Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Our Neighbors Think We're Crazy

It's no secret we bought a house in a place we thought we would never buy a house. But circumstances didn't really give us another option. And at the end of the day, I truly believe we were pointed in this direction. Not necessarily for our own mental health...but for the health of the property.

Speaking the name of the guy who previously owned our house tends to elicit the following response "Oh yea, him..." and then *silence*.  Nothing bad has ever been said, but nothing good has been said either!

He was a bit of a junk collector. And by a bit, I mean we had to use a skid-steer to take the top couple inches of dirt off the ground from around every building in order to collect all the crap just left laying around.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Other Side of Agriculture

Women in agriculture aren't a new thing.

There are many wonderful, strong, farm women sharing their stories on social media and out in public through organizations such as CommonGround. These women are mothers, sisters, partners, owner/operators and they do a magnificent job sharing their lives with the general public-the good, the bad, and the ugly.

No life is perfect, and as much as we all want to envision farm life through rose-colored glasses, with a big red barn and babies running all over the yard, the rural life isn't always that pretty.

But what we don't hear an awful lot about are the women who don't farm on their own land but work for large agricultural companies. And there's a reason we don't hear a lot about them...and that's because there aren't very many of us out in the field of these large companies. There are oodles of women in administrative positions...for good reason, women absolutely rule in those spots. 99% of the workers in the main office for our company are women.

In fact, in all of Nebraska, there were only 2 women working for our company as Field Reps. And now it's down to one...Me.

Why is that?

Because when it comes down to brass tacks, main-stream agriculture will always be a good ol' boys club.

I can't help but be jealous of all the amazing women who run (or co-run) their own family farms. I want to be them. I wanted the experience that this job would give me first though. I just never dreamed the experience would be such a roller coaster ride.

I've learned a lot in the last 9 months. And I mean a lot. But what has impacted me the most are the problems that have arisen because of my gender.

My generation is full of empowered women. We are told the sky is the limit and that if we just stay strong, we can have and do anything we want to. But we aren't told how strong we might actually have to be just to get up each and every day and go to work.

I watched my mom fight the good ol' boys club my whole life. And I thank God for having her as a role model of how to survive in a man's world and for passing on her backbone because otherwise I wouldn't even be writing this right now.

What possible problems could have arisen from being a woman? I think the better question is what problems haven't arisen from being a woman? Especially a young woman.

And the problems haven't come from the contract growers (who are largely men...although it's always nice when we deal with the wives), but from co-workers and bosses. Apparently women care too much.

We care too much about our jobs, we worry too much, we try to do a great job. 

We get upset when the men we work with don't have to work as hard yet get rewarded when they don't have to work as hard...by being promoted, while we wait around and are given the impression we will never be worthy of promotion.

We tell it like we see it, but women exaggerate and lie. When men come in and see the exact same things though, it's as if the world will end if things don't change.

My co-worker left because she got tired of working her life away and being told that it was her own fault for working her life away. Except she was just doing her job. And trying to do it well, which as a woman means caring and worrying. She had to constantly ask for help because she was given too much for one person to manage, but help never came from anybody but me. As soon as her male replacement took over though, help came out of the woodwork.

Until this point, I had never truly understood the disadvantage that being a young woman would bring me in this job. Animal Science programs are overrun by females...women are the future of agriculture. I was expected to do the same work as everyone else in my last 2 farm jobs, even if it meant I needed to learn how to do them. There is an insane number of amazing women sharing their stories out there. Women are the backbone of agricultural communities...and every community, Never once was I was given anything but hope in my future.

There have been times in the last few months where I have almost wished I had been born a guy.

How tragic is that?

I'm not sure where my story will go from here. I'm not sure that it really matters where it goes from here (not in a depressed sort of way, just that I know God has a plan).

I do know that women are a force to be reckoned with in agriculture, but we still have a long way to go to smash that glass ceiling. Because even family-based, Christian, agricultural companies still don't truly encourage equal-opportunity.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Why I Slimmed Down on Social Media

For some, when things get tough, they speak out. T'hey fight back and make so much noise they can't help but be heard. I can't say that I am one of those people. I'm the person that is happy to hunker down at home and would survive fairly well if social media didn't exist. Google, on the other hand, is something I'm not sure I could survive without. 

I recently read a blog post titled Why Social Media is the Worst for Couples Having Trouble Getting Pregnant and it spoke to me. Not because I'm trying to get pregnant (that ship won't sail for a few years hopefully! We have enough obstacles to hurdle right now) but because it made me look at why I gave up blogging. And the answer is when things got tough, I buckled down and cut loose all the obligations I had placed on myself...like blogging. I began blogging because it was a way for me to organize my thoughts, and I quit blogging because I couldn't even begin to organize my thoughts.