The Hard and the Great

My Generation

Baseball and farming: they are maybe not so different.

Published on: April 9, 2013

Last month, I was asked to speak at the Women in Agriculture conference, held in the Quad Cities, and organized by several Illinois Farm Bureaus. It was a fun and fabulous day. We learned about marketing, legislation and accounting software, just to name a few topics. And then I got to wrap up the day with a few thoughts on agriculture and farm life.

As part of the presentation, my fabulous friend and local Fulton County Farm Bureau manager, Elaine Stone, asked me to create a handout for the women. "Something inspirational," she said.

So I did some thinking. And I paired my most-recent-favorite quote with my most-favorite spring photo.

The quote is a line from one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own – which, incidentally was filmed very close to my hometown - my bus driver was an extra in the stands. In the movie, Tom Hanks played the baseball coach, and at one point he told one of his players, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."

Sure, he's talking baseball, but have you ever heard something that rang more true for farming as well?

It's the hard that makes it great.

It's not easy telling folks what we do, when they have ocean-sized opinions and mud-puddle-sized experience. It's not easy getting up every day and feeding cows in the snow. Or growing corn in a drought. Or waiting for the rain to stop. It's not easy living in a community you didn't grow up in. Some days it's even pretty tough to farm with the family that you love, but we all know those days come sometimes.

Life on the farm is not easy. It's a hard life. But it's the hard that makes it great.