In 2000 my life changed. My mom married a man who stepped up and became the father figure I never had, who introduced me to the farm lifestyle. Not only did this man adopt me and change my last name, he also gave me a new purpose for life. Being a farmer’s daughter, and later becoming a voice for the agriculture industry. Where I have spent my short 22 years on this Earth, trying to tell the story of the agriculturalist and starting Raised in a Barn.
I was no longer surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the constant sirens going down the road. When my parents moved me to a place called Zena, Okla. (which is in the middle of nowhere, but full of the sweetest people with the biggest hearts). I was shocked, to say the least, to experience this new lifestyle. At night, instead of hearing sirens, I fell asleep to the serenity of the crickets playing a lullaby. Instead of buying those glow in the dark stars to put on my ceiling, I actually got to walk outside and look up and see those gorgeous stars.
I was never handed any type of game and told to go sit in front a t.v. for entertainment. No, I was the lucky kid in my class who spent hours working in the barn and having the privilege of raising bottle calves and finding unique names for them. My parents wanted me to learn the true value of hard work.
I grew up wearing a corduroy jacket. It started with a green one and ended with a blue. I was active and sometimes teased for my passion for the agriculture industry. I was labeled the “aggie” and looking back I can’t imagine being called anything else. After high school, I went off to pursue a degree in agricultural communications. I have lived in the city for the past four years, and each night I wish to hear the crickets and the roosters waking me up in the morning.
It didn’t matter where or how far I was from the family farm, my roots always kept me grounded.
I know a lot of kids reading this right now are excited about getting to leave and go off on their own and begin this crazy journey called life. Much like living on a farm, you will experience some good times and rough times. You will have days where you want to quit but don’t. Just like feeding the world, you can and will make a difference. Whether your calling is the agriculture industry or not, you are the future.
In my life, I have been chased by angry cattle, chickens, goats, and even a donkey. Life as an adult now, I can’t tell you how many times I have wished to go back and relive all those memories. I know that no matter where life takes me or what is chasing me, my home is in a small town in Oklahoma.
As I begin packing and planning for this next chapter in my life, I keep thinking about when I was 8 years old. My dad asked me if I wanted to show a pig, I was a nervous wreck the day I walked in that show ring. I walked in and gave it the best I had. In this journey of life, I will do the same.
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