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Opinion: I am a farm girl at heart

Observer reporter is proud of her farming roots.
Stephanie Zoer
Stephanie Zoer

Farming has changed a lot since I was a kid, but that was a very long time ago.

I was raised on a dairy farm in southern Ontario and it was a great life.

We had 36 Holstein milking cows and one jersey cow for chocolate milk. This is what my brother told me, and I believed this for some time.

These cows all had names and they had their own stall in the barn. Once in a while, a heifer would go in the wrong spot when coming into the barn, which would cause chaos for the older cows that knew better.

We had one Holstein bull. That bull was meaner than the day was long, but he had nice calves and threw a lot of heifer calves, so he was kept around.

When the cows were out to pasture with the bull, one did not walk in the field as the bull would charge, so I simply would hop on my horse to herd the cows for milking. After all the horse could outrun that bull, but I could not.

Finally, that bull was sold after it tried to run my dad over. I can still see it today, my dad running for his life and crawling under the electric fence with that bull on his heels.

Spring, summer and fall field work happened on our 160 acres. We had a 45 and 50-horsepower Neufeld tractors, a 10-foot seed drill, a three-furrow plow and a two-row corn harvester that was pulled by a 1650-cockshut tractor that even had a cab. We had a john Deere putt-putt tractor and the coffee getter, which was a 8N Ford tractor.

All our hay and straw were put up in small squares. I was eight years old and drove the tractor and baler, while dad loaded the wagon. Siblings got to unload and stack the hay in the barn in the mow. Mow stacking was the worst job of all.

Cows were milked at the same time each day, twice a day, seven days a week. Before school I went to the barn and fed calves and did the same when I got home. I loved that job.

We also had around 30 Hereford cows, which had their own bull, but he was pretty easy going.

Our equipment was not fancy, but it worked well, as dad maintained it well. When dad got ill the cows were sold and we keep only the Herefords.

Has farming really changed? Not really. Farmers today still have the same passion. They still have to work in all kinds of weather. If it is cattle, they go out in snowstorms to check their cows in calving season. When the spring is super wet, they cannot get the crops in, and this stresses a farmer. Not only is this their bread and butter, but it also fills the shelves of our food markets.

Kids are still taught the value of farming and it is great. I remember the love of being on the farm, although I had siblings that did not like it at all.

The equipment is bigger, much bigger, but so are the fields. The farms are larger, and the herds of cattle are huge, but it hasn’t changed the love of a farmer. It is in their blood to do the job.

Seeding is done at a quicker rate and the technology is far more advanced. Seminars are held to help farmers, whether it be from improving field production to producing a healthier cow.

Farming to me is a gift, and most farmers have a passion for the job.

Without farmers, we would not eat, it is as simple as that. So, when you go to the grocery store and purchase your food, remember to thank a farmer. Whether they be big or small, they feed us all.

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