This month in Prairie Farmer, we devoted an issue to celebrating all that's good in agriculture (here, here, here, here and here). It's been a tough production year on the farm, and it felt like a good time to pause, reflect, and remember the good.
And so with that in mind, we invited readers to participate. In the meantime, I drove up to the Joe and Emily Webel farm and shot some photos of their lovely family. They shared their thoughts on why they love farming, and it was so perfect. I loved it completely, and I loved how real they were about their operation and their life.
So here, I share with you the story from the front of this month's Prairie Farmer. My apologies if you've read it already, but some stories bear repeating, especially when there's a chance for a non-farm audience to see them.
It's been a year to remember in Illinois agriculture, and for all the wrong reasons. Foul weather, foul harvests, foul moods.
Still, is there something to celebrate in farming? Prairie Farmer thinks so. Even in a crummy year.
So do Joe and Emily Webel, who farm with Emily's family near Farmington. They say there's a lot to celebrate, and their farm family is at the top of the list.
"I want my kids to have a connection to their family heritage," Joe says. "This isn’t just what we do; it's what seven generations of Webels have done. No other job provides the opportunity to teach so much about life, seasons and change, and connecting with nature as farming."
Emily agrees. "Life as a farm kid isn't just location, it's an identity. It is who they are, not just their address. The lessons learned from open space and solitude and chores and multiple generations of family are far better than cruising around town on one's bike, like I did."
And like scores of other farm kids all around the state, the Webel kids are learning to work alongside Dad. "My kids see their dad working constantly. They are witnessing work ethic so much that they're almost desensitized," Emily laughs.
"I love that they can jump in the truck or tractor with me after school and tell me about their day and just be with me," Joe adds. "They’ll never be this little again, and I treasure the chance to be in their life as much as possible."
The archives: 30 Days on a Prairie Farm
Kickoff: 30 Days on a Prairie Farm
Day 1: Working Kids
Day 2: Biotechnology
Day 3: Harvest Eats
Day 4: Church
Day 5: Biotechnology, Again
Day 6: Long Haul
Day 7: Hormones
Day 8: Weather
Day 9: Milk
Day 10: County Fairs
Day 11: Harvest
Day 12: Technology
Day 13: Show Ring
Day 14: Leave the Farm
Day 15: Dialogue
Day 16: Store Grain
More "30 Days" farm blogs
Looking for more 30 Days goodness? My Generation has friends and we're all blogging a "30 Days" series in November. Check out what these farm bloggers are talking about this month.
Beyer Beware: 30 Days, 30 Things You Never Knew About Food
Black Ink: Beef's a Trip - 30 Days from Gate to Plate
Confessions of a Farm Wife: 30 Days of Life on our Farm
Le Jardin da ma Vie: 30 Reasons Why I Love Being a Farmer's Wife
Go Go Bookworm: 30 Days of Farm Kid Stories
Kelly McCormick Photography: 30 Days of Thankfulness
Pinke Post: 30 Days of a North Dakota November
Go Beyond the Barn: 30 Days of Farm Life Blessings
Rural Route 2: 30 Days of the Not-So-Glamorous Life of This Farm Wife
Touching Families: 30 Days of a Town Girl Touched by the Farming Life
This Land, This Life, This Farmer's Wife: 30 Days of Thankfulness on a Family Farm
Farmgirldays: 30 Days of Farm Kids Trapped in the City
My Cows and Pigs: 30 Days of "What's that?"
Dennis Olmstead: 30 Days in a Row
White House on the Prairie: 30 Days, 30 Posts
A Colorful Adventure: 30 Days of JP