I’m a farm kid – born and raised on a dairy farm. As a child, I was sometimes envious of my friends who lived in town. They had other kids to play with just down the street, the ability to walk to the store for candy, or ride their bikes to the swimming pool. I thought they were the “lucky ones.” As I grew up, I soon realized that I was the lucky one, and that my childhood on the farm was pretty awesome. Raising my own children on a farm became a priority for my husband and I as we planned what our future family would look like. Here are 10 reasons why I think raising a family on the farm is a pretty great idea:
10. There is no limit on room to run. Kids on the farm can run all day and never cross the same path twice. My girls love to venture across the pasture and play in the woods near our house.
9. We have 2 of every item of clothing for each child – 2 coats, 2 snowpants, 2 pairs of boots – 1 pair for “good” and 1 pair for the barn. We also have an entire drawer of “everyday clothes” that are fine for getting messy in.
7. My girls realize that food isn’t created in the back of the grocery store. Farm kids learn that producing food takes real work. They know the labor and long hours that go into bringing a harvest to market. They also learn responsibility – rain, snow, heat, or cold the animals need to be fed and cared for. The animals eat before we do.
6. Farm kids understand the circle of life at an early age. Both of my girls have witnessed the beginning of life and the end of life on our farm. We are excited about the birth of new baby lambs and sad when a barn cat gets run over, or the pigs go to market. Our girls learn to deal with these situations in a healthy way by processing them with the people they love.
5. To go along with #6, farm kids know the difference between pets and livestock. We may have a favorite ewe or chicken, but these are livestock, not pets. Our children know that these animals are being raised for meat and that we do everything we can to ensure they are harvested humanely and with dignity.
4. Farm kids are creative – I can think back to my own childhood and the songs that were lip-synced to the barn radio and strummed on a pitchfork guitar.
3. Farm kids are exposed early and regularly to all kinds of allergens and bacteria bugs. This exposure helps build their immunity and avoid allergies.
2. Farm kids know that dinner is served at noon, lunch is coffee and cookies at 3pm, and supper is the evening meal.
1. Farm kids are the best advocates for agriculture and the farming way of life – my girls love to talk about our farm with their friends, teachers, strangers in the grocery line… I’m thankful they’re so excited about agriculture – they will be the next generation feeding us all!