As I’ve shared here before, I don’t pick it, pack it or plant it.
I’m one of those fortunate journalists who found a niche in Ag journalism. I enjoy it.
As the father of a teenage daughter I’m already looking ahead to that day she cuts the strings and ventures out on her own. Not that I’m pushing – it’s just a natural part of life that I realize will be here all too soon.
Unlike some parents, who I’m sure for good reasons encourage their children to get into career fields similar to their own, that is not me. I enjoy Ag communications – it’s the mainstream side of journalism that I wouldn’t wish on my daughter.
Though she lives among the “Tulare Dust,” her access to agriculture isn’t the same as others born and reared in this Central California town an hour away from where Merle Haggard grew up in a railroad boxcar and later wrote songs about farm life in this valley called San Joaquin.
Imagine my surprise when she says “Daddy, I’m taking an agriculture class” after enrolling in high school several months ago. Though she loves animals – mostly dogs – and seems now to think she wants to go to veterinary school (the Kickstarter campaign will be up shortly but you can begin your donations immediately!), I’m sure she will be exposed to new ideas that could change her thought process and career plans.
Ever since I started writing Ag stories for a daily newspaper in the mid-‘90s I quickly became impressed with farm kids – particularly the ones I met who were involved with Ag programs like 4-H and FFA. Their work ethic and general attitudes will always serve them well.
You can imagine how my joy increased recently when my daughter told of a class project which apparently involved cutting out articles from publications. She apparently came across an article I recently wrote and exclaimed to her teacher, “My dad wrote that!”
I’ve watched friends and acquaintances in agriculture with their children – some of whom are grown with their own kids now. I also have farm friends with young families. Generally without exception, these farm kids have all done well for themselves, even though not all returned to the farm. That’s the kind of head start I want for my daughter.
I don’t know what the future holds for my daughter and whether it’s Ag related, or becoming a school teacher like her mother, I’ll definitely be there for her.
In the meanwhile, her journey through agriculture will be an enjoyable one for her father to watch as she grows, rubs shoulders with others in agriculture, is mentored by some great Ag teachers and spreads her wings a bit more.