Choosing to become a farmer and live a self-sufficient lifestyle was not the easiest decision I have ever made. It was hard for me to accept this may be my calling or more importantly the lifestyle I should live. As hard as it was to decide to choose this path for my life it would be even harder for me to publicize this decision. I would wonder what people would think about this career choice and how I would be viewed by people which I was introduced to and told them what I did. Even still what would my family thing about this decision. After years in the military and transitioning from the infantry to the intelligence field prior to leaving active duty would they think I was wasting all the skills and education I had received over the years? Like with many big decisions in my life I was facing this inner struggle but the one thing I did know was I was not happy anymore with the career path I was on.
So where did the idea of being a farmer come from? Well I have always loved animals and at one time while growing up even wanted to be a sheep farmer. That all started after watching the movie Lassie. With this crazy idea stirring in my head about becoming a farmer I decided to bring it up to my wife. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive wife in this area. Her dreams were always to travel the world and live on a tropical island somewhere but I guess with the joy she has felt around our animals and her love for me she supported the idea. So with her support we decided we would begin our transition from having a few goats and chickens for just us to this would become our livelihood.
Since neither of us grew up on a farm and being that up until this point everything we had done was either through trial and error or from something we found on the internet I new I needed to learn more about the field we were moving into. I decided to switch majors from Intelligence Studies to Animal Science (husbandry) knowing that my knowledge lacked since I did not grow up into this life. It amazes me how much you learn and enjoy class when it is something you want to learn.
Our next step was developing our vision. We had to decide what we were going to do, what level of farming did we want to go to, what animals did we want to focus on, and were we going to farm for meat or something else? After think about all the questions we could come up with we decided our main focus would be on a goat dairy. We would strive to become a diversified farm raising other animals as well but our concentration would be our goat dairy.
I am always learning something new and our trial and error or looking something up on the internet has not stopped. It has amazed me the amount of knowledge one must have to be successful in this field. I am also learning about the struggles farmers continually are facing due to the lack of knowledge a large amount of the today’s people have about where their food comes from.
We have a long road ahead of us but we have learned so much already. I have begun to understand some of the frustrations of dealing with animals that do what they want and not necessarily what you want them to do. I have experienced both life and death and the joys and sadness each brings. I know and accept the long days and the hard labor, the heartache and the life lessons, the joy and frustrations, and the hard times and the self satisfaction this life will no doubt bring. I can’t imagine dong anything better than working my land and sharing it all with my family. I believe that what some would call the simple life will keep my family closer and isn’t family what life is really about?