If Our Boys Want to Farm, They Need To Get a Degree

School, school, school is all we have been talking about around our place lately. Erik is in preschool twice a week and just loves it. It is amazing how fast he is growing up and all the neat things he is learning. Each day when we drop Erik off at his class Jonnie gets really mad that he cannot stay. He has cried everyday when we leave since September. The three of us attend an Early Childhood Education Class on Friday’s (dubbed as Friday School in our house). Jonnie thinks this is his special school.

Erik and Mrs. M

Our boys are quick learners and I personally think they are the smartest kids around (bias, yes). Jonnie always talks about how he wants to be a farmer like Daddy. I think he would make a fine farmer some day, but first he will need to get his education.

Not too long ago, it was common practice for parents to encourage their “smart” kids to go to college and get a job away from the farm. For those that maybe weren’t cut out for college, there was always the farm to fall back on. 

That stereotype still exists, but today’s farmers are highly educated in engineering, chemistry, biology, international marketing and more. Tim has his degree from the University of Minnesota and of the men he was in the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity with, over a quarter of them returned to production agriculture. Some of these men were Honors students, they all were extremely involved socially on campus and most of them got all A’s and B’s.

No longer is farming for those that cannot do anything else. But, still the words “agriculture” and “farmer” bring up some nasty stereotypes or misconceptions. FFA is no longer Future Farmers of America, it is FFA. The National FFA organization found it hard to recruit new members with the word farmer in the title. When the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was reorganizing their colleges a few years ago, there was talk of eliminating the word “agriculture” from the college title.

Sad isn’t it? I want my boys to be proud of what we do. Each day our family helps produce nutritious food for hundreds of families. That is very honorable and the title “farmer” is not given to just anyone on our farm.

So, if they choose to return to our family farm, they must have their degrees. Our farm is progressive and the only way it will stay that way is if we continue to have a thirst for knowledge.

0 thoughts on “If Our Boys Want to Farm, They Need To Get a Degree

  1. Katie

    Emily, I LOVE this post. My dad told us that we couldn’t come back to the farm with out a college degree, a source of income and our own health insurance. I did not indeed return to the farm with those three requirements as a single mom to raise my son there, until I married…and had to move away. I didn’t stray too far though. We have five generations of our family farm and five generations of college graduates. Education is a key for the future growth of family farms. I couldn’t agree more with you.