I have always been proud to be part of a family that is highly involved in the agricultural industry, but it was not until recently that I was able to see the beauty of working in agriculture.
"Beautiful" is not usually the first word that comes to mind when someone thinks about working with soil and mud or stinky animals. It is not the first word or even the hundredth, I dare say. It is hard to see beauty in being covered in mud or manure or sweating for hours on end in the hot sun.
Yet, the more time I spend at home surrounded by the agricultural community and farmland everywhere I turn, that word has come to describe more and more of what I see. While I do not work on the farm near as much as my brothers do, I do get the chance to help with some of the irrigating. Out on the land, surrounded by trees, rows of corn, or golden rolling hills, I am blown away by the beauty I am surrounded by.
The interaction with the land and nature is both inspiring and awe-inspiring. Those in agriculture are reliant upon events far beyond their control. Not only are they reliant on the land which their crops are grown on or where their animals graze, but the weather can make or break a season or crop. Not many professions depend upon such a relentless force.
But this interaction with such a relentless force has led to some stunning moment. In the times when the destructive forces of nature took their toll, whether it be fire, flooding, or some other disaster, I have seen the agricultural community come together in beautiful ways.
The barn raising parties of decades past is an ideal picture of a community that I hear promoted occasionally. People are captivated by the idea of families and individuals coming together to help their neighbor in such an important way.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that the ideal of a community coming together to help someone is still alive and well in the agricultural community. In other areas of American life, communities are fracturing, but the agricultural community has kept that sense of community of decades past. When there is a fire or someone is moving animals into a new facility, friends and neighbors are there to lend a helping hand.
But even beyond these big moments of beauty, whether that be nature or community, there are small moments that catch you by surprise. I am always surprised by the amount of wildlife out in the fields. Whether it's a hawk or owl flying nearby or a bunny or fox running across the road, those little surprises display the beauty that most people will not get to experience in their lifetime. Agriculture has such a close relationship with nature, and it is beautiful to see.
I sometimes hear people attack those in agriculture, accusing them of destroying nature or abusing animals. But the narrative they weave is so different from what most of the agricultural community practices. Of course, there are always a few bad apples, but most people in the agricultural industry care about their land and animals. They make their living off it. The better they take care of these resources, the better they will do. People in agriculture have a huge respect for the land and animals they work with every day.
If every single day, people took the time to talk to and experience the very day life of a farmer, their perspectives would change. I am convinced they would be able to see and experience first-hand: the beauty of agriculture.