessly to advocate for farm families across the state. They also remain active with their family farm in Washington County.

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