The Farming Circle of Life
The circle of life was first explained to me while watching the Lion King. Later on it was explained to me in a science class in middle school with the life cycle of a bug. I never really imagined that at a young age I knew the circle of life better than most in my class. I had learned about it from a firsthand experience by living on a farm.
I was about five years old when my dad took me out to the field to watch him pull a calf. I can remember that it wasn’t a pleasant sight and I was little mortified after watching it. I also know that what I learned sitting in my dad’s old Ford feed truck probably helped me learn about life better than any biology book ever could. For some they only get to experience things by reading a book or watching TV. For farm kids, they get to experience things my living them out.
For a farm kid, the circle of life is constantly surrounding us. We go to the market and help pick out some seeds for the garden. We plant the seeds and watch that tiny little monocot seed turn into a huge sprout of corn. You planted that seed, watered it, and protected it from intruders that were hungry. Later on you were able to eat a nice ear of corn for Thanksgiving dinner. All of your hard work was well worth it in the end. Which is why farm kids aren’t afraid to work for what they want. You watched life happen in the horticulture world and the animal world.
I remember that I was attached to my first gilt show pig. I just couldn’t allow her to go, so we decided to keep her and raise babies. I remember helping my dad artificially inseminate her and later on watching her give birth. I then got the privilege of watching my prized show pig become a mother, a mother whose babies became my next show animals. This experience is what I imagine most mothers go through when they first give birth to their daughters. They get to watch their daughters become mothers and watch the circle of life happen again. Maybe John Mayer sings it best.
Farming and ranching is usually something that never goes away. When the grandpa passes, the dad takes over, when the dad passes the son or daughter takes over. It really is the true definition of family tradition. You grow up watching your grandparents and parents farm and watched them take pride in their everyday work. You later on grow up and take over the family farm and gain that same sense of pride that your family before you had taken on.
Farmers and ranchers become the next for their families farms or ranches. In the stock show world the same thing happens. A grandparent joins FFA or 4H, they later on get their child involved. Their child becomes a parent one day, who gets their children involved. The stock show circle of life then begins.
With every life cycle comes death. It's unfortunate but that's life. In the farming circle of life you will probably experience a lot of life, but a lot of death as well. Sometimes natural causes take its toll on that cow you've had since you started your farm, sometimes an animal that shouldn't have been in your field sneaks in, and sometimes a sickness occurs out of nowhere and the animal has to be put down. It's sad and not a fun thing to go through. Being a farm kid helps prepare you for some of the struggles that are going to happen in your life.
The most remarkable thing about living the farm life is how you get to experience the circle of life in so many different ways. The agriculture world is a true variety of different things. We all experience those different things through different farming styles. However, at the end of the day we all experience the farming circle of life. A circle of life that puts the Lion King and that bug chart to shame.