Being a Compassionate Farmer
Today as I walked over to let my chickens out and feed my bucks I saw a cardinal flying around in my chicken run. This happens every so often in the winter time, I assume because of the cracked corn I put out for my chickens, the birds get in to eat and cannot figure out how to get out. This really struck me, as I took time out of my busy day to ensure this terrified cardinal was free before I continued on with my chores. There are so many times that farmers are portrayed in the media as evil, and only focused on profits and not their animals well being, and in my opinion this could not be further from the truth. I am lucky enough to know many farmers quite well. Not only hobby farmers, but also commercial farmers that make their living feeding america.
I think it takes many skills in order to be a good farmer and resiliency, tenderness, compassion, empathy, care, tenacity and joy are some of those skills, just to name a few. Anger, rage and poor behavior will not get you where you need to go when it comes to raising animals. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that in farming, the only people there to keep you accountable is yourself and your family, which means you can be your complete authentic self without worrying if some corporate manager is going to judge you for what you say or do.
I for one may have the opposite problem to what is portrayed in the media. I love my animals and put them over myself on a daily basis. I almost always go out and do chores before I eat breakfast myself. The same goes for the animals health and well being, if any of my animals are even slightly off I am investigating in order to try to understand what the driver is, and how to treat it. My animal medical arsenal is at least four times as large as my human first aid supplies. The vet is at my farm more times a year than I go to the Dr's myself! Additionally, I spend an inordinate amount of my income on my animals comfort, from clean high quality hay, to fresh clean and unfrozen drinking water, dry fluffy shavings and straw to the best, feed, minerals and supplements I can afford. If any of my animals are sick it physically pains me with worry until they get better or I sob my eyes out when they cross that rainbow bridge. Being a farmer is hard, but it is worth it. This is my lifestyle it defines who I am is a person, grounds me and makes me a better human being overall. The next time you judge a farmer by a perfectly curated ad, think about the farmers that you know and ask yourself, does this meet the reality that I know is true?
Thank you for reading and Happy Goating!