Why Farm

This is an excerpt from SFJ editor and publisher Lynn R. Miller’s book of essays and editorials, entitled Why Farm. Why Farm is a philosophical look at farming, a deep and enriching reminder of why we do what we do.

“As with any vocation, there are people in farming who do not enjoy the work, find the possibilities unexciting and long to be elsewhere. Perhaps farming will never be an attractive way of life for them. Yet for each one of them there are dozens who feel a born kinship for this wonderful and varied work. Unfortunately, not all of them will have the aptitude to be the cream of the farmer crop. Nonetheless, it’s possible to live a farmer’s life in true contentment with no chance of being measured by others as better or best. That’s another special aspect of this business; it’s an arena for the individual (or family) adventure by allowing personality to determine the character of each day. And allowing that success be measured by individual goals and interests rather than production performance. People who enjoy the work of farming will find the rich rewards in every moment. Those who do not enjoy the work will find an endless stream of unpleasant experiences.

With those who have been troubled by recent calamity, rewards may be difficult to see. Vision has been clouded by a sense of failure, or worse hopelessness. For them a difficult time of re-examination has come. It is critical, if farming is to be restored to them as a heartfelt and enjoyed trust, that they come naturally to see once again that their way of life is within their control. Any true and lasting sense of self-worth and contentment must come from within each of us. If it is triggered by external influences (such as a banker telling you you’re doing a good job and offering a bigger operating loan) you have made yourself extremely vulnerable as your good feelings will be short lived and prelude to certain fall. Just as health and success of an individual farm must be based on careful growth from within, so must the mental well-being of the farmer based on affirmation that comes from within.”