And then God made an ag mama….
Here’s to all you combine-driving, cattle chasing, hay bale makin’, mean-cow dodging, fence-fixing, cow milking, chicken catchin’, kid-raisin’ ag mamas out there—we SALUTE YOU! You supplied us the bacon for that breakfast in bed on this Mother’s Day morning, and the beef for that big, juicy steak supper. You grew the grapes for that much needed wine, and you also raised the chickens for a Mother’s Day Sunday fried chicken lunch. This Mother’s Day, we owe a special shoutout to all those mamas raisin’ our food and raisin’ the littles who will be our future food growers. Because, let’s face it…. What would Mother’s Day (and life?!) be without moms, and especially our ag mamas?!
Let’s start with our rancher mamas out there. The ones who would rather be horseback than in a limo. The ones first to head out the barn with the fencing pliers in hand to spend the day getting the pastures ready for summer. These mamas will let that newborn baby calf who is oh-so-cold soak in her Jacuzzi bathtub she finally got after 30 years of marriage (true story from my mama Jodi), just to get warmed up and ready to face the world. And the ones who have to work cattle with their cowboy husbands….. (and often times the in-laws too!). Now, working cattle is supposed to be stress free and quiet, and it is… for the cattle. But between rancher mama and cowboy—well that’s a different story. “I TOLD YOU TO SHUT THE GATE!!!” and “WHAT THE %$# ARE YOU DOING—I SAID COW #301 NOT #103!” Needless to say, that same rancher mama is up the next day, horses loaded, kids in tow, and a smile on her face. Because she still (crazily enough) loves her husband, loves what she does, and wants to provide safe and nutritious beef for the world. That same rancher mama will have those children in the sale barn, learning where the best away-from-home cooking is at, and learning to have pride in the livestock they have raised. She will get up and check heifers at 2 AM, even after having sick kids up all day and night at home. And she isn’t afraid to pull a calf in the field if she has to (nothing like a pasture “home birth”). So, let’s raise a glass to all our steak-raising, cowboy-loving rancher mamas!
Now to the farming mama, and I will use a personal example for this one. My mother weighs all of 95 pounds. When *she* (not my dad.. it’s hers) got a new combine, an alarm kept going off while she was trying to operate it. Stubborn farmer husband (AKA my dad) swore she was doing something wrong, but it turns out, she just doesn’t weigh enough to keep the machine operating (it thinks the driver has fallen off the seat). So, she proudly ties a bag of rocks to the bottom of the seat cushion and keeps on harvesting away. My mother doesn’t get a luxury car. She gets a new MacDon swather instead, because for her, happiness comes in the form of a good rain and healthy hay crop. Farming mamas of the world are the ones to bring the picnic supper out to the wheat stubble so the family can sit down and have a meal together in the field. Or they pack burritos that can be reheated in tinfoil on the motor of a tractor during a busy planting season. They drive around with a baby in tow, because the corns gotta be cut, and there aren’t exactly sitters 30 miles from town. They make our bread from the wheat they grow and our barley from the barley they harvest. And they raise up children with a respect for the land and a desire to leave it better for their children and grandchildren to come. We salute you farming mamas of the world!
And of course, our dairy farmer mamas… I have seen dairy farmer mamas send the only cash they have, the last $100 from the milk sold that week, to their children in college, because they aren’t afraid of sacrifice. Dairy farmer mamas who are up at 4 AM every day, and milking cows three times that day, only to go inside and fix a meal for their family. Dairy farmer mamas who wouldn’t dare ask their husband to take them on a vacation, because they know that it is hard to find good help to entrust their cows to. They are the women who provide us with butter, milk, cheese, and of course, ICE CREAM. Thank you dairy farmer mamas.
The list could go on and on—produce-farming mams, chicken-raising mamas, bacon-making mamas, etc…. And many of these mamas play several roles in the agriculture world. My mother loves her cows and her combines. You see, women are responsible for 60-80% of the agriculture labor force worldwide (www.fao.org).In rural parts of the world, women often do all of the agriculture work, and raise their children while doing it. Often, these women will sacrifice many of their own wants and needs to put their children, husband, land and animal needs in front of their own. And they wouldn’t it any other way. My mom doesn’t want a fancy dress or a new diamond ring. She wants a nice cow or a nice horse saddle. She knows every cow on the place (and there are several hundred of them!) and she is works from sunup to sundown during planting and harvest—like all of our agriculture mamas do. Let’s show some extra love to our ag mamas this Mother’s Day. The ones producing our food and our future farmers. So here’s to you farming, dairying, ranching, vegetable-raising, pork-producing, ranching, agriculturist mamas out there! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY from all us grateful food eaters.