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Passing down agricultural traditions

Keeping our children interested

By Nate Schlief

Every year, as the school year ends, most kids can’t wait to get summer started. My two sons are the same way. I grew up on a dairy farm. When I think back to what my summer plans consisted of, it’s much different for my sons, who are growing up in the country but not directly on a farm. My summers were, in a large part, surrounded with the hustle and bustle of farm activities like making hay, raising livestock and growing a garden. My sons look forward to activities at school, the county fair, and time spent with cousins and grandparents.

Our agriculture heritage is important to our family. My wife also grew up on the farm and we both worked beside our parents as soon as we were old enough to help. So much has changed in our world today. We have to be diligent to foster our children’s interests in agriculture.

Keeping my boys connected through programs like 4-H, as well as time spent on their grandparent’s farm and together on vacation, gives them an appreciation for ag.

It’s become a tradition for our boys to travel with my parents each summer to a national tractor collector’s show called the Red Power Roundup. The show is in a different state each year. Their adventure traveling to the show has allowed them to experience other crops like cotton and tobacco and tour a cotton gin. At the show, the history of agriculture equipment and mechanical means to plant, care for and harvest a crop are on display. The equipment represents the way things were done in that area of the country. These shows provide a unique opportunity to experience the hard work and dedication it took for our former generations to get the crop sowed and harvested. It’s just one example of how we share the importance of being connected to agriculture.

As summer is winding down and the school year gets ready to begin, take time to think about what experiences you had as a kid. What was important to you growing up and how can you provide lessons from these experiences to your children? Were the impressions made by your parents and grandparents a part of what makes you who you are today? Of course they are. It’s that experience we hold close to our hearts.

After all, our heritage has laid the foundation for who we are and who we become. Having those memories and traditions play a role in our children’s life is truly one of the most important things we can give as a parent.

Nate is the District 1 representative on the NDFB Promotion and Education Committee. He and his wife, Deb, and their sons live near Grand Forks. Nate is employed by Machinery Pete, a division of Farm Journal Media. He is also the president of Grand Forks County Farm Bureau.