Everyday I watch this man pull out of our driveway. Everyday I worry what the day might hold.
I worry that the wind blew too hard during the night. I worry the storm we got the evening before rained where we didn’t need it and left the other parched fields starving for a drink. I worry today will be a good day and then the next three will be terrible. I worry he feels more defeat than he does triumph. I worry people don’t understand this “9-5” is actually a “5-9”. I worry we put our faith and effort behind false prophets who are supposed to put their faith and effort behind the American Farmer. I worry that I’ll be putting another plate of food into Tupperware because it’s 8:30 and he’s still not home to eat dinner. I worry he’s had to make 50 hard decisions before lunch — those decisions not only affecting today, but affecting the rest of our lives. I worry when he falls silent, yet his mind is speaking louder than ever. I worry that Mother Nature isn’t going to give us a break. I worry that we can’t hold on for much longer. I worry his faith is going to give out. I worry because I am sick and tired of watching someone with so much perseverance, determination and skill feel like he can no longer do what makes his heart happy due to factors beyond his control. Farming in the South Plains of West Texas is not for the faint of heart. But all of my worries are calmed when this farmer comes home and tells me “It’s going to be alright.”
It’s going to be alright if we can get Mother Nature to play along. If we can get our representatives in D.C. to actually represent who we are, what we do and what we need to survive. If we can get commodity prices above break even (no, we don’t get to set our own prices for what we sell). If we didn’t have the future of small rural communities so heavily dependent on the farming communities’ success. If we had more control of input costs. If non-farming taxpayers understood that without crop insurance, Disaster Bills, in times of severe weather and falling prices, would actually cost them more than insurance subsidies currently do. If the “all or nothing” stance that crop insurance makes farmers take, didn’t make farmers decide between being a good farmer or a good financial manager — damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If more people understood it’s in their best interest, both financial and personal, to have a thriving and stable agricultural sector. If farmers were recognized for their conservation efforts in all areas regarding soil, water and energy. If farmers weren’t punished for striving to make the best decisions they can despite the turbulent atmosphere we call the farming industry. If the general public realized that farmers are professional gamblers, consistently betting against all odds.
We are here to provide for the world. We are here for the long haul. We are here to provide a future for our children. We are here despite the constant strife and criticism we catch from every angle. We are here because without us, there wouldn’t be a “you.”
There wouldn’t be clothes on your back. There wouldn’t be food on your plate three times a day everyday. There wouldn’t be a future.
I pray for rain. I pray for farmers. I pray for the United States of America.
And I pray for those who don’t know, but now, maybe they do.
I am a California Ag Kid turned West Texas Farmer’s Wife. Formally educated in Agricultural Business (B.S., Cal Poly, SLO) and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (M.S., Texas A&M University). Informally educated in Domestic Engineering and DIY. I hold a strong passion for my farming community, kombucha and llamas. And I never turn down any opportunity to eat chocolate or tell my story.