Being a First Time Farm Girl

By: Payton Guthrie

Not all farmers are born on the farm. Some of us get there by way of an interest or by way of a marriage! As you get started, there are tons of challenges, as with any new job. Training for farming is just like training to be an accountant - the setting is just different. On a farm, the best way to learn it is by doing it. And the good news is that extra hands on a farm are a great thing! To be helpful and involved, you have to be open to learning and willing to get a little dirty (sometimes a LOT dirty!) Here are just a couple of ways to get started when you are new to the farm, from my experience of joining my farmer after being raised as a city girl.

Payton

Help out! Most farmers will welcome any assistance and relish the opportunity to teach why they run things the way that they do. There may be some more advanced tasks that they prefer to do on their own, but there are several that they can delegate. Just by asking what you can do, your farmer will know that you care and are willing to roll your sleeves up! You gotta be willing to put in the work because practice makes perfect!

Don't be intimidated! It's okay to start off small and learn as you go. For me, it was carrying milk buckets from the milk parlor to the barn. This cuts down on the time he had to spend making several trips back and forth. After carrying milk buckets, I'd do other simple tasks like filling the cows' water buckets and bottle-feeding the calves. It's true that the little things mean the most!

Be attentive! Pay attention to the little things, like learning the rations of what to give to the animals. Then you can do them yourself! My farmer will drop me off at the farrowing house while he goes to the upper hog house, so that I can give all of the sows their scoop of feed. I know that if they're sick and look like they aren't eating to only give them half a scoop. When you listen and learn, you can handle tasks on your own! Your farmer will appreciate the help and your attention to detail.

Learn to operate the machinery! My farmer has to grind feed several times a week so that the animals can have enough to eat. This is a little time-consuming, but because I learned how to drive a tractor, I am now a part of the process. I stay in the tractor and operate the power take-off (which in turn grinds and mixes the feed) and then drive up to the hog barns. This cuts time in half by keeping my farmer from having to get into and out of the tractor several times. When you figure out how the machinery works, you can be a vital part of things operating smoothly! Plus, driving a tractor is fun!

Being a woman on a farm is far more than just being something pretty to look at or a tag-a-long. A great relationship is built on being there for your significant other, especially when they need you most. Listen and learn, don't be afraid to get your nails dirty, help him out, and have fun while you're doing it! After all, there's always something else to do on a farm.

Payton enjoys spending time with her farmer as he runs his family-owned Wind Crest Farms - 60 sows, 400 hogs, 66 Angus cows, 40 Holstein steers. She is a medical assistant. Her favorite parts of the farm are pulling pigs and riding in the tractor.

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