Growing up on a farm as a girl who was actively involved is something I'm very proud of. I am the 5th generation raised on our family farm and am raising the 6th generation on the farm.

My 95 year old grandmother passed away recently and at a memorial service held at the place she had been living, the chaplain said, "Ardie was proud of her family farm. It was where she was born and where she lived for over 90 years. She was also proud that her granddaughter is still raising cattle on that farm."

Wow! I knew my grandma was proud of me, but to hear those words said by another individual really hit me. I've lived several places in my lifetime, but it wasn't until that moment that I finally knew I am where I'm meant to be. As tears run down my face as I write this, I think of all the lessons I have learned on the farm— hard work, the circle of life, dedication — and yet the greatest lesson I learned from growing up on the farm and also learned from my grandma is compassion.

My grandma not only lived on that farm for over 90 years, but she also worked on that farm from the time she was old enough to help. One of my favorite places on the farm is our barn. I've written about it before—The barn that built me. I think about all the great times I've had in that barn and how my family members in the past have had great times in that barn as well. Now it is a joy to see my children having great times in that barn.

There were some things like driving a truck and trailer, that I learned later in life. Or grinding feed, that I had to learn out of necessity. Now I can do those things on my own. My grandma had to learn several things on her own as well. She was an only child and my grandfather died in 1984. 

Being a farm girl is a title that I love to hold and will be proud of the rest of my life. Teaching others about why agriculture is important is also something I enjoy. The compassion for people and animals that I learned by being on the farm around my family is a lesson that no one can take away from me. My kids can tell you, the loss of the smallest kitten in our barn or the loss of a calf are really hard for me. I want to save everything and everyone from pain. It's just how I am. I'm a farm girl.

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