A Lasting Legacy

Lisa, our farm gal from Iowa is back today discussing a lasting legacy.

Almost two weeks ago we lost a living legacy in my family, my grandfather Louis. He was 95 years young at the time of his passing.  It was Grandpa who bought the original land that makes up the farm as well as building the home we are currently living in. His passing gave me pause to reflect on his legacy and the legacy that he left to my father, me, and my children. 

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My grandfather was raised about six miles away from our current farm on land most farmers would call marginal. As he recounted to me, he swore that if he ever was going to farm he wanted good, heavy soils. Now 65 years after he bought our farm ground, my husband and I frequently thanked him prior to his death for making the six mile move! We are fortunate to sit on some very heavy, black, well- drained soils that are capable of producing outstanding yields year-in and year-out. 

Grandpa not only left a legacy from this farm and farmstead, but also left a legacy in who he was and his character. Many folks approached me this past week to talk about how much they enjoyed my grandfather and how much he meant to them. Grandpa loved his family fiercely and was immensely proud of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. In his farming days he was also known as a tinkerer who was ahead of his day. He was constantly engineering new ideas to improve his farm equipment such as reversing a tractor and mounting a loader (which was lovingly called "Tinkerbell") or converting a one-row corn chopper to chop one row and pick another row simultaneously. 

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My Grandpa began the legacy on our farm. His passing has caused me to reflect on the legacy I want to leave for my children. What choices do I make today that could affect their future livelihood? How do I continue to teach them the life skills, people skills, and work ethic that I developed in my childhood years here?  The legacy is not just about the physical farmstead, the farm ground or the home that Grandpa built. It is more than that. It is the reason so many of us decided to move back to the farm or to stay on the farm -- to create a lasting legacy for our children and our children's children  I want to teach my children how to work and that work doesn't always end at five o'clock. I want to teach them about life and death - when a loved pet passes or that FFA pig has to be sent to market. I want to teach them contentment and gratitude -- to realize that life isn't about the latest video game or driving the nicest car. I want to teach them what it means to be a good neighbor -- even if that means stopping our own work to help another. 

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This past week as a part of the National Ag Week we also celebrated another man who left a legacy, not only locally like my Grandfather, but globally. That man was Dr. Norman Borlaug. Dr. Borlaug grew up in Cresco, Iowa just 45 minutes east of my hometown. He is considered the father of the Green Revolution and has been credited with saving over one billion lives through his pioneering work with wheat. Dr. Borlaug navigated the political and scientific worlds effortlessly in his relentless drive towards peace through food security.  I had the privilege to meet Dr. Borlaug through his work with the World Food Prize. One cannot help but be impressed by his passion for solving global hunger and the importance of agriculture and technology to meet that need. He left a lasting legacy and I hope we can too.    

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Dr. Bourlag (Photograph: Micheline Pelletier/Sygma/Corb)

Whether your legacy is left locally or globally, what legacy do you want to leave? What choices are you making today to make that legacy happen?    

 

Lisa is a farm gal who took a break for the city and is now back on the farm in Iowa! She will be joining us to share her challenges being back on the farm as well as some fun stories about getting back into the farm life.

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