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Monday, March 23, 2015

Not the Farmer's Daughter

Riding my horse, Daisy
Riding my horse Daisy
Hello to all you FFT readers! My name is Cheyanne Evans and I’m new to the Food For Thought scene. I am currently a sophomore at K-State in Animal Science & Industry with a focus in production management. However, my true passion is with the swine industry. By now I’m sure most of you caught that I didn’t grow up farming by the title of the post. I grew up in a very small town about an hour north of Manhattan. I didn’t have farm animals to and take care of growing up, but what I did have was a passion for animals and a love for the earth. Then when I was a freshman in high school my family bought two horses and a farm and that when everything changed for me. I got involved with 4-H (showing horses)  and FFA and started helping with the local farmers around me to experience what it was like to be a farmer. Some people think you have to be raised to be a farmer or that you have to till dirt and plant seeds or maybe we all have cows but that’s not completely true. I hope I help show you that anyone can get involved and can be a farmer if they want to.

Holding a growing pig
Holding a grower hog
Growing up I had dogs and cats which I loved, but I always wanted horses, cows, and every other farm animal you can name. Living in town, it wasn’t easy to have all these animals.  We also had a large garden that we would grow different kinds of vegetables that we would eat or can all summer long. This was not enough for me though, so I begged and pleaded with my parents to buy a horse, but they did the next best thing. They bought a small farm house on a little two acre patch and two ponies for me. I was in seventh heaven. Later we expanded our farm, we got chickens, ducks and pygmy goats. This is when all the real chores of having a farm kicked in I had to get up early every morning and go out and feed all of these animals before I ate breakfast and sometimes before the sun had come up along with getting ready for school. We may not have had cows or even crops to worry about but taking care of any kind of animal is time consuming. Fast forwarding to the bigger step toward becoming the farmer I always wanted to be, after high school I started dating a hog farmer’s son and this was a huge change from the farm I lived on with my family.
Feeding the pigs
Feeding the pigs marshmallows
Hog farming is messy and sometimes smelly work, but it is so rewarding in its own ways. For me, the reward was watching piglets that were coming from the nursery to the finishing building and watching them grow and become adult pigs. I will tell you being a hog farmer isn’t an easy job. You work very hard to keep your stock healthy and growing like they should, and then you send them to be harvested to feed people around the country. It seems like you work so hard for nothing, but when you look at the bigger picture you realize it is something . You just helped feed a family or kids at school. That’s something, you helped a bigger cause! This is where I found my calling, I could raise animals that I loved to help people not go hungry. Many people think farmers look at their livestock as something to make a profit and that they don’t care otherwise, but it’s deeper than that. They love these animals and it’s a way of life but it’s never easy when you have an animal that is sick or injured. On the lighter side if you think you want to work with agriculture in anyway go for it. Find a local farmer that’s willing to let you spend a couple days on the farm see what they do, how they do it and why do it. Be ready to put your hand in the dirt and get dirty because it’s and experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Thanks for reading!

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