Hi! I am Wanda Patsche and am one of the Ask The Farmers volunteers ready to answer questions you may have about farming. Let me start with a little introduction to myself and then I will tell you why farming is important to me. I am a mom, wife and grandma living and enjoying farm life in southern Minnesota. My husband and I have been growing corn and soybeans and raising pigs for over 35 years. My biggest pride and joy, though, are my three grown daughters and six grandchildren. They make me smile.
Many have asked me over the years why I farm. And I have to be honest, it’s really a loaded question because I never grew up on a farm, nor did I want to live on a farm. I grew up in the “city.” I use that term loosely, as the “city” I grew up in is about 11,000 people and doesn’t have a Target store or a Starbucks.
When I was in high school, my best friend lived on a farm. I visited her farm, where they raised pigs, numerous times. One of her chore duties was to clean the pig’s pen on Saturday mornings. One Saturday, I happened to watch her do chores. And I was appalled! Who, in their right mind, would ever want to raise pigs? The smell alone was enough to make me want to run. When she finished her chores, I said, “I will never marry a hog farmer!!!!”
sigh . . .
Well, I had to eat those words! A few years later, I did marry a hog farmer. And you have to agree with me that God has quite the sense of humor . . .
I learned farming from literally the ground up. I knew nothing about farming. I didn’t know what a plow was or why a farmer plows. I didn’t care if it rained or not – it didn’t affect me. But I learned. Step by step.
I truly believe I have a deeper appreciation for farming because I didn’t grow up on a farm. It gave me a different perspective and I saw farming through my husband’s eyes. I saw his work ethic, his connection to mother nature as he worked the land, his care for animals and his outright dedication to provide food for families. And watching him taught me why farming is something so very special. Something so very special that it was hard to explain to others. You had to experience it. All of a sudden, I was starting to “get it.” And my passion was starting to grow.
I saw the sacrifices. First hand. The early morning and late night chores caring for our animals, holidays included. But I also saw the rewards.
. . . When the lands starts to turn green with growing crops.
. . . When the mother sow gives birth to 12 healthy and frisky piglets.
. . . When the mature grains start flowing in the combine grain bin during harvest.
. . . And the smiles and feelings of satisfaction that were a result of all the hard work.
I think farming is unique in that we are making something from near nothing. To look at the seeds that eventually will be 10 feet tall corn plants or the 10-pound pig that will eventually be a mother sow nursing her own piglets. And when you see and experience these things, you can’t help but know there is a God.
And this is why I farm.
One of the biggest myths is when people call us a factory farm. I honestly don’t know what a factory farm looks like. People envision factory farms as a dark, dirty and cold environment place turning out “animal widgets” run with very little human interaction from uncaring, low paid employees. Our farm couldn’t be further from this vision. We are families that work with our animals every single day. And I know that other farms operate in the same manner as our farm. These farms are run by families that are people I know. They are families who are my friends, neighbors, people who go to my church and whose families my children went to school with.
These are not factory farms.
If I had to summarize why I farm I would say it’s the realization that this is the greatest privilege and responsibility that God has entrusted us to be his stewards and grow food for other families. I am both honored and humbled to call myself a farmer and make this world better than the day we were born.
This is why I farm.
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- What You Really Need To Know About Antibiotics In Livestock - April 6, 2015
- What I Wish People Knew About Pig Farming - November 23, 2014
- Family Farms vs. Farm Corporations - October 20, 2014