Prairie Post (East Edition)

Farmers keep going because they love what they do

- Editor: Heather Walsh Foremost

Albertans are facing a cost-of-living crisis noWhen you meet new people at a function what’s that first question you ask… What do you do? My answer is usually, I’m a bookkeeper by trade. Depending on the group or setting I might also say, I’m a mother of three. This is my 28th harvest.

I have never once in any of those conversati­ons said, I am a farmer. I know I have said, my husband’s a farmer. Or, we farm south of Foremost. But, I don’t identify as a farmer. Lately I’ve been asking myself why that is.

Farming is a complicate­d business. Only those that live in it every day can truly understand. So how do we explain it to those folks who have never set foot off the pavement? How do we help decision makers in our country understand the devastatin­g effects limiting legislatio­n would have on the management of our livelihood­s?

Only those who work the land and raise animals for food, understand the true meaning of hope. We put seed in the ground each spring with a hope that it will grow.

We tend that land and those animals the best way we know how each year, with the hope that we will be able to sell our products.

For a price that will, hopefully, cover the expenses. We make decisions each and every day – very often without knowing if our most important inputs will be affordable or even available.

And then, after doing everything ‘right’, Mother Nature might come along with a storm that will wipe out all of our work. If a machine breaks down at a critical point, we might have to drive through the night to get the only available part to fix it – racing back to beat the rain that is on the way, threatenin­g to downgrade our yield. Many businesses felt the effects of COVID. They were told when they could be open and how they could run their business. When the supplies needed were not available or the cost became too high to afford, they weren’t sure they could go on.

When rules imposed were detrimenta­l to the profitabil­ity of their business, some could not survive the pressure. Many supply chains are still trying to recover.

Farmers deal with these pressures – every – single – year. And they keep going anyway. Many because they love it, many because they believe in the traditions they were raised in, many because they are proud to be a part of feeding the world.

All because they have a belief that it will always work out. They believe they will continue living the lifestyle they love, while raising their families in the communitie­s that support them. I have realized that I don’t always appreciate the importance of our farm.

I need to remind myself to look past the increasing costs of production and to remember that our stewardshi­p of the land will affect the ability to feed generation­s to come.

When I ask my husband “What do you need from your support team today?” I need to remember that my contributi­on is just as important to our farm, as our farm is to the world. And so we farmers, will continue to live with hope, one crop at a time.

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