Generations Nourishing Generations is the theme for this year’s National Ag Week. I was debating what to blog about this week in honor of Ag Week and finally knew what direction to take when I heard the theme.
It is actually quite ironic that we are celebrating National Ag Week the same week we’ve celebrated Mike’s Grandma Schumacher’s 99th birthday. Grandma Schumacher, Norval to everyone else, grew up in Illinois. She and Grandpa raised and milked cows and a few crops near Maple Park, Illinois. Maple Park is located in DeKalb and Kane counties. There they raised 2 daughters and 2 sons. The sons remain in Illinois both still involved in agriculture – one at a nursery and one at the Board of Trade. The daughters ended up near each other here in Missouri. They both are involved in agriculture with grain and cattle farming continuing in their families. A few years ago we had to clear out Grandma’s house so that it could be rented out instead of sitting empty in the Illinois winters. Grandma has lived here in MO for the last few years. We enjoyed looking back through the financial records that Grandma had kept in her attic for YEARS. Many dated back to the early 1900’s. Meticulous records were kept as to feed costs, feed consumption, calving and milk records, etc. Mike and I spent a good bit of time looking back at those records. They told a story that we never would have known otherwise. Years of lean that didn’t seem so lean because of planning ahead in years of surplus. Records from two generations to nourish future generations.
I was thinking this morning on my drive to work of the many events and changes that have occured in Grandma’s life. She was born in 1914. World War I began a few months after Grandma was born. The Great Depression came along as she was a teenager. World War II occured as she was raising her family. The Korean and Vietnam Wars were going on as her older children were becoming adults. Civil rights, women’s rights and the end of the Cold War. Electricity became common place. Phones are now carried in our pockets. Computers are in many homes with wireless internet access. Life has certainly changed. But then again, the important things seem to have stayed the same. Grace, mercy, love. Belief in Christ and knowing that some day we will be rejoicing in Heaven together. Knowing that you must work hard and invest yourself in others.
Mike’s parents moved to Missouri in the 80’s. They left both of their sets of parents a few years before and had moved to Iowa. Three of their sons moved here with them. Their daughter had married a Navy man and they lost their son, David, that year. Mike was entering the Jr. High that fall and Bob was still in high school. Craig was an adult and continued to help their dad farm. When they moved here they raised row crops, sheep, hogs and cattle. There were lessons to be learned in the 80’s. Both my parents and Mike’s parents had some hard lessons to learn due to the farm economic crash of the 80’s. Through the good times and the bad times, the older generations were nourishing the younger generations.
Mike and I married in 1990. We too have had to learn our lessons about farm management and have done our best to instill the lessons learned into our sons. Have we finished? Most definately not. We are still working on nourshing the next generation. And the really cool part is watching our sons begin to nourshing yet another generation. They are investing into youth in the show cattle world. It’s not so that they gain a benefit but so that all of agriculture gains another person willing to nourish our world.
To celebrate National Ag Week, I’d like you to think of an agriculturalist and say thanks. Thanks for investing in their farm and others – because we know every agriculuralist invests in others.