No days off, but always thankful.

Coming home this holiday season, it is nice to take a break from school, relax and embrace some time at home with the family. However, when I come home, the term relax is used loosely. One thing is certain: on a farm, there are no days off. But, we are always thankful.

Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks for the loved ones in our lives, the blessings we have been granted and the opportunities we have in America. But through the years, I think this holiday is used loosely as well. I can remember when Black Friday deals were strictly on the Friday following Thanksgiving, when no stores were open on this day, and when Christmas music and advertisements did not begin until after our turkey bellies had subsided. What has happened in recent years? I think it comes down to greed and a lack of appreciation for why we get this day off work: to be thankful.

Just like some of the store workers, law enforcement officers, journalists and other public employees who still work on holidays, farmers do as well. But amid the labor and work we endure, I think those in the rural community are the most appreciative of the day because they continue to give.

Tonight, I helped dad with livestock chores. We fed the cattle and goats their grain and hay.

Dad pours the mixed feed into the feed bunk for the
cattle every morning and evening. They are also fed
organically grown hay.

The steers and heifers are fed out to market weight
and then are sold to local families for freezer beef.
Our nanny goats are fed hay as we get ready for kidding
season in the spring.
Our  cows get fed round bales of hay in the outside lot.
Dad is removing the wrapping to drop the bale into
the feeder.
The cows are waiting for dad to give them their
Thanksgiving dinner.

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The thing about livestock, these animals need us. It isn’t just our job. We are the caretakers for them. In order to make them happy and healthy, we care for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Farmers, like my family, are thankful for this gift we are given in the agriculture industry to change lives–every day of our lives.

Even though we don’t get “days off”, we are always thankful. I hope today and every day, you thank a farmer.