Every farm begins with a story. Grooming the next generation of farmers in your family should be no different. It should be characterized by a love of the land, the discovery of new things, and excitement for the future. This is one family’s story.
Looking out the kitchen window over the rolling fields of sagebrush and rangeland, I see two little heads bobbing up and down as they trudge down the hill and make their way toward the house. Our dog races ahead of them. They take chase and all arrive quickly on the front porch panting and smiling.
“Where have you been?” I ask.
“On an adventure!” comes the wide-eyed, grinning reply. “Come with us! We have to show you!”
They hand me bouquets of handpicked wildflowers and grasses, pointing out which ones they think I will like the best.
Their excitement is not lost on me. I can’t bear to tell them that I grew up on this farm, near this pasture, and that I know this place like the back of my hand; instead, I follow and share in the excitement and newness of their discoveries.
They lead me along an old tire path forged by my dad and grandpa checking cattle over the years. We take note of the prickly pear cacti and bushy tufts of Love Grass standing proudly above the other prairie grasses.
We stumble upon a baby bunny and a deer antler, and they discover a row of fence that hasn’t stood erect in the last 40 years. It is now half buried with protrusions of rusty barbed wire and rotting wooden fence posts. All these things are treasures to them. This is their field of treasure.
I knew someday they would find this state of adventure on the farm. I found it at their age. My sister and I would wander across this land that seemed so raw and untouched. We would surmise that cowboys had traversed this prairie before us and that Native Americans had camped near the stream in the rugged Oklahoma wilderness.
I don’t dare complicate this moment by pointing out that other children don’t experience the land like this. This is unique to kids who grow up on the farm, who can run out the front door on any given day without a thought or a plan and find adventure waiting for them.
I simply smile and “ooohh” and “ahhhh” as they guide me through “uncharted territory”, knowing in my heart that these days of playing in the fields are shaping their character and gently nurturing their love of this farm – our farm. Their inheritance will not simply be a thing of monetary value but an intrinsic part of their childhood. When it is time for this farm to be theirs, they will feel honored because they have loved it from the beginning, just as I did.
This is the narrative of the fifth and sixth generations of one Oklahoma farming family. What will your family’s story be? Contact us for more information about grooming the next generation on your farm.