Lessons Learned in the Shop


When harvest will start within a week, everyone is busy. The semi and grain trailer are backed in and with a three man crew, it sounds like a full service tire shop with an air gun flying across lug nuts. Meanwhile batteries are getting packed and hooked up to the combines. The “scratch” and “pop” of the wire-feed welder can be heard while the headers are getting patched. It’s a typical scramble to get everything “turn key” ready before the mad dash of harvest begins. Even in the scramble, lessons are learned each and everyday by all present.

Lesson 1: You don’t know everything.

Just because you are working with your kids doesn’t mean their ideas are dumb. That being said, just because your dad’s idea may seem dated, doesn’t mean that they don’t have a valid reason for doing it. Lessons can be learned from every idea and experience.

Lesson 2: Jump in and shut up.

There is a time to talk and there is a time to listen. In the pressure of getting a combine running again after a hydraulic hose blows, it is not the time for a smart-ass remark or time for everyone to be in charge. A good leader will know when to step back and take orders.

Lesson 3: Grease is the best lotion.

Greasing equipment is not and never will be clean. Your hands will be black within 15 minutes. But a little dirt and grime never hurt anyone. Always be willing to jump in and help in any situation no matter how dirty or unappealing it may seem. Those who help and don’t flinch at the sucky jobs are the ones who succeed in life.

These apply to all walks of life, but they happen to be a few lessons I have learned on my family’s farm and ranch. Life on the farm is not glamorous, it’s not easy, but it’s a way of life that I love. It has taught me so much about myself, my love for farming and caring for livestock, and it will continue to teach me life lessons each and everyday.


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