I have met a lot of people at Iowa State, some of those with agriculture backgrounds and some without. It always surprised me what individuals without agriculture backgrounds thought about farmers. After having a couple of these conversations, it greatly influenced me to continue my education in agriculture communications. I wish consumers realized the type of people farmers and their families are, because it takes a special kind of person to be a farmer.

I wish people knew how caring farmers are. Growing up alongside my father, I was able to see first hand how much he cared for his land and livestock. To produce a bountiful crop, farmers spend countless hours preparing, maintaining and harvesting. I wish people knew that livestock eat before farmers eat. If there is a sick animal, that becomes top priority. The animal is nourished and cared for multiple hours at a time.

I wish people knew that farmers work in the brutal heat of summer and the windy blizzards in the winter. They do this to produce food for the world to eat, that is their top priority. They have to make sure the livestock don’t get too hot or that they have bedding to stay warm during the blizzard. Outdoor elements are a large reason for the addition of confinement buildings for livestock. It not only helps the farmer, but the livestock too.

Farmers are the type of people that care about their community, not just their land and livestock.  They will drop everything to help out a neighbor, even when they have a list of things to do as long as a mile. They will give you the friendly “farmer” wave every time you meet them on the road. Farmers are supporters of the local 4-H club, FFA and youth group.

Farm families are very family oriented. I wish people knew that when it comes time for harvest, the whole family helps out. That could mean the mom delivers lunch and supper out to the field or the farm dog rides along in the semi to take grain to the local elevator. I wish people knew that when it comes time to treat livestock, each family member gets a job. They work together to complete the task safely and efficiently.

Farmers are caretakers of land and livestock. They are passionate about their occupation and deal with numerous triumphs and hardships. I just wish people knew that no matter how the day went, you will find the family circled around the dinner table thankful for the day.

Kayla Degner was born and raised in rural Lytton, IA on a diversified grain and livestock family farm. She graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton in May 2012 and currently attends Iowa State University studying Agricultural Communications. Her past involved many agriculture venues. Kayla has a strong interest in advocating to the youth involved in agriculture.

Contact her at [email protected].