Farmers have long been connected to the land they cultivate. There’s a relationship there that goes beyond the normal bond of location; it’s a loyal devotion to the generations that have walked the same ground before you.
There are many aspects of farm life that are so unique compared to that of the average person. The concept of staying in one place and creating a generational legacy is not often done outside of farming. I think having to rely on the land for your livelihood creates a special sense of attachment.
There are so many ways that this is such a blessing, but on the other side is an unbelievable pressure. No one wants to be the one who fails. There have also been more than a few good farms that fall during the transition from one generation to the next.
There will always be challenges that force the hand of each generation and factors outside of any farm’s control that often take the biggest toll. While our devotion is to the ground beneath our feet, the global factors that affect so many aspects of our ability to farm can be hard to swallow.
I can’t imagine any other way to raise my family but within the dairy industry, though in the same breath I don’t know that I would wish this battle on my boys. I know I have been lucky in the freedom I have been granted to truly choose this lifestyle, just like each of us who hopes we can provide the promise of this opportunity for the next generation. May we be able to grant our heart’s desire while truly enjoying it and not living under an endless cloud of pressure.
The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons who round out the family-run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.