I was born to farm. I can’t help it. My roots run deep in agriculture. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve been involved on my family’s diversified farm. We have laying hens, guineas, quail, goats, four Border Collies and a cat on our 350-acre Alabama farm. When I was eleven years old, we added dairy cows to our operation. It was expected that I would help on the farm, along with my three siblings. Now, as I turned sixteen this month, I choose to be involved in farming of my own accord and continue the family tradition. Throughout my time growing up in agriculture, I realized farming is what I was meant to do.
Don’t get me wrong, farming is hard work. There’s no denying that. However, I relish in the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the day. There’s a great sense of pride and success in knowing that I’m providing a wholesome food product for people to eat. After all, it is farmers who feed the world. It’s our hard work that provides somebody’s dinner.
I don’t intend to paint a romanticized picture of farming. While some days are green grass and blue skies, other days are quite different and often arduous. There’s times when the outside temperature is fifteen degrees or less, your whole body is freezing, and everything on the farm is frozen. Yet, despite all the challenges, I wouldn’t trade the farming life for anything. I believe that once you’ve lived it, you come to love it.
I have a love for the land and animals. I like to see cattle grazing the grass, and I love the smell of fresh cut hay under the summer sky. We farmers are the stewards of the land. The land gives us our livelihood, so we take good care of it.
I was made in a way that farming comes natural to me. In my heart and running through my veins, there is a deep passion for agriculture. I’m sticking to my roots and carrying on my family legacy. If you ask me why I farm, the answer is simply this: I was born to.
Ethan Rankins is a second-generation dairy farmer on Rankins farms who mastered the art of milking at age 13. He is currently a full-time high school sophomore student, and he enjoys playing guitar and writing in his free time.