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A Young Farmer's Mind

We have had an unprecedented amount of rain and near freezing temperatures thus far this spring. You'd never know it with the hot and sunny weather we've had this past week. For the farmer, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and WAY behind (like all the time). The saving grace, sometimes, is that you're not the only one.

Farmer's can take solace this season in knowing that it isn't a slow season specifically to them: it has started off slow up here for all of us. This gives little comfort to the individual farmer who is now doing double the work with the same amount of labor and hours in the day. They get up a little earlier and stay out a little later because on a farm, there is no one else. You must do all the things or, all the things do not get done.

While we continue to make progress every single day, admittedly, at times, it feels like it isn't enough. Should I have planted more trays? Could I have laid out the irrigation more efficiently? Did we start the day early enough and work enough hours? The answer to all of these is...yes. There will always be doubts and questions in farming but sometimes one must simply accept that their best effort is good enough and move forward. If at the end of the day you go to rest your eyes and know in your heart that you did your best AND learn from the mistakes you've made (and you'll make many) then, let it go.

The proverbial 'to do' list will never be finished on a farm. There is ALWAYS something to plant, fix, water, weed, feed, harvest, wash, pack, research and implement. Flexibility in each moment is the key. Earth Mother has most of the control over what tasks will be completed each day. The control that lies within the farmer is their attitude. They must rise to the challenge and find zen in the chaos. They must pull themselves out of bed (sometimes before the sun rises) even when everything seems to be going haywire. The farmer must be able to smile and even laugh in these moments; for it is in this chaos where true character is developed and discovered.

Though the spring may have been slow up to this point, the season is accelerating at an exceeding rate and I take solace in knowing we have each other; not only on the farm but in our greater farming community. No one can go it alone for very long. Even the toughest, smartest and strongest need a just as tough, smart and strong community to keep their sanity in check. Even though, generally, we are fiercely independent even to our own detriment--we must lean on each other. We must continue to involve younger generations in order to sustain this age old tradition of growing and raising food.

You are left with this fun final fact... Less than 2% of the US population is engaged in farming and less than 6% of that is under the age of 35. I don't know how many out of the less than 385,680 US citizens who are under 35 and engaged in farming do so in a sustainable manner, but I sure want to be one of them. It is my civil duty to my fellow current and future humans, the ever-changing environment and for my own peace of mind.

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