Greetings from Minnesota. It’s about 25 degrees, and I am a-okay with that!
So the other day, I was at my chiropractor. If you regularly read, you know I was in an accident before Christmas, and I’m still dealing with some residual neck and back issues. Anyhow, that’s not the point.
I was at my chiropractor’s office getting a massage to help with some of the stiffness when my massage therapist asked me if I had to work over the weekend. She commented that I was exceptionally tight in my back and she hoped I could relax for a few days. I believe I’d previously mentioned to her that I have an office job and my husband and I farm with his family, but I hadn’t shared many specifics.
I told her I worked weekdays at my office job, but I would be working at the farm throughout the weekend. Her response was simply, “Oh, I meant your job that you get paid at.” She just said it in an off-hand way, and I certainly wasn’t offended but I took a few minutes to ponder this response.
Last time I checked, any sort of business has to make a profit if they want to stay in business. Fluctuating prices may mean farms actually lose money some years and make money other years, but whether you own a farm, work for a farm, or are a partner in a farm you need to make enough to support your family just like everyone else. While I see farming as more of a lifestyle than a business or job, it is still a livelihood.
I think it’s easy to romanticize the farm life and think about pretty sunrises, growing plants, and baby animals, but forget that farmers also depend on what they do for their income. I’m not saying farming is all about the money or economics. Farmers, as a general rule, love what we do. (You’ve got to mostly love what you do to get outside on a -20 degree day :-)) But the fact remains that farmers can’t do what we do for free.
I’ve heard some people say they think bigger farms only care about making a profit while smaller farms care more about their animals and crops. I know this generalization isn’t true either. Sometimes staying smaller is the right choice for a farm, but sometimes adding land acres or animals is the right choice so the farmer can afford necessary upgrades, or make it possible for a son or daughter to join the farm full-time. I think each farm’s situation is different and unique – which is one of the really cool things about farming.
Who knows, my massage therapist probably thought I meant we have a hobby farm with just a few animals. I could have asked her why she felt that farming wasn’t a job you got paid for, but I was kind of in the “massage-zone” and didn’t have the energy to get into a lengthy conversation. I also don’t feel she delivered the comment in a way that required a response, so I just mused over it.
I’m happy to report that I had a great outdoor run yesterday. I had 4 miles on my schedule and finished 4.23 miles at 9:37 pace – which is one of my faster weekdays runs on the ice and snow in a while. I also had less upper left leg pain, so I’m thinking that whatever was wrong is healing. I certainly hope so!
I’m hoping to have a great long run this weekend and no more leg pain to worry about. Cross your fingers for me.
Do you feel differently about the quality or safety of your food when you think about the fact that the farmers who grow it need to make a profit from it?
Have you ever had someone ask a question or make a comment about your work that you really pondered?