I don’t care how I get it, lottery? Rich uncle? Random Nigerian prince that I bail out of jail and is then so thankful he sends me loads of cash? But how would I spend it? If I’m being completely honest with myself, here’s what I’d do.
First, I’d hire more help. Enough help to give each member of my family our own full day off. And not a day off because we’re too sick to work, like, an actual day off. Then, I’d hire some professionals to fix or finish all the projects that we don’t currently have time for — the landscaping, the wood cutting, the gravel hauling, or rebuilding the patched fences that we just keep trying to make-do with. There are a bunch of things that need extra time and attention that we can’t spare.
Next, I’d build a new barn to house our milk cows. Not because we particularly need a new milk cow barn, but I need to use the old one for all our non-lactating animals. It would be a dream come true to have all our dry cows and bred heifers finally under one roof with manure storage. Eventually would come a new calf barn with large group pens and probably automatic feeders. Is anyone adding this all up? Then, I’d build some equipment storage and a machine shop with heated floors for my brother.
Next, I’d put some money into the farmhouse. Taking a cue from Oprah, YOU get a bathroom, YOU get a bathroom, every bedroom gets a bathroom! Because, why not? I watch HGTV and have learned that apparently a 1:1 bedroom-to-bathroom ratio is ideal. Who knew? Then maybe an escalator? Stairs are a young man’s game.
Then, and only then, would I start to spend money on me. Is that crazy? This is legitimately how I’d spend my money. I love this life; I love being a farmer. I just need it to be easier. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of walking past things I want to change on my way to do more pressing work. I’m tired of not having any corn planted before June because we’re spreading our own fertilizer and manure while taking care of 500 cows and dealing with the ridiculous weather. I’d gladly pay for a few conveniences if I could.
This is what I want consumers to see. I’m not farming to get rich; I’d like to get rich so I can farm better. The more money we make, the more we pour back into making our business more efficient, effective, and sustainable. Also, it’d be super cool to have a helicopter. You know, for farm use.
The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.