Rural observations

2022 June portrait, WYO Writers

A farmer or rancher can fully appreciate a homemade meal; not just home-cooked, but home raised. It can take at least 18 months to get that meal on the table, if you count the beef. A full summer is needed for the preparation of the sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon that top off the meal. Maybe it’s the dirt under the fingernails that adds flavor, or the sweat from the brow; either way you look at it, you can enjoy it. Anything you work for in life, means more, whether it’s your crops, garden or other achievements.

Each American farmer raises enough to feed 166 other people annually with just 1 percent of Americans working in production agriculture. There is a renewed sense of desire to be on the land.  Notice that many of the present generation, the ones farthest removed from the farms and ranches now are interested in agriculture. Many have fond memories of visiting the grandparents’ farms, but it is much more than that. This generation has realized that rural, and all that it entails, can make a huge, positive difference in their lives and in the upbringing of their children.

Ranchers and farmers have to be self-starters. Some folks who punch a time clock frequently comment about how nice it must be to be self-employed, to take days off whenever the whim strikes. The truth is most self-employed people work longer and harder at their jobs than the general population, just ask any successful entrepreneur.

Many people who have never set foot on a farm or ranch are getting the idea of an idyllic, easy life. Heck, on a ranch all you have to do is get up, saddle your horse, and ride. They watch too many movies. Yet if they try living on, and working an agricultural property, they will soon realize there is much more to the life style and the expectations. They will either hate it and move back to town or fall in love with it and figure out a way to make it become a permanent move. They may have to lease instead of buy land, work a job or two in town, share crop, or whatever it takes to get started. It’s hard, physical work and the mental part — the management — is difficult. Weather is always a factor. Before you go to bed you may have the plan to till a field in the morning. When you awaken and find out a nice rain has come through overnight, and you will have to change your work plan. There is always fence to fix or build and hundreds of other things to get done, so rain doesn’t necessarily call for an inactive day. Last minute changes often dictate the daily work. If you aren’t good with these scenarios, you would be wise to rethink going into agriculture.

Sanders writes at the family ranch when she is not going for parts, holding wrenches, or other versatile farm-wife jobs. Comments can be directed to

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