Last Saturday we were in the middle of soybean harvest and I was behind the wheel of our grain trucks hauling this year's crop to the elevator. It was the first Saturday in October and that also meant it was Oztoberfest in my hometown. It was also a K-State home football game. So, I had to deal with lots of traffic, detours and crowds.
The day dawned with a beautiful, clear blue sky, temperatures were perfect and it seemed like nearly everyone was going somewhere. The day presented many challenges and headaches for those of us trying to get the grain to town. The day also gave me an interesting perspective on myself and my fellow farmers.
Through out the day, I thought about the crowd I saw milling around at the Oztoberfest. I thought about the people enjoying a day off. I thought about the freedom of taking a day off and not having any worries on the weekend. Part of me was a little jealous.
Later in the day, I dealt with the increase in traffic due to the football game. I listened to the pre-game show (in the one truck that had a radio). I imagined the tailgating that was going on in the parking lot. I thought about the smells, the sounds and the buzz. I really enjoy football games and I must admit I was even more jealous.
But then as the afternoon went on, I realized I was exactly where I wanted to be. It was a beautiful day, the harvest was going smoothly and yields were better than expected. It came to me that I had reached the point in my life were I enjoyed driving that grain truck and harvesting with Dad more than footabll.
If I had slept in that morning and went to Oztoberfest I would have felt like I was missing out on something. If I had gone to the game, I might have enjoyed myself but there would have been this nagging, feeling that I had somewhere more important to be. I would guess that my fellow brothers and sisters in agriculture would second those feelings.
I think these feelings are in our very being, probably part of our DNA and something we can't do anything about. Being out in the field is where we feel we need to be, and the reality is we are drawn there irregardless of what else is going on.
That level of dedication is shared by everyone who puts the food on your table. What we do is more than an occupation, it is our way of life. So next weekend when you see a farmer or rancher going about their business, don't feel sorry for them. Just know that they are exactly where they want to be.