Change is hard – leaving the family farm

By Carolyn Kozak

20151101_164922-effectsMy parents sold the family farm this year. We have spent the summer cleaning up two generations worth of stuff and there is still so much to do. The news for officially selling the farm was sparked with an abundance of different emotions. As a kid, I always imagined I’d live on or near the home farm in the country, and I have always lived close to my parents and currently live in a town nearby. How could this be my reality? I couldn’t have imagined that the farm would be sold within my lifetime and that I would have to get used to another family enjoying the landscape, the beautiful canopy driveway and what was once my family home.

My parents bought a bungalow on fifty acres about an hour and half away near my brother’s farm. They are still going to be involved in farming in a different community, but change is always hard.  It has taken some time, and has been a rollercoaster of emotions to fully process, but I can accept that the move does make sense for the future. My parents are getting older and the move will centralize all the farm land within a ten-minute radius. It just doesn’t make sense to spend hours convoying equipment back and forth anymore. The logistics alone had become a daunting task and my parents are ready for a retirement friendly home.

20160925_133622Moving the farm has sparked some serious nostalgia because I love the farm. As a kid, I spent hours, upon hours playing with barn cats each summer. I became an exceptional kitten catcher, which led to the tamest, most ridiculously named cats, ever. One summer, I managed to take enough cat photos to fill a whole film, and then proceeded to create a photo album that almost exclusively featured cats with all of their names labelled which I still have to this day. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t turn out to be a crazy cat lady, although, my Mom did mention that she was surprised that I didn’t have any cats at my house.

Every farm kid also remembers one of the most ‘enjoyable’ jobs walking up and down the fields in the spring, picking stones. However, even simple tasks like these have been changed by technology advancements since my childhood. It is interesting to think about how agriculture and agri-food career opportunities have adapted in the last 20 years. There have been entire new sectors and jobs created through technological advancements such as alternate uses for crops like bio-products or fuel.  Services like drones and GPS technologies are revolutionizing farm equipment. There also continues to be a trend toward fewer small family farms, but these industry changes have meant that there are lot of jobs options available for individuals living in urban settings to be involved in agriculture along the value chain.

Jobs in agriculture and agri-food no longer just include the historical stereotypes of farming. As the jobs within agriculture and agri-food change, the number of individuals who grew up on farms will decrease but there will still be a large number of jobs within the agriculture community that need to be filled in these new and innovative sectors.  While these changes to the family farm have been difficult, I am so thankful the industry has evolved in a way where I am able to use my farm knowledge and strengths to remain actively involved in agriculture. The home farm may be sold, and times may be changing, but there will always be a way to stay involved in this wonderful, evolving industry.

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