“Farming is a profession of hope.” – Brian Brett

I occasionally find myself in a position to share my experiences with young people, an audience which often includes college students.  As a farmer for almost all of my adult life, I’m often drawn to use these opportunities to discuss my experiences and lifelong relationship with agriculture.  Farming is a simple concept – you plant a seed, foster it in various ways, and, some number of days and months later, harvest what it yields.  In practice, farming is remarkably complex.  The profession involves many learned, varied skills, practices and endless planning.  And then there’s the hoping.

As much as farming has to do with laboring, it’s equal parts an exercise in philosophy and faith.  I can’t think of many other professions where months of hard work can be undone in a single moment.  Farmers are at the mercy of Mother Nature every second of every day.  If you’re not a philosophical person by nature, farming will turn you into one.  Farming requires you to trust not only in your own abilities and work ethic, but in forces wholly out of your control. 

Of all of the lessons farming has taught me, the most important are philosophical in nature.  A tractor and planter are used to put a seed in the ground, but patience, faith, and hope are required to watch it grow.