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Farm-HER problems

Erica Louder for Progressive Forage Published on 07 March 2017
Erica Louder and child

For as long as there have been farmers there have been farm wives. And today, we are not just farm wives; many of us are farmers in our own right. In an occupation where work, family and lifestyle are so impossibly intermingled, a female farmer faces a unique set of challenges.

Some of these challenges are real problems, and some of them, well, are just plain funny. For our non-ag family and friends, they will probably result in a few raised eyebrows. For us, they may just provide the humor needed to get through another day. I talked with some of my fellow female farmers to come up with this list of farm-HER problems. Because sometimes you just need to laugh at yourself.

• Going to the Farm Bureau convention without children is considered a romantic getaway.

• Cleaning silage out of the washer and hay out of the dryer vent is a regular occurrence.

• A rainy day is the closet thing your husband gets to a day off, but even then it’s questionable.

• Receiving the dreaded phone call, “The cows are out.” Or even worse, receiving that phone call from the sheriff’s department at 2 o’clock in the morning.

• Thinking you are tan after a hard day of work only to realize your ankles are just covered in dirt.

• A family vacation isn’t a vacation until you stop at the tractor dealership to check out their stock of used equipment.

• You relive your college animal science anatomy lesson using the Sunday dinner roast.

• Hearing (or providing) comments like, “The baby was 9 pounds? Her husband must not be calving ease.”

• Before you can stop at Costco for groceries, you stop at Valley Country Store for tractor grease and at Don’s Irrigation for sprinkler heads.

• Your husband justifies your very chubby second baby with the rationale that “second calf heifers always produce more milk than first calf heifers.”

• Arguing with your brother-in-law the merits of having girls because, you know, dairy heifers are worth substantially more than dairy bulls.

• Your daughter actually gets the pony her friends have always wanted.

• When you sort clothes for the laundry, you do so based on how dirty they are instead of their color.

• Your fridge has as many bottles of 8-way and Lepto as it has gallons of milk.

• Having sandwiches in the cab of the tractor or on the tailgate of a pickup is the closest you’ve gotten to a picnic in a very long time.

Some of these problems have chased farm wives though the centuries and some of them are pretty recent inventions. Thanks to the buddy seat on the tractor and the side-by-side ATV, life is getting a little easier as we mix our families and farming. But in doing so, we can find ourselves in some pretty crazy situations and conversations.

I don’t think many of us would have it any other way – well, except for the second-calf heifer comment. I could do without that one. My chubby baby and I have been the brunt of that joke one too many times.

What would you add to the list?  end mark

Erica Louder is a freelancer based in Idaho.

PHOTO: Erica Louder mixes family and farm, as do many women in today's agriculture, from her home in Hazelton, Idaho. Photo provided by Erica Louder.

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