An open letter to my husband, my family, and farming friends:

I see you.

I see you checking your phone to see what the weather is going to do, what the markets did, and what the latest news story is on your profession.

I see you praying silently at church and wonder if you are asking for a rebound in the markets or are just thanking our Lord for a healthy family and a roof over their heads.

I see you teaching the next generation how to conserve and care for the land because it is the only one we will ever get.

I see the worry in your eyes when more severe weather is on its way.

I see you looking up to those who have gone before you seeking or at least wondering what their advice would be.

I hear you.

I hear you cussing and becoming short-tempered as Flood Creek is once again teasing the edges of her banks and threatening to rip out the fence that your family spent hours putting back up after her last rage.

I hear you (under your breath) asking, “Why do we do this?” But then I see the grin on your face when a healthy calf hits the ground.

I hear your frustration when parts break and machines quit working.

I smell you.

I smell the sweat from a hard day’s work that often starts before the sun comes up and ends when the stars are out.

I smell the manure you are hauling to fertilize our fields and to create a comfortable, clean space for our animals.

I smell the fresh-cut hay as it lay waiting to be baled to feed our cattle and provide income for our family.

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I feel you.

I feel the pain that you’re feeling when you turn the other cheek to a critic about your profession or those people blasting comments about taking the insurance check.

I feel your frustration when that heifer we set up the perfect artificial insemination protocol for came back into heat or when the rain came right before our intended hay baling date.

I feel you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are thinking about what to plant and how much grain to sell and thinking about how you will get it all done.

I taste you.

I taste your hard work in the meat that you raised and the crops that you produced when we sit down at our table to enjoy a meal with our family and friends.

I taste the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating every ounce.

To all farmers, ranchers, and farming families: I see you. We see you.

I see you because I am standing behind you every step of the way. I make it my goal to stay positive for our community, share what life on our farm is like, to provide a strong arm to hold you up when you want to fall and to encourage you to keep going when you feel like stopping.

Do you see us? Do you see what the farmers and ranchers are trying to do? I challenge you to make sure you are truly seeing what is going on around you.

I see you, from the gravel road,
Jen

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Jennifer Schmitt

Jennifer Schmitt was born and raised in rural Iowa. She is a country girl, beef lover, wife, mom of two girls, and a special education consultant. Jennifer enjoys writing stories that include bits and pieces of her childhood memories and the new memories she is making with her own children. She loves hiding little hints of rural Iowa within her books, some of those hidden things may be little small town secrets, but some may be nationally known. When Jennifer isn't working at her day job you can find her spending time outdoors with her family on their farm in Iowa or blogging at www.tailsfromthegravelroad.com