Wanted: Hired hand to work on our farm. Should be in good health, preferably young, mechanically inclined, good with animals, hopefully with a CDL (Commercial Driver's License), experienced in driving tractors, able to quickly absorb new technology and apply when needed. You should be able to follow instructions, and there might be some yard work and wood cutting involved during off-peak seasons.
Any takers? That’s who we are looking for here at our farm, and a person who meets all or at least most is very hard to find.
20-30 years ago, we might not have had such trouble, but it is getting harder and harder to find someone who will commit to the strange hours, often time hot/cold/wet/dry weather conditions, and like-mindedness of my farmer.
Why are we looking? I suppose if you know that we farm 1800 acres and feed out 130 cattle for beef production, you would think we need at least ten people to get it all done. With today’s new, larger equipment and ground management methods, it really can be done by two people IF both are young, healthy, and have no other obligations.
Grandpa and I are the ones looking. The girls are getting busier, and we both are getting older. The girls are still a bit young to drive the tractors; although I know some kids out there are sitting in the driver’s seat. We do have a gentleman or two to help out during the crazy parts of planting and harvest, but Tall Guy carries the brunt of all the work, and this is his last year to be on the UP side of the hill. Grandpa and I are already working our way careful down the other side of it. Remember what happened when I tried to climb up our bins? (This link includes a great view of the ground we farm around the house!)
We are lucky, though, to have one of TG’s cousin's sons come out to help and learn. It’s fun to sit back and watch Tall Guy teach this young man, we will call him YJK (young Jedi Knight) about the “behind the scenes” aspects of farming, like making a new hot wire fence to go around our new addition. He’s also great at scooping out bins (Grandpa and I are especially happy about that!), and he is learning about filling semi’s and taking care of the cattle. The only thing is he is a bit too young to have his CDL, the license needed to operate a semi. Yeah, don’t look at me! I can usually drive them around the barn lot and a bit down the road if we are in a pinch, but I have enough road rage driving in Lafayette and surrounding areas in my van. I don’t think anyone wants to see me coming down US 52 from the top of the hill in West Lafayette, over the Wabash, and in to Lafayette proper!
1800 acre farms are not as big as they sound if you have the right set of work skills to cover all your needs. So we will keep on looking for the mysterious, elusive, CDL carrying hired hand, AND continue to work with YJK. A lot of promise he has!