I have had the pleasure to have some great jobs in agriculture since graduating college. After graduating I accepted a position with ABS Global selling bull semen and breeding cows. I met some pretty amazing beef and dairy producers that treated me like I was one of their own children. These people care for their animals like they care for their families. Heck most of them feel these animals ARE part of the family. I recently accepted a new position as the district sales manager for Stewart Seeds. While I still get to visit with my old customers I have gained a new customer base.
While out prospecting (stopping in to visit with people that do not currently purchase my brand of seed) this past week I stumbled upon a very nice and well kept grain facility. I was pretty excited because I actually saw someone around to talk with! This time of year it is hard to find people because when the weather is nice most people are out in the fields harvesting their crops. I walked up to the nice older gentleman that was hooking up his tractor to a mower and introduced myself. It took but only a few seconds for the man to start telling me his life story.
One of the things I quickly learned from being in sales is that farmers and ranchers LOVE telling you their story and why they do what they do. It wasn't long before I saw tears rolling down this man's cheeks. He has been farming for 56 years. Recently he has been having heart trouble and had to make the hard decision to retire. As of December 1 he will no longer be farming and auctioning off everything. If he still had his health he said he would continue until he died. He started farming at 15 years old when his father passed away. He said he left school one day, went to the local equipment dealer and purchased his first one row corn picker. And that is where his passion and career began.
It was hard to not tear up myself listening to his story. This is the most frustrating part when you hear these stories and then read rude and heartless comments on stories saying farmers and ranchers only do things because of the money. I would challenge anyone that has that opinion to talk to a farmer or rancher. You will learn quite quickly it isn't just a job. It's a passion and a way of life. That was shown to me that day as I stood there listening to a 70 yr old man tell his story in tears and be literally heartbroken for having to retire due to health reasons.
I was reassured that day that the agriculture industry has to be one of the most passionate and fulfilling industries out there. I truly believe that.