There’s no better place to grow up than the farm

In honor of National Ag Week, which spans March 17 to 23, I have pondered what agriculture truly means to me. My life has always revolved around agriculture in some aspect. I was born in a rural community in northwest Oklahoma to a farmer and rancher and a science teacher. Growing up on a pre-conditioning lot, with a cow-calf operation and farming enterprise, I learned about responsibility and hard work at a young age. My after-school job was working cattle with my Dad, and I became proficient at chopping off horns, giving shots, ear tagging and branding.

Feeding show animals, horses and bottle calves gave me maturity and discipline that continues on even today. The rule at our house was, “The animals eat before you do,” and that’s a rule I will carry on with my children. When I think of some of my favorite smells, they are still the scent of alfalfa hay, horse sweat and a freshly- opened bag of sweet feed. Looking back, those years are precious to me, and I can’t imagine a better way to learn about life—the beautiful, the tragic and the lessons learned.

In reflection, I view agriculture as a sustainable cycle that keeps the world fed, clothed and living. It is imperative that we keep this cycle viable for future generations and for kids to grow up on farms just like I did. As a farmer’s wife and expectant mother, it’s what I want for my unborn son, and I can’t wait to see him tag along with his father and grandfather, learning about the land and livestock for when he takes over the farm someday.

Lacey Vilhauer can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].