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What’s It Like To Be A Farmer? Plus Low and Slow Pulled Pork Recipe

I think for most people, “What’s It Like To Be A Farmer?” is a question that burns at some level in their heart.

We all want to know.

What’s it like to work the ground, raise animals, ride a tractor, watch things grow, harvest a field, and be subjected to the wrath and nurture of Mother Nature? What’s it like to not have an office, a cubicle, an commission structure, an expense report, or a performance report?

It’s inherent in us. That need to understand (and sometimes covet) the job of living off the land.

I didn’t grow up as a farmer’s kid. My grandfather had some corn, milo, and bean ground in central Nebraska and raised a few pigs. And while I “got it” and was “exposed to it”, it wasn’t really part of my life. I was (and still am) a city kid.

Fast forward to my college years, when my best friend and boyfriend were both farmer/rancher kids.

They knew everything about everything. From setting water, 4-wheelers, beat-up pick-up trucks, breeding cows, harvesting corn, pulling calfs, cutting thisels, bailing hay, the machine shed to a thousand other things. They understood that rain meant days off, but hail meant devastation. But me, I was like a duck out of water. As I spent time “back home” with them, there was something in this Nine West Shoe-Mall-Hair-With-Guess-Jeans girl that wanted to know more…What’s It Like To Be A Farmer?

And both of their fathers were happy to educate me.

So when I was asked to work with the Kansas Pork Association and interview one their Hog Farmers – I jumped at the chance.

I really do believe that most local farmers get a bad wrap. We have all watched one-too-many documentaries on Netflix about the wrongs of corporate farming…and we miss the point.

Most of these farmers, the ones that live less than 200 miles from us, aren’t corporate farming. They are family farming. And there is a difference.

And with that being said, I would love for you to meet the Suthers.

Ron and Micki Suther farm and ranch in northeast Kansas with their son Matt, daughter Grace, Ron’s brother, and Ron’s dad.

They raise pigs, black angus cattle and a corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and prairie hay.

Specifically they take care of baby pigs. They receive 1200 three-week old pigs and love on them for two months until they reach a certain weight/age and then they give them back to the original rancher/farmer. (So kind of like day care for pigs.)

So what is the day in the life of Micki (a true farmer/rancher wife)?

I get up at 5:15 am to run through the nurseries real quick and make sure everything is okay after the night. I stir the pigs onto their feet to encourage them to eat, make sure the ventilation fans are running, the room temp. is right, no water leaks, feeders are working ok, pigs are fine. Then it is back to the house at about 6:00 am to change clothes. We have a good breakfast of bacon or sausage with our own eggs. A little before 7:00 am Grace and I leave to run the bus route (Micki drives one of the routes) and I am back shortly after 8:00 am.

Around 8:30 am I go to the nurseries and start walking each pen of pigs. The exercise is very good for them, gets the blook flowing through joints – to help prevent infections, they breath deeper – to help prevent pnemonia, it gets them excited and curious to look for the feed I am going to put out on the mats.

When I get through with the pigs, I am back to the house, change clothes, and work on the farm accounting. Records are absolutely necessary, to show us what we do and do not make money on. Data entry is tricky, as all expenses and income have to be allocated to our different areas of farming.

So I jump between pigs and accounting throughout the day, with running my afternoon bus route. I am a clothes changing artist between pigs and everything else!

What do you like most about working and living on a farm?

I grew up a famer’s daughter, so I am so appreciative that I was able to marry a farmer and stay on the farm. I love raising our children here and, with our daily lives and work, was able to nurture a love and respect for nature, growing, an appreciation of hard work and what it can accomplish. I love helping our grandkids appreciate these things also.

Can you tell me a favorite baby pig story?

About 7 years ago, we had a young border collie dog. I thought it was time to start working with her. So I took a little 2 week old pig out of its’ mother’s pen and put it in the hallway and encouraged the collie to come up to the pig. Well, I must have picked out the spunkiest 2 week old on the farm, because that little pig wolfed at Shannon (the dog) and chased her clear to the end of the hall. Shannon jumped behind the powerwasher and hid back there until I took the pig back to mom.

Still wonder what it is like to be a Farmer?

The one thing I know…is that Farmer’s Wives are THE. BEST. COOKS. EVER.

My grandmother could make a mean {insert any food} and Micki shared with me her favorite pork recipe…Low and Slow Pulled Pork.

(PS: If you are a college football fan, you’ll want to enter the Kansas Pork Association “Win A TailGate”. This $800 giveaway includes (4) tickets to the KSU vs KU football game, a Weber Q 300 grill, 4 fold-able lawn chairs, a Coleman cooler, grilling utensil set, digital probe thermometer, digital pocket thermometer, marinade injector, rib rack, 6 different types of rub, 2 types of BBQ sauces, a ton of other stuff and $50 worth of pork coupons.)

And please visit my friends who also are working with Kansas Pork Association and did interviews and recipes of their own.

Dine & Dish – Pork Chop & Cajun Sausage Picante

Gimme Some Oven – Pork & Bacon Sliders

Amy’s Finer Things – Carolina Country Style Ribs

Super Jenn – Santa Fe Cured Pork Roast

Finding The Balance – Autumn Glazed Pork Chops

The Rusted Chain

What about you? Do you have Farming Roots in your blood? Do you ever want to go back or do you have a desire to live off the land? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know if I’m not the only one.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the Kansas Pork Association. I was compensated for my time however all opinions expressed are my own.