95 degrees, sun high in the sky with the roar of the combine off in the distance. A little blonde boy, dressed in jeans, a short sleeve button down and an oversized Central Washington Grain Growers hat waits in the truck with his mom for Grandpa to come pick him up in the semi. In the distance, he sees a wall of dust coming their way, Grandpa and the semi coming in hot. A quick kiss from his mom and he grabs his lunch box and water-jug that nearly drag on the ground, he runs towards the semi and scrambles into the cab, ready to spend the day in the harvest field with his hero, his grandpa.
It’s spring, the grass is greening up, the sky is alive and it is calving season. With a light fog just starting to lift at 6 a.m., a young man, follows behind a cow and her new born calf towards the barn. His dad, behind him, follows another cow and calf in to the barn. Once to the barn, the calves are given their first vaccinations. The young boy carefully administers the first shot as his father does. Once done, the calf jumps up and heads to nurse off momma.
With the tractor backed into the shop, it’s time to drain the oil, change the filters and winterize it before parking it for the long winter ahead. Under the tractor crawls a young woman, with grease-covered hands, dirty jeans and shirt, and her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She asks her dad to hand her a filter wrench and a “9” (9/16 wrench). Together, they pull the plug, drain the oil and change the filter.
Life on the farm means learning from experiences. Whether it was growing up riding in the semi with your grandpa, or treating newborn calves or working in the shop with your dad, lessons about agriculture and hard work are taught.
Farming is a family business, a business and a trade that is passed down from one generation to the next. Many farms are incorporated, so yes, they are “corporate farms” but not in the way that term is typically used. They are incorporated to protect their millions in assets and allow for the farm to continue to be passed down to the next generation. Grandparents, parents, children, cousins and grandchildren all take part in the operation, all jumping in and helping, never afraid to get dirty.