If you have ever read somewhere or had someone tell you that farming is not for the faint-hearted, take it from me, it is not. As much as the idea of farming may seem glamorous, being out in the fields and doing what you love, some challenges can test you as a farmer making you question why you even began farming in the first place.
I have been in the agricultural industry for over four years now and I can defiantly say that farming has taught me so much about life that I often joke to those closest to me that, its as if I’ve had a decade worth of personal growth over these few years. Furthermore, curious individuals have often asked me what key lessons have I learned since I started farming and below are some of the three lessons that top my list:
1. You are not in control.
This has been a hard pill for me to swallow, as I thrive at being in the driver’s seat by leading and taking charge. However, having gone through a personal loss at the peak of my business life cycle and recalling the days when I would arrive onto the farm to find my crops destroyed by frost or severe hailstorms, all of the above have proven to me that I’m not always in control. Although some elements of our lives are within our reach, there is also something greater than us as individuals that neither of us can compete with and we don’t always have the final say, because things happen to us in life to either teach us a lesson or save us from something.
2. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
I’m not the kind of person that would typically ask for help for just about anything. I have this ridiculous notion that if I do ask for help, I’d be inconveniencing people with my problems, and therefore I just refrain from doing so. What my experience in the agri industry has taught me is that farmers do not operate in isolation and its OK to ask for help, because no single farmer possess all the answers. Even though our businesses may compete on some level, we are still a community at the end of the day.
3. It’s ok to start over.
Besides being naturally driven and somewhat a perfectionist, I typically have very high standards for myself that when I perform and deliver below expectations, I become my worst critic. In the past, I’ve had to replant crops as a result of unfavourable climatic conditions setting me back financially. I’ve had to let go of clients that I thought were good for business but really weren’t and I’ve also had to restructure my staff compliment a few times for several reasons. As difficult as all this may have been, I’ve become content with starting over and correcting anything that was not aligned with my overall business goals and objectives.
I know now that there is infinite potential that lies behind our insecurities and if you are a farmer reading this, I would love to hear your experience.