The Last Windrow: Here's a chance for young folks to build character

Apply to help this area farmer/rancher this summer

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Opportunity awaits! Anyone want to apply?

From a local Facebook ad posting from an area farmer/rancher:

"I'm looking to employ 1-2 high-school students. They would work as able through this spring and full time this summer once school is done.



"In working here you will be expected to weld, repair/maintain equipment, chase cattle, build fence, rake hay, and much more. If you or if you know someone who is interested please message me. Thanks!"

Now, I'm sure this rancher is about to be deluged with applicants. The applicants will no doubt be proficient in all of the above listed tasks and be willing to work for whatever pay is offered.

Think of the character building experience they will have during the upcoming summer.

I grew up on a farm that required all of the above tasks and more. My work would have been labeled more under the "and much more" category. Things like grinding feed, pitching silage, ringing hogs, vaccinating cattle and milking cows were just a few items that were missed by the above mentioned rancher looking for help.

There are "Help Wanted" signs hanging all over the countryside nowadays, it seems. Almost every store and cafe has a help wanted sign hanging in the window. Even industries that pay a good wage and give benefits are looking for people to fill slots.


I find it interesting that media news keeps reporting that unemployment is high, and yet these help wanted signs persist.


What are people really looking for in regard to employment? Evidently we have the privilege of being "picky."

My first job off our farm was one that most farm kids started their bank accounts with, that being baling hay. One only needed to have stout arms, a good sense of balance and the ability to work in temperatures that would fry an egg.

A sense of humor didn't hurt either.

I was 16 when I hired out to a neighbor who asked if I would help bale hay at a dollar an hour. No benefits, no insurance and no pension plan. Just work.

I figured in an eight-hour day that would be eight bucks I could tuck in my jeans and I was on my way to a secure financial future. What I didn't know was that I would have to be working with the farmer's brothers who didn't get along very well.


The brothers seemed to take joy from needling each other. One wanted to operate the baler fast, the other wanted to go slow. And so with me trying to hang onto the bale rack I had to deal with both.


As I bounced along the field trying to hold the bales together I began to think there were better ways of making a living. Once the racks were full I was placed in the upstairs of the barn where even the pigeons had departed due to excessive heat.

One of the brothers carefully spaced the bales on the elevator evenly, making it possible for me to stack straight and tall. The other brother loaded the bales end to end, thus insuring that my stack inside the haymow looked like a airplane crash site.

But, I kept thinking about those dollars in my pocket and endured the job. I never went back to that job opportunity.

I hope the rancher who posted the ad listed above has success in locating a couple of young folks who want to get the feel of real farm and ranch life. I would be interested in interviewing them after their summer experience.

I'd bet they will have become much more rounded people who develop a good sense of humor.

Anyone want to apply? I'll supply the link.

See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!


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