Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beginning Farming Beyond Finances

I realize that when it comes to beginning a farm from scratch and jumping into the world of farming money seems to be one of the largest hurdle (I know it sure is on my mind a lot). But, as we have spent these last couple of years on our journey towards farming I think we have realized that there are three things that are probably just as important or even more important. I think those three are communication, strength, and sacrifice. I'm not saying that we have nailed each one of those, but they really are key to farming ... and in our case beginning a farm.

Communication: I think this one is both about communication and about our entire family having a willingness to reach a goal (although the little ones don't really comprehend it all). Through out the dream stage, the planning stage, the making it come together stage, and now the making it happen stage one of the biggest things that my wife and I have been able to do is communicate with each other what our feelings/fears/excitements are. This communication has really helped us come up with our dream and not just my dream or her dream. It has effected everything from where we want to farm to what we want to do on the farm and what our house will look like. This one is huge!

Strength: Unfortunately I'm not talking about physical strength because I don't have a lot of that, although it does come in handy... What I am specifically talking about is the strength to keep pressing on. I will be the first to admit that my strength has wavered often, but I know that I have been able to keep on going because of the help of my wife (communication) and because of our strong desire to reach our goals. There have been times when it seemed like everything would fall apart in the farming, the planning, and now in the building. But, throughout all of those times it continues to be our collective strength, desire, and calling that has helped us push on.

Sacrifice: This one does directly touch on the financial topic again, but it isn't only about pinching pennies or lagging behind the Jones'. There has also been sacrifice in of our time and some of the other pursuits that we have in our lives. But, we really believe that if we feel led to farming and desire to pursue it there are going to be sacrifices ... sacrifices that we are willing to take. I know this is important though because as you look back throughout history you see much strength and joy in the midst of great sacrifice.

Like I said, I know that the finances will always play a role in whether or not the farm is able to get off of the ground. On the other hand if you have all the money in the world but you are lacking these things (and others) it probably won't matter. At least these are just my thoughts for the moment as I reflect on the journey so far...

6 comments:

Rich said...

"...But, we really believe that if we feel led to farming and desire to pursue it there are going to be sacrifices ... sacrifices that we are willing to take..."

If you are able to spend days, weeks, years, or decades doing satisfying work while creating a home, a productive farm, and a memorable childhood for your children, have you actually sacrificed anything significant?

Michael Libbie said...

Ethan: Great write-up in the Register. You'll have to join our weekly radio show on Sunday mornings at 8 on 98.3 WOW-FM: Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country. Just google Highway 6 Radio. Hope to have you on in the future? Michael

anzela said...

Ethan,
I read the article in the Register and I was touched. Farming is one of the hardest careers a person will ever undertake. This work is never done. I want to reassure you there are lots of rewards as well…

Having grown up on a small farm in SE Iowa, I am well acquainted with the hardships that you are living. Financially it is never easy. Yes, farming has its short coming but it also provides many wonderful memories and skills.

Unfortunately, our small farmers are disappearing before our eyes. The costs to tackle a farm are massive. It is even harder when you have to start from scratch.

I want to encourage you and Becca not to give up on this dream. I remember my parents struggling but at the end of the day it was all worth it.

Valley View said...

Guys

We're that the same point in this adventure as you - but on the other side of the world. Amazing how things can be so similar so far away - We just need to beat the drought. I've found that when there is no money it dosen't mean you have to stop, you can still tidy up the place, clear weeds or pick up rocks. Good Luck too you

karine said...

Loved the article...if we were younger we'd be following in your footsteps.
We will be following the journey!
God Bless!

Jean said...

Karine- you can still follow your dream somewhat even in "old age". You can always buy a small lot beside StoneyField and go co-op with them. That's a true community... and I miss it a lot!

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