Saturday, February 19, 2011

Selling the cows...hopefully not

My dad is essentially the lone worker on our family farm.  My oldest, though still younger, brother and I are at college and my youngest brother has asthma and allergies worse than I do.  My asthma and allergies can make working in the barn hard sometimes, but I like it enough to keep going anyways.  My mom has the same unfortunate asthma and allergies as my brother and I so she works off the farm.

Since my dad does nearly all of the work by himself, he gets run down and tired; he's also had knee surgery  because milking in a tie-stall/stanchion barn took its toll on his knees.  To add to that list, he's had problems with pneumonia and has a chemical sensitivity.  Yet, he's kept going and has worked on the farm ever since he was old enough to help my grandpa with chores.

For a while, my dad was not feeling well at all and considered selling the dairy cows.  My immediate reaction was to scream "No!" inside my head, but I knew that was because of an emotional attachment to the cows and the farm, and wasn't necessarily thinking of what's best for my dad, so I didn't outright say that.  He's applied for off the farm jobs but couldn't really think of anything he'd definitely like to do as much as he likes farming.  Lately though, he's feeling better and the talks of selling the cows have significantly slowed.  I hope that things continue to get better, partly because I know my dad enjoys it and partly because I love the cows.

When the talk of selling the dairy cows started, I began to think even more about the future of the farm.  My brothers don't appear to have an interest in production agriculture; the oldest is majoring in Business Management and Finance at NDSU.  Part of me would love nothing more than to come back to the farm after I graduate, but there are a few things holding me back.  A major one is my asthma and allergies, but I'm also not certain that I'd love all parts of the operation enough to do it 24/7 and I don't know that I want to live near the same town for the rest of my life.  I love the agriculture industry, and dairy in particular, so I at least hope to work in the industry in some way.

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