In the last couple weeks, a single Harvest Land ag center has had two life-long farm couples pull their wagons across the scales for the last time. No illness has caused this finality, no financial defeat impedes, they’re simply ready to enjoy this later chapter of life doing other things.
What a realization of seeing these farewell photos on social media brought; there is a true changing of the guard amongst families in agriculture. Those in their late sixties, early seventies are choosing to put the combine away one last time and not worry about the spring.
They’re selling what’s in the bin and renting the storage to someone else.
They’re cleaning up equipment so it can go on to the next steward.
They’re closing the books on a record year.
They’ll still wake before dawn and check the markets while the coffee brews.
They’ll still talk about the weather at every opportunity.
They’ll still stand in awe of new machinery at a farm show or neighbor’s shop.
They’ll still prefer the smell of freshly cut hay or the inside of the milking parlor to any cologne in a bottle.
They’ll still think the next generation doesn’t know how good they have it.
They’ll still worry about safety and say a silent prayer when they hear the local volunteer fire department race through the township on an October day.
They’ll still drive around in the spring and summer scouting crops.
They’ll still wear their Harvest Land hats and jackets they’ve acquired over the years, and they’ll regularly check the rain gauge we gave them during the soggy spring of 2017.
They’ll still subscribe to Farm World, Progressive Farmer and other publications that clutter the station beside the recliner so they’re still in the know.
They’ll still proudly call themselves a life-long farmer.
We have no doubt there are others out there calling the 2018 harvest their last as they enjoy retirement, perhaps they did not post farewell photos taken at the ag center to Facebook.
And we’ll miss them.
Their years of experience.
Their optimism gained from years gone by.
Their tired hands that have known the struggle.
Their passion for the work and the appreciation of the industry.
But we wish them the best, and we thank them for their years of business and partnership with Harvest Land Co-op. There is always a spot for you to visit with us at the ag center counter.