One of the priorities Illinois corn farmers have asked us to focus on is to help bridge the gap between farmers and non-farmers. When non-farmers feel connected to farmers, believe that they have values in common, and begin understand why farmers make the decisions they make on their farms, they also begin to trust farmers to make the right decisions and move food worries to the back of their minds. Illinois Farm Families is a program that reaches out to non-farmers in Chicago and tries to make those connections. Their blog, where this article by Krista Swanson was posted, hosts stories from Illinois farm families that allow non-farmers to get to know Illinois farmers and connect with them. Notice how Swanson carefully weaves life on the farm into a story that everyone can connect to – weddings and wedding toasts!
My little sister (she’s almost 7 years younger) got married Memorial Day weekend and I was the Matron of Honor. That role comes with several expectations, one of which is a wedding toast. Let’s just say I’ve been to enough weddings to have heard every type of wedding toast there is. Really, the whole spectrum. From hilarious and well thought out, to horrible and embarrassing, to short and sweet, to overly long and unprepared. I put in a few digs towards myself, which I probably shouldn’t refer to as digs since there were true, but hopefully that provided a little humor. And speaking of humor, she is the older woman in their relationship. When they started dating he couldn’t even drive yet! And so, as I told him that night, I’m still busy trying to figure out how he managed to land a high school girl when she was the one picking him up for their dates.
Because farming is such an important part of our lives, as it will also be for them, I closed the speech by sharing my thoughts on farming and marriage. Some years we have optimal weather for our growing crops, but there are also the years of flood and years of drought. And so it is with marriage, and life in general. You will inevitably experience some bad times mixed in with the good times and the great times.
We had a very wet spring here, that made it hard to get in the field and plant in a timely manner. We finished our first round of planing on June 3rd, which is a couple weeks later than we would like. But it could be worse. I read an article yesterday that described 2017 as the year of slow to plant, then replant, then replant the replant. Isn’t that the truth?! We replanted some spots over the past week, and the Saturday Brett replanted a bit of the replant, fortunately only a few small patches of soybeans.
On Memorial Day, two days after the wedding, we took our ATV out and rode around some of our fields that are in a timber and bottom ground terrain. I snapped this picture and couldn’t help but think of the “years of flood” as I looked down into a bottom field and saw the pools of standing water. In this picture you can only see a couple “ponds” but there are several others blocked by the trees.
Ironically, here we are, two weeks later, and we are in need of rain. And the short-term forecast isn’t real promising. And there are articles floating around that suggest we are embarking on a hot and dry summer.
Maybe instead of “years of flood and years of drought” it would have been more appropriate to say “seasons of flood and seasons of drought” as 2017 could prove to have both. Or what about the seasons of cold temperatures and blizzard, or tornado and damaging winds, or wildfires.
Just like a person strives to overcome when faced with adversity in the seasons of life, farmers must press on and work to protect their crop, their animals, their families, and their livelihood, despite even the worst weather conditions.
Originally posted on: The Real Housewives of Rural Illinois
KRISTA SWANSON: Krista and her husband, Brett, farm in Illinois with his family and run Swanson Seeds, a Channel dealership and small seeds sales business. She is also a portfolio analyst for 1st Farm Credit Services and mother to three young daughters.