Nothing compares to growing up on a farm. Working alongside your family, surrounded by nature and animals while learning responsibility, discipline and hard work. For those of us who were lucky enough to be raised on a farm, the memories of our upbringing can't be beat.
Our very own, Beth Halford, Manger of Strategic Partnerships at Agriculture for Life, grew up on a mixed family farm in south eastern Saskatchewan with her parents and two brothers. Her family grew wheat, flax, canola, field peas and barley and raised cattle.
According to Beth, there were a few things you learned early on when you grew up on the farm of a zero tiller. For instance, "there was no being put on the tractor early Sunday morning (when you stayed out too late the night before) to go spend the day in the hot sun summer fallowing," says Beth.
To the average person "stubble" refers to the 5 o'clock shadow visible late in the day on the face of a person with facial hair growth that was clean-shaven in the morning. However, to Beth and many others who grew up on a farm, the word stubble had a completely different meaning.
So what is stubble? The fields, when they weren’t producing a new crop, were left with golden yellow stubble. Beth remembers it as being, "the perfect height to scratch up your legs if you weren’t wearing sensible pants and shoes."
"You also learned that it was okay if one of the neighbours didn’t zero till because that gave you a place to take soil samples to show the health of your soil compared to their black, tilled soil that lacked organic matter. It was this bare soil that would blow from their field to ours on particularly windy prairie days," she says. Stubble is the basal part of herbaceous plants and especially cereal grasses remaining attached to the soil after harvest”(Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 1999).
Growing up and living on a farm shapes our lives, personalities and way of thinking. It teaches responsibility at an early age and prepares us for the rest of our lives. There are great days, but there are also very difficult and challenging days. At the end of the day, it helps us grow a deeper appreciation for agriculture and the deep connection it has to our lives.
This year, Beth's family is celebrating 130 years of farming history. Over the past 130 years many things on the farm have changed, but some including the unmatched memories of growing up on the farm will always remain. Congratulations to Beth and her family!