Can farm families go on vacation? Do they even want to? A couple of weekends ago our family took one last short trip to celebrate the end of summer 2022. Our trip to the Nebraska State Fair is on its way to becoming a current family tradition.
Step 2: Choosing a Destination
My point of view is simple enough: wouldn’t it be fun to attend a fair where we just attend the fair? Let’s go to a fair where we aren’t volunteering, showing, working, and exhibiting. I love just being a Fair-Goer! The opening weekend of the Nebraska Sate Fair is when the 4-H contests take place so there are 4-Hers everywhere and the 4-H exhibit building is FULL of great things. My favorite is the quilt room: a whole room full of quilts made by 4-H youth in Nebraska. Our visit to the fair includes the Nebraska Building, the Grow Nebraska booth, a goat show, and time spent watching ranch horse cutting competitions. The livestock barns are exponentially larger than what we have at our home fair. The tiny farmers love the combine simulator, combine rides, and antique tractor displays. We had the most amazing local burgers for lunch!
Step 3: Do As the Locals Do
I would be remiss if I didn’t give some credit for this trip to our beautiful friends in Nebraska who let us come visit their homey little town and bunk affordably in their extra beds. We do our best to do like the locals do which becomes a part of our trip as well. We checked out new projects at the small college where they work and attended the Friday chapel song service on campus. There was a hometown game that evening where we watched the colors of a Midwestern sunset and enjoyed the marching band. Apparently there was also a football game and we have a southern Missouri accent that stands out in Nebraska?
Step 1: Preparations
When a farming family wants to travel, many preparations must be made and several questions are asked. Are feed bins full and hay piles stocked? Are any animals struggling or taking medication? What will the weather be like at home? More items might be on the list but none more important than: Who will do the chores? One of the hardest truths on the farm is that someone is on shift on the farm 24/7/365. Either someone in the family must stay behind or you need a special farmhand. The chores usually aren’t that difficult but a farmhand really needs the powers of observation to notice things that they aren’t used to looking for in order to keep the farm peaceful in the farmer’s absence. I remember many family trips ending in chaos when I was growing up because we would return to the farm and find so many things that had gone unnoticed. So “hats off” to our farm hand who was willing to keep the water bowls full, bring in the mail, put up with my Boo dog, and as I like to say “keep all the animals alive” along with a few other jobs as well.
The Farm Family Vacation is an interesting concept. It is hard earned, nervously endeavored, and often short and sweet. A lot of times farm families vacation to agriculture in another location (this also includes attending agriculture conferences as vacation) and I have thought of a few reasons why.
Reasons Why Farmers Vacation to the Farm
1.Farming isn’t just a living—it’s a lifestyle. We feel relaxed in the same place but appreciate not being in charge. This probably applies to you too. You still enjoy the same activities you often do, but you do them in a new and different place while on vacation.
2. Agriculture is a team. It is nice to see how other farm families do the same things we do. It is fun to support them and cheer them on and thank them for their contributions to our industry. We particularly enjoy it when our short travels allow us to bunk with friends we have made being a part of the Missouri Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers program. We like to ride around with them; it helps us remember that we aren’t the only family doing morning chores.
3. Education. What if you get the opportunity to speak on behalf of your fellow soybean farmer but you are a livestock producer? Having a little basic info and knowing where to direct an inquisitive consumer is important. We love quizzing Nebraskans at the Nebraska State Fair about their ways of life to see how those ways are the same as or different from ours.
4. New ideas. Chatting with another beef producer may help a farmer solve a challenge they have had with their beef herd. We may also learn something innovative that our rice farming friends are doing, that with just a little twist, can be applied to our beef operation. Farm trips are just FarmPinterest for farmers.
If you want and are able, sure, everyone should try to see the Rocky Mountains pop out of the ground, walk the Vegas strip, feel sand between your toes, smell salt in the air, or enjoy the tropics somehow at least once in a lifetime. But for a short Farm Family Vacation, I am just as satisfied to watch “waves” roll across soybean fields or smell corn chaff blowing in the breeze as I watch a farmer harvest from my view in the deer stand he has loaned me for the weekend (because sand is gross). Our little Farm Family is thankful to be able to appreciate time together living our lifestyle and being ourselves on our farm at home or a farm somewhere else.