From what I gather, if there were ever a job description typed out for a farmer, I think it would look something like this:
- To provide food for 155 people annually
- Provide food, shelter, water, health care, and attention to their livestock every day
- Be environmental stewards
- Ensure that America’s food is healthy, great-tasting, and safe, free of drugs or harmful chemicals or disease
Qualifications and Skills:
- Physical capabilities of lifting upwards of 100 lbs
- Mechanical skills to fix farm equipment without a shop
- Accounting skills to manage the operation’s funds
- Carpentry, Plumbing and Construction skills to build fences, repair water lines, etc to maintain animal facilities
- Record keeping, to great detail, to provide food traceability
- Basic veterinary skills to help birthing, give accurate dosages of vaccines and medications, minor surgical skills, etc
- Stay updated on laws passed in the areas of animal welfare, soil, waste management, fertilizers, vaccines, medications, withdrawl times, etc
- Your hours will be 7 days a week, an average of 10-12 hours a day
- Sundays you may be able to get by with 3-4 hours, just enough to feed and check up on the animals
- During calving/lambing/farrowing season, you may be sleeping in the barn or waking up every 2 hours to check on the mothers and babies
- No paid holidays or sick days. In fact, if you miss any days, you will lose pay. Even if you are sore, sick, or puking, you must take a few hours to at least feed the animals. Unless you can find someone else to do it for you. If you do not have family members who can fill in, you may be out of luck.
- If you would still like a day off, you are responsibly for finding your substitute and paying them if necessary. (If you think finding a pet-sitter for your 2 dogs is hard, imagine trying to find someone to go outside in -10°F weather and feed 500 animals)
- You will likely work outside most hours of your shifts. The temperatures will range from 110°F to -20ºF.
- You may come under fire from media who do not understand your lifestyle and practices.
- Unlike those who provide safety to our country (such as police, military, firemen), you may never get thanked for providing one of the biggest human necessities of life: Food.
- There are no health benefits, 401k matching programs, or company discounts. (unless you count the meat you keep instead of selling for profit)
- Your average net income will be less than $20,000/year, so please prepare to work a second job. This income is contingent upon the weather, prices of gasoline, corn, and other feedstuffs. Please note that if you manage to do all your work in just 60 hours a week, this averages to around $6.00/hour.
So, anyone still interested?
At the very least, I bet you’re no longer surprised that less than 2% of America loves their land and animals enough to sign up for this kind of work environment. That really says something about that 2% though, doesn’t it?