It’s dirt. It’s blood. It’s tears and sweat. It’s dirty hands and long days and nights. It’s disease. It’s death and then it’s life. It’s beautiful. It’s the feel of crisp air in the morning, the smell of fresh dirt in the spring and canola blooms in the summer. It’s driving down the road in the truck with the windows rolled down. It’s a two-finger wave.

It’s walking through your crops and checking your animals every day. It’s packing a basket with treats and wine to go on a date night in the combine. It’s stopping your harvest to help a neighbour in need to finish their’s. It’s rides in the tractor with your kids that turn into sleepy eyes and long naps on the cab floor. It’s everyone gathered in a circle, enjoying a harvest supper in the field. It’s watching the sunrise and sunsets from inside the cab. It’s that long hug when harvest is over. It’s that gut feeling when you sell your first crop to the market.

It’s food. It’s that long conversation with a stranger on an airplane about all the food our crops make. It’s that smile you get when you drop off a casserole. It’s passing plates around the dinner table with family and friends during the holidays. It’s that glass of wine or beer at the end of a long day.

It’s love. It’s fate. It’s passion. It’s what some of us live and breathe every second of our lives.

To me, if I had to sum up what agriculture means to me based on all the things above, it’s family, pride, life, hard work and resiliency, innovation and love.

Family – It’s about my great, great grandparents and my children’s children. It’s working so hard to continue the tradition and provide opportunities for the future. Some of the fondest memories I have are growing up with my grandparents, parents and siblings on the farm, eating suppers in the field, hoeing miles of potato hills, crop checking on the back of the quad, the numerous trips into town to get parts, and so much more. It’s watching my children learn values that can’t be taught in school, that will last a lifetime. With my family around, I feel supported, encouraged, and loved. I feel at home, part of a team and working towards something bigger than myself. Farming creates close family ties that make our lives rich in so many ways.

Pride – It’s about caring for the land because we want our kids to farm it. It’s about being good stewards and protecting our natural resources. We take great pride in giving back to Mother Nature as we are thankful for what she gives us. It’s that feeling you get when you grow food that my kids eat and others put in their grocery cart and serve at their dinner table. It’s about doing the right thing, making a difference and the feeling that comes with it.

Life – It’s about the life we see every spring and harvest that teaches us so much about birth, growth and maturity. How we watch the land and dirt we care for provide a crop for us and food for others and their families, that in return puts a roof over our heads and food on our table. It’s also about seeing my babies change and grow so much every year; from being in a baby wrap with me on the combine, to holding them on my knee, to not needing me to go with them. It’s watching how tall they get when they stand in a wheat field. It’s knowing I’m measuring my life by not how much I have, but what I’m accomplishing for those around me.

Hard work and resiliency – I’ve seen tears stream down my dad’s face when we lost our crop one year. I’ve seen him not eat and not sleep. I’ve felt his quietness and stress. I’ve also seen him move forward, small steps at a time to overcome challenges we didn’t think we could get through. I’ve seen him brainstorm ideas and be on the phone for hours to think of different ways of doing things. I’ve seen the long days and even longer nights that he worked to save our farm during the bad times. I’ve felt his perseverance and seen his light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen the smile and heard the laugh which meant we’re okay. I’ve felt the hug that knows, with or without the farm, everything was going to be alright.

Innovation – It’s about the possibilities and opportunities that are endless in agriculture. It’s about being one of the most adaptive and innovative industries in the world. It’s about working amongst the best and brightest. It’s about learning from the challenges and always growing. It’s about being able to grow crops through a drought and developing new markets to sell food to. It’s about creating new techniques for using less resources on more land. It’s implementing better precision equipment and creating new seed genetics and technology that results in added nutritional benefits, reductions in food waste and life-saving medicine.

Love – Agriculture is about love. If we didn’t do what we loved every day, we wouldn’t be here. Some days and years are hard but we are surrounded by those we love. It’s the feeling when the year was great and saying “maybe next year” on the tough ones. It’s the love of what we do and who we do it with. It’s in our blood and what we were meant to do and I am where I am supposed to be. Farming has made everything possible for me.

That is what agriculture means to me.

I’d love to know, what does agriculture mean to you?