Some little boys want to be baseball players when they grow up, other want to be fire fighters. I have always wanted to be a farmer. Every year for Christmas I wanted a new tractor or a new implement to pull behind those tractors. I think it is in my DNA, my father is a farmer, my grandfather was a farmer and my great-grandfather was a farmer (I suspect it goes back many, many more generations).
Everyday during the summer Dad would leave the house each morning to work in the fields. I would hook my toy tractor up to the same type of implement he had hooked up to his tractor and go off to work up my own fields. I would come back in a lunch just as dirty and happy as he was.
I have always owned livestock. It all started with rabbits when I first joined 4-H. I raised those rabbits and the money I earned from them helped be save up for one of the best days of my life. That was the day I went to my Uncle's cow sale with my Grandpa and bought the cow that started my herd.
Oh, I watched Mom and Dad struggle through the bad years and I know how fickle the weather and the markets can be. But through it all I saw the satisfaction from a life spent working hard, enjoying what you do and time spent working as a family and that money alone should not determine what you do with your life. After graduation I did the sensible thing and found a good job with a regular salary. But deep down I knew I was missing something.
I have always encouraged people to follow their dreams and recently I realized it was my turn to follow mine. It was a tough, scary decision to make, one that cost me many nights of sleep. However, starting this year I will become a full-time farmer/rancher with my father. While it is hard to leave the good people I work with and the great people I serve in Extension, it was a decision that put me at peace.
I look forward to the feeling of waking up each morning knowing that I am doing what I want to do. To me, nothing in this world can be better than being a proud producer of the food that we all need.