15, 2007: Sometimes the questions we ask ourselves can
be more revealing than the answers themselves. Like me, you might
occasionally find yourself asking some soul-searching questions
about your motivation for being a farmer.
I'll try to explain, somewhat awkwardly, my personal reasons for
making this choice. It has to do with the unique characteristics
of being self-employed, in a family and community environment while
always being exposed to the natural elements. Weather has a funny
way of influencing our conversations, our family activities and
our work plans. Neigbours have a peculiar way of interrupting us
on the busiest of days, wasting some small-talk time and leaving
us feeling enriched and grateful for the exchange.
My main reason for choosing farming, however, is because I believe
that I have been “called” to this profession. In responding
to the call, I've become engrossed in the huge diversity and broadness
that farming encompasses—everything from soil organisms to
animal behavior to customer health and vitality.
A calling is the notion that a higher authority or knowledge has
a plan for us. This is a tough concept in a world of intellectual
knowledge, personal freedom and market rewards. For me, a close
look at the beauty of the plan for all life reveals the intricacies,
the interdependence, the complexity of the whole natural food chain.
It leaves me in full appreciation of the blessing to be charged
with the duty—and excited by the responsibility—to be
a co-creator in these highly refined processes and balances.
Science has discovered so much knowledge about creation and yet
we have hardly scratched the surface as to the magnitude and relationship
of the organisms in the soil. We probably know more about outer
space than we do about what lies beneath the soil surface. Many
scientists will tell you that the greater their discoveries in our
creation, the more they feel they have yet to discover!
A farmer has a privileged role to play, that of scientist, designer,
operator and benefactor in a world so complex and beautiful that
no man or computer can fathom its extent. I ask myself, "Why
is farming so challenging, yet so stimulating and fun?" I think
it’s because I responded to a calling to be a contributor
in the circle of life.
How could I have been blessed to be called to a vocation for which
I will never be fit? For me, this is the mystery that keeps life
exciting and the work of creation (farming) so dynamic and surprising.
You know, it's a lot like parenting. We can never be completely
prepared; no amount of learning will adequately prepare us for the
next turn in events or the challenges we must face. As long as we
are willing to learn as we go, we will evolve with life and continue
to be surprised at the unexpected times of learning, fulfillment
I'm totally convinced that—for me—only a vocation like
family farming can deliver all this and much, much more.