This I Believe

Joel - Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: environment, work
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I am a senior, majoring in Animal Sciences at Penn State. Recently, I was asked what my plans were following graduation. “Returning home to my father’s dairy farm,” was my reply, for I believe dairy farming is a very respectable career. The reaction to this response was, “Oh, that’s nice,” as if I was wasting my college education. Why do people view dairy farming as a lowly profession? Is it because it does not require a PhD? Is it because farmers usually have middle or lower class incomes? In a world where success is determined by money and power, it is hard to appreciate what’s actually important in life: God, family, friends and an honest, rewarding career. Dairy farming provides an environment for all these things.

When thinking upon this topic, my thoughts return to my childhood. I grew-up on a dairy farm with 90 cows in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. During the summer, my father would wake me at 3:30 in the morning to help him milk and feed the cows. As a kid, this seemed unfair, but looking back, I realize that it taught me responsibility and work ethic. However, I did more than work. My family placed a lot of emphasis on spending time together. In the summer, when the sun was setting and all the evening chores were finished, my family would often sit around the picnic table and enjoy the cool evening air while reflecting on the day’s events. It was very peaceful: the cows contently grazing on a distant hill while my family would feast on cheeseburgers. These priceless moments helped me realize how much of a blessing it is to be a dairy farmer.

Looking to the future, I realize I want this environment for my children. I want them to realize and cherish what’s important in life. I want them to sit on the picnic table with family and friends as I did, and feel content after an honest days work while enjoying God’s creation.

So, the next time someone asks me what I am doing after graduation, my reply will be with pride, for I know that I am pursuing the most rewarding and respectable career- Dairy Farming. This, I believe.