What the Farm-Raised Millennial Understands
Anyone Who Grew Up on a Farm is not Your Typical Millennial
Most people under 30 have garnered a bad reputation for themselves: Entitlement combined with laziness, obsession with visual entertainment that makes them aware of current issues, and an unwillingness to do anything about them. These are not ideal characteristics for agricultural work so the future might seem bleak in the face of the predicted 57,000 open jobs in agriculture this year. This is not a fair view of the generation, though, because it ignores a large demographic of young people who are about to grow significantly in the coming years: farm-raised millennials.
Here are just a few ways the young farm hand differs from their city-blind counterparts.
They Understand the Benefits of Miserable Work
This is an important life skill. Everyone under 30 likes to say their life is hard, but few of them have ever lost sleep because a litter of piglets decided 3 AM is the best time to be born. When you grow up knowing what a 10 hour day around hog smell and an ever-muddy field is like it gives you a pretty high tolerance for just about any kind of work. That ability to push yourself through misery to work even when you “don’t feel like it” is essential on a farm, and makes you pretty valuable on any other job.
They Know What “Farm Fresh” Actually Means
People are obsessed with terms like “farm fresh,” “organic,” and “cruelty free” but don’t really have any idea what it means to get your crop or livestock registered as organic, or what actually constitutes “fresh.” But your kids on the farm know the difference between grass-fed and corn/soy-fed livestock because they’ve probably seen it with their own eyes, which will come in handy because knowing how to label their products with those words becomes more important every day.
Environmental Awareness and Increased Regulations
Everyone can jump on their news feed and read about what fresh hell climate change is going to bring down on us. And a lot of people do, but their understanding of the situation stops with the words. Meanwhile, anyone who has spent more than a couple years around a crop or livestock knows almost instinctively how weather directly affects their bottom line. Millenial farmers would be talking about warming or cooling or whatever the hell is or isn’t going on with the weather even if it wasn’t the hip thing to do.Talks of drought, warming, freezing and severely increased or decreased rainfall are all things that directly affect the farmer. The kid who grew up watching those effects understands the message beyond media buzz words. Farms of every kind are going to see a lot of environmental regulation over the coming years, and it will eventually fall into the hands of the kids who understand these things to turn a profit in spite of the inevitable changes.
So feel free to make fun of the millennials swiping through filters for the photo of a bagel while their breakfast gets cold, but take the time to appreciate those who will inevitably take on the weight of feeding a nation.