Comment Column: KFB Young Farmer Chair Tyler Ferguson talks about farming and a rural way of life

Posted on Apr 23, 2019

Having grown up working on my grandparent’s farm, I learned at an early age an appreciation of the farming way of life. I was taught the value agriculture holds for my family and the world around me. I saw the attention that goes into producing a crop and taking care of livestock. I experienced, firsthand, how to be a better steward of the land. And I learned to utilize the resources around me in order to keep this farming way of life moving forward.

For those of you who had the luxury of growing up on a farm, you know exactly what I’m saying and have felt the same feelings I feel each and every day.

For those who don’t, at least understand that what we do as farm families in producing the safest, most affordable food in the world; we do it for you. We do it for all those who eat.

And while that may sound simple, farming can be a pretty complex way to make a living. First, we must deal, daily, with Mother Nature and the weather conditions she sends our way. Whether we are producing a crop or raising livestock, we must contend with the elements, every day, 24/7.

In addition to weather conditions, we must also deal with market conditions; knowing when to sell, how much of a particular crop to grow in any given season, expectations of an ever-changing market; customer demands; and the list goes on.

Then there is the logistics of farming. When to move my cattle from one pasture to another to ensure they get the nutrition they need, and my land gets the rest it needs. If I’m a grain producer, I need to make decisions about crop rotations and grain storage. I need to have an adequate infrastructure to get my products to the marketplace and to customers.

Then there is this whole technology question. Do I have proper broadband service to run computers, cell phone apps, and GPS equipment?

Trying to navigate all these obstacles is daunting, even for the most seasoned of farmers. But it can be absolutely overwhelming for the young farm family. I know; I have experienced it. Some days it would be much easier to throw in the towel and walk away to a much easier work life.

However, it’s hard to deny the inherent love all farmers have for the land, their animals and for the blessings we receive from life on the farm. My cow-calf operation in Johnson County may be small in some respects, but it is the world to me and my family.

It is true when we say it gets into your blood. You don’t have to be born into it to become a part of it. You just have to trust your instincts, learn from those who have come before you, and be glad you live in a place where so much support for agriculture is found.

I am honored to serve as the 2019 Young Farmer State Committee Chair. I have seen the efforts made by Kentucky Farm Bureau and its many volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure people like me are successful.

Tyler Ferguson, Chair
2019 KFB Young Farmer State Advisory Committee