7 Reasons Farm Kids Succeed in Life

When you go into an interview or are introducing yourself to a stranger, what do you say about yourself? Mine usually goes as so, “Hello, I’m Laura Finley a senior at UW-Madison where I am majoring in Life Sciences Communication with an emphasis in Dairy Science, which is long for Ag Marketing and Communications. I’m from Lake Mills, WI where I was fortunate enough to grow up on multiple different farms since my family actually doesn’t have a farm. I show dairy cattle at a state and national level and I am active within many organizations both on and off campus, mostly the Wisconsin Holstein Association, Badger Dairy Club and the UW-Madison Dairy Judging team.”

I’ve gotten this speech down pretty solid over the years with interviews for scholarships, internships and jobs. Most of what I have ever interviewed for had something related to agriculture, so my introduction was relevant enough to usually get someones attention. It’s not very common for someone who doesn’t have a farm to be so active within the industry, but as I said I was fortunate enough to be around people who let me grow up on their farms. So why am I giving you my background info? First, because having an agricultural background is something many employers value, in any industry. And second, because I feel many young people who are active within the Ag industry don’t emphasize it enough. This could be for many different reasons, but usually because their friends think they’re a hillbilly and have an absurd view of the Ag industry. Which is obviously a bunch of bull.

So here is why being a farm kid is actually going to help you succeed in life.

1) People know you’re hard working

When an employer sees you’ve had farm experience they usually assume you are hard working. Why? Well probably because farms are a lot of work! When you describe what you do on the farm don’t skim on the details. The littlest details that you may think are pointless to mention may show that you pay attention to details, which is a good quality to have! And the large responsibilities you have shows you can accomplish tasks successfully in a timely manner. For example, who here helped unload wagons and wagons and wagons of hay on a scolding hot summer day? I know I did. And to be honest, I don’t know if many could handle that kind of work, I would suggest it as a work out for the football team! But as I said before, it’s a large task with a short time frame which you helped get done!

2) You’ve proved you know team work

98% of farms in America are family owned, meaning when you work on a farm you are working with either your family or a family you know closely. And as many know, sometimes working with family is the hardest thing to do. But despite this challenge you learn to get along and work with each others personalities and learn what you expect from each other. This is one of the most important skills to take into a work environment and you’re lucky enough to have learned it, so use it!

3) They already assume you’re well connected

“It’s a small industry.” How many times have you heard this about the Ag industry? All. The. Time. And it’s because it’s true, although it’s an industry that feeds the world it is a very well connected industry. Which is obviously awesome! Being involved in this industry has given me friends all across North America and even some in Europe and Mexico and I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you. The other awesome part of this is, when you meet someone new it is very likely they will know someone you know too, which makes a great channel for communication! Anyway, the point is, keep making those connections!

4)You’re not afraid to get your hands dirty

When it comes to backbreaking work, your employer is more than likely going to look at you for this. Which is not necessarily a bad thing because they know you’re reliable and because this is the kind of work that is going to stand out  to your superiors. In today’s world it is, and don’t take this wrong, pathetic to look at the work ethic kids have today. Yes I know these are strong words but it’s a common theme in today’s society. No one is entitled to a good job, or a scholarship, or a raise, or really anything. You get these things through putting in your time doing the backbreaking work, so don’t expect to get out of this just because you’re not on the farm 24/7!

5) You understand respect

Farm kids know respect…for animals, for their elders, for the land and for themselves. Many would debate this because of their ill perceived views of animal agriculture. But when those animals are your livelihood their is nothing but respect for them and their products. Farmers know the importance of treating their animals and land with respect because they are hoping to pass their farm down to the next generation with hopes to only make it better for their family. Another way I look at it is through 4-H. Growing up on a farm you were more than likely involved in 4-H with crop and livestock projects. I don’t know about you but if I didn’t respect my project, it didn’t respect me. You gain a connection with your project, you learn to trust each other, you know what each other expect and you make a routine that is best for both of you. And if that doesn’t teach you respect for others and yourself, well I don’t know what will.

6) They assume you’re flexible

Because if you’re a farm kid you know your life at one point revolved around harvest or calving season or mechanical break downs, etc. etc. So when it comes to a “professional” working environment your supervisors may throw you a few more curve balls than others but that’s because they know you can handle it. So essentially, keep on rolling with the punches!

7) Everyone knows you will be a good time!

Pretty self-explanatory. When you work as hard as a farmer you also know the appropriate time to let loose. This is one thing the Ag industry has perfected; work hard, play hard!

So next time you are talking to a new acquaintance don’t forget about your background and be loud and proud!

Dairy Farmer Fashion Week

As a farm girl it may come as a shocker that yes, I also care about fashion. Maybe not to the level of New York Fashion Week, but I can appreciate the passion the designers put into their work. I’m more of a tight jeans, Lucchese boots and a long sleeve kind of girl but some NWFW looks caught my eye. I saw some Carrie Bradshaw inspired skirts from Ralph Lauren (if you don’t know who Carrie Bradshaw is then I don’t know you) and some Smelly Mellie (Scandal, insert popcorn and wine here) inspiration from Tibi. fb412058a9f7637d7a7888f5a5eec066 54bc195f7f35f_-_hbz-nyfw-ss2015-tibi-30 Find all the exciting highlights here http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-week/g4114/new-york-fashion-week-spring-2015/?thumbnails

Although Fashion Week is great, when it’s -30 out I can’t necessarily appreciate a sheer top or skirt, that robe though, that could be put to use.

Anyways, I’d like to show you exactly what farmers wear to impress their audience (cows).

  • To start off my day at 4:15 am I put on my sleekest 1/4 zip.
  • Then my locally made shirt of the day (Wisconsin, WDE, BDC, etc).
  • Then my choice of couture sweatshirt.
  • Next, custom made jacket.
  • Now for the bottoms (yes, plural) my go to is a pair of black slimming long under ware, layered with some retro High School sweatpants.
  • But a girl can’t forget her accessories! Every good outfit comes with head wear, and if I’ve learned anything from Blaire Waldorf, a good pair of gloves always come in handy!

So by the time I leave my apartment this is what I depart in…

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Just call me the next Kim K. Selfie pro. Side not: excuse the win bottles, sometimes it’s just necessary. 

When I get to the farm I layer up even MORE by wearing insulated bibs and boots. Disclaimer: I may exaggerate a bit more in my layering tactics than others, I was meant to live in the south. But by the time I am all ready to head out to the barn this is essentially what I look like.

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However a farmers fashion sense doesn’t just end with their rustic inspired wardrobe. We also are concerned about our animals, as usual. If you are from Wisconsin you know how cold it can get in the barn…

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But despite being able to see their breath, they look pretty happy to me!

Probably because we provide them with extra food, a nice big bed of straw and shavings and make sure everything is closed up tight. We also have a great line designed for our smaller audience.

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Here we have three of our models wearing calf jackets, available in both pink and black and then one of the more popular items, calf ear muffs! Dairy farmers strive to keep their animals warm throughout the winter months, they face all the elements the winter brings in order to keep their cattle warm, healthy and happy. In doing so they layer up themselves.

So the next time it’s -25 and you skip class because the walk is too cold or you’re in your house bundled up under blankets with your heater on, make sure to thank a farmer for the food on your table and the clothes on your back! Hope you all are able to stay warm throughout the rest of the winter months!