Sick Days For Farmers

Are few and far between.

It's safe to say that my hubby does the hard work of getting up everyday and working on the farm. I used to be right along side him, but then we added our cutie pie into the mix, and I spend a lot of my time with her. If any of you are moms out there you know exactly what I am saying! Kids are busy and the older our little girl gets the busier she gets. And she absolutely loves anything farm related.

One thing that is a bit tough is that the farmer's wife doesn't seem to get sick days. My farmer, he works through most of his being sick days. And if he does sit down to rest it's normally locking himself in our bedroom while my daughter and I play quietly in the rest of the house.  But, on the days I get sick I can normally convince him to take our daughter for a little bit of the day. Since she loves going to the farm remember.

But, I will say that being a farm wife and getting sick is normally not any fun. There are still chores to be done. There are still meals that need to be cooked for the guys. And a very, very busy little girl that wants all my attention. Some days I can't help but wish that my husband had "sick days". So that when the "stay at home" mom is sick. He can be around to take care of our girl and help with my chores.

But, one thing my farmer rarely ever even attempts to take is a sick day. We work from Monday to Saturday every single week. And honestly, even when it is our Sunday off, it seems we are working on something farm related on our own place. And those hours can vary significantly, sometimes quitting by 7. A good chunk of the year, well after 9 or 10.

It really stinks on the days when you are sick being on the farm. It doesn't matter if you are feeling like you are on your death bed or not. There are still animals that need to be fed. And chores that just can't wait.

But, when you are sick on a family farm it's wonderful having brothers around that can cover chores so you at least have a little time of rest.

Another great thing about being on the farm? There may not be a lot of sick days for your farmer, but on our farm at least, bring your kid to work day happens at least once a week. And that is something really special.

Being A Woman In A Man's World

Now, this post is for all you women out there. Women that have the dream of marrying their farmer and working along side him every day and can't picture yourself anywhere else.

Being involved in the American Ag Industry is typically two things. Being white and being a male. Welcome to your typical "man's world".

Back when I started just getting involved in the Ag industry, in high school, it was predominately boys. For ten years I have gotten the pleasure to see things change a little bit, not much, but we are always evolving.

It still isn't common to find women who are the matriarch of the family farm. But, they tend to be the glue that keeps the entire family and business together and running smoothly. Women are typically in the background and they do all the unseen work. Like the bookwork, paying bills, cooking three hot meals a day, raising children, picking up parts, giving rides…and the list can really go on and on.

It isn't typical to see women standing up and taking leadership roles in some of the large agricultural associations. But, this last year National Corn Growers had a woman president.

You most likely won't see women sitting next to their husband's learning as much as they can about building a new feed lot facility. But, at the last seminar I went to alone, I was surprised to see wives sitting along side their husband's taking notes and running numbers.

I obviously haven't been involved in the industry for centuries, but even just seeing a change over the last ten years is amazing to me and extremely motivating. It pushes me, as a woman, to continue fighting to be a part of a man's world.

When I first married my husband I would say that he let me work alongside him every day, and SOMETIMES took the suggestions I had and actually thought about them.

Now, I would easily say that when we discuss future endeavors we are together and listening to each other's thoughts and opinions. He truly makes me feel like I am on the same level as him, and that is so rewarding. Rewarding that he values and respects my opinion is such a wonderful part of our relationship.

It's one thing for a man to listen to what you have to say, it's another when you can see them ACTIVELY listening, asking questions, and engaging you to get your own thoughts on a certain project.

If you want to be a woman entering this man's world make sure you make it known up front. If you want to be like me and be beside your husband every day, working every single part of the operation make it known from the beginning. If you would rather do a few things here and there, keep house, cook, and raise children- make sure you make it known. If you want to stay in town and continue to have a career- do it.

In the beginning it was decided once I was done with college I wouldn't start teaching, I would instead join the farm. Before we had our daughter I worked with my husband whenever he needed me. Even if it was something as simple as cleaning out a tractor. I worked alongside him. Now with our daughter I don't get to work alongside him as much as I want to. But, I make sure he comes home to a clean house and a home cooked meal.

My husband is supportive of whatever career choice I decide to choose and as our marriage and relationship grows I realize more and more that I enjoy working with him everyday now, more than ever before. Because now I my opinion is valued in his world.

Fixing a feed bunk cable as a family on a Sunday. 

Thanking A Farmer

Kontz Family 
This holiday season I would say that I have a lot to be thankful for. This month I had the opportunity to write an article for The Hood Magazine here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It's a free publication that I love to pick up whenever I get to town. I thought it was the perfect thing to share with all of you since we are entering the holidays and the season where we are reflecting on the past year and all our blessings!
 

As a wife, I know the way to my husband’s heart is right through his stomach. As a mom, I know that sometimes I have to let my little girl make a mess while I’m cooking, just so she thinks she is helping. As a farmer, I have a unique perspective when it comes to the food I put on my table. When you live and breathe agriculture every day, you understand the care and work that goes into providing the wholesome food that helps feed us every day. I spend my days working on our beef farm, blogging, raising our daughter Elliette, and cooking for the farm.

However, no matter what hat I’m wearing (wife, mom or farmer), it’s extremely important that my family always has a wholesome and nutritious meal on our table. This is especially true when it comes to cooking for the holidays.

The holidays hold a very special place in my heart, and are always full of excitement. Excitement to prepare my grandmother’s famous dishes that have been passed down for generations, as well as the excitement of starting new traditions like serving beef brisket for our Thanksgiving.
The holidays are also a time to share laughter, count our blessings and come together over a delicious meal. Actually, the more I think about it, food plays such a central role in all ofour lives. Whether it’s an everyday meal or a holiday feast, the dinner table is a place where we can all come together and find common ground.

As you sit down this holiday season with your own families, you can feel confident that your food was raised with great care. Whether you may realize it or not, a South Dakota farmer had a hand in growing the food that’s on your table. Your holiday turkey or ham was raised on corn and soybean meal that comes from our fields. The yummy cheese in your side dishes likely comes from a South Dakota dairy. As a grocery-buying mom, I am confident that what I buy at the store is safe and nutritious because I know that somewhere, there is a farmer like me, supplying that product.

More and more, I find myself being extremely thankful that my family has the opportunity to raise the food you put on your tables. This season, I hope that you too, will take the time to think about where your food comes from, and be thankful for the local farmers who help grow it.

My Dreams In Agriculture

Before I met my farmer I was pretty passionate about the agricultural industry. So passionate that I chose to go college and enter into Purdue University's College Of Agriculture in Agricultural Education. I was way active in Indiana Agriculture. Always busy with something.

Now way back in my college days I would have said my absolute dream was to settle down and marry a farmer and have tons of little babies to spoil and play with.

My dreams haven't changed so much. I have settled down, I have married my farmer, and some day we hope for more children if God chooses to bless us.

Beyond what I wanted my family life to be I also had a dream of being heavily involved in Agricultural Education. I knew I didn't want to teach at the high school level forever. I foresaw myself with continuing on with my Masters degree and even one day my PhD. And then I wanted to say home and be a farm wife and a someone's Mommy.

As life changes I have also had to adjust my dreams. Getting my Masters while chasing a 19 month old around wouldn't be easy, but I want to be a focused Mom. A PhD would be wonderful to have, but I'm not sure I would use it while my little ones are still young. But, I believe in continuing education and always believe in learning.

I spend my days doing whatever my husband needs on the farm. I also have a couple of bred cows that are mine to check on twice a day. And I have a beautiful little girl that needs guidance, all from me. I believe in play dates, trips to the museum, libraries, and lots and lots of play time and snuggles. I believe in teaching prayers, manners, and giving her a voice. I believe that I am the best one to give these to my little girl, so I put my other dreams on hold…but I am always learning and take advantages of days where I can simply go and learn at a conference. Whether it's about impacting with Social Media, or a recent day of buildings for putting cattle in.

Play dates at the Children's Museum.

I volunteer my time talking to producers about the benefits of using social media on their farms. I talk to consumers about how they can feel confident when making decisions in the grocery store. I blog about what it's like being married to a farmer, and how sometimes it can feel like I am a single parent.

Late night snack with Daddy after he got in from the fields.

My dreams are still the same, maybe one day I will have my PhD. But, I do know that now my dreams are my little girl, my husband, continuing to have a faith filled home, and raising my child in God. My dreams are volunteering all my spare time to talking to consumers and answering whatever questions they might have about modern farming practices. Blogging about my life. And I may not be earning a Masters while I do all these things, but I am certainly learning more and more every day. With every person I have a conversation with, with every discussion I have with my husband over animal welfare, and with every time I make a decision to be an active part of our family's life.

I continue to learn and share that knowledge. And I think that is a pretty important dream too!

Biotechnology meeting in St. Louis.
Women who attended the Biotechnology meeting in St. Louis.

Starting A Family With Your Farmer

Is about like getting married. It never seems there is a good time!

My husband and I have been married for four years as of last Thursday. Our daughter has blessed with her presence for 18 months.

I remember being pregnant with her two harvests ago. I spent my Fall in the grain cart out in the field. Sick, very sick. I had a pretty rough pregnancy, but it was so worth it.

And it didn't really go as planned. Ideally we had aimed for having a baby right at the end of November or May. This gets us through harvest and through planting seasons.

I will say that babies never come as planned, but I know that I am really glad we didn't have our daughter smack in the middle of harvest, because then I would have had a husband that would have been distracted I think. Especially since we were at the hospital nearly a week!

It just so happens that the day we were admitted into the hospital it started raining, and raining and raining. It rained so much we in fact had to replant some fields that Spring.

The day we got home from the hospital I remember my husband helping me into the house. Laying our little girl in my lap, kissing my cheek, and saying he will be home soon.

He then spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening feeding cattle and working on various projects. Work on a farm is never done, even if you do have a baby.

I remember sitting on our couch watching the sun go down, debating whether I should wake up our pretty little girl to eat or let her sleep. And being just a tiny bit sad that my husband wasn't here to discuss it with me.

But, I will say he was as supportive as he could be every night when he did come home and we also worked a pretty great routine out for the night shifts. He wanted to be a part of every moment and I love that. He was just as passionate about being a Daddy as being my Farmer.

I love watching my farmer with our daughter on the farm. It is one of her favorite things to do- go with Daddy. She loves all things farm, tractor, and cow.

You can't help but feel her joy for agriculture as she sees and learns everything for the first time. It is a nice reminder of the beauties of our industry.

My farmer and our farmer in making at a local farm show.