On the surface, a farmer’s life may look vastly different from their (sub)urban-dwelling counterparts. But look past the big red barn and you’ll see a family that looks very much like your own, with shared values at work, at home and in the community.
America’s farmers are also America’s teachers, nurses, engineers, bankers, etc. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, most farm households (91%) have at least one family member working at an off-farm job. Working 8-5 is bookended with feeding livestock, equipment maintenance and other chores. Many serve on local boards or even in public office. From the field to the office, farmers bring a profound work ethic and a passion for what they do.
Farming is a family affair. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture reports that 98% of farms in South Dakota are family owned and operated. Yet family activities extend well beyond the field. School practices, evening and weekend games, PTA meetings, theater, choir, band and more quickly fill up the farm family’s calendar, as the miles add up between home and town.
Neighbors helping neighbors is an ideology that runs deep in America’s farmers and ranchers, which is why community involvement is a significant part of their lives. It is not unusual for a farmer to serve on their local volunteer fire department or ambulance service. They are often active in their local service clubs such as the Lions, Rotary and Elks.
Between work, family activities and community involvement, there is plenty that keeps America’s farm families busy.
But this is what drives us. This is our everyday life. This is farming.