ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Competing in the degree of life

This is a busy time around the Lawrence Farm. First and foremost, in January and February it is cold in Minnesota. Because of the cold, caring for animals is labor intensive and time consuming. Many hours are spent out of every 24-hour period fee...

4013176+14jbeLHsFuTivi-qSYzFJ4Nl6AbareeBG.jpg
Wyatt, left, and Wade Lawrence have advanced to the Minnesota State FFA Degree competition in April. (Marytina Lawrence/Special to Agweek)

This is a busy time around the Lawrence Farm. First and foremost, in January and February it is cold in Minnesota. Because of the cold, caring for animals is labor intensive and time consuming. Many hours are spent out of every 24-hour period feeding, doctoring and checking for new arrivals. When other aspects of life begin to enter in, the level of stress does rise exponentially, and sometimes despite the cold, it can get pretty heated around the table with all there is to accomplish.

Sometimes when we are in the middle of a season, it is hard to take a step back and evaluate. It is only after the moment passes that we can retrospectively evaluate the time that was spent and if it was worth it. I currently have three competitive swimmers in our home. (Well, one in college and two at home.) However, the seasons run simultaneously and the practices, competitions, chiropractic appointments and everything in between can cause a environment of continual chaos at times. So, when both boys approached me and said their FFA teacher recommended that they both consider a State Degree application, I was unsure if time was going to allow it.

Understanding the potential opportunity this presented, in duress I accepted the challenge and began to help the boys gather the needed information, edit their applications and prepare them for all that goes into a State FFA Degree. Each ultimately qualified for a regional interview, which catapulted us into more revisions, more time and formal dress preparation. There are moments as a mom when I am truly unsure if I can keep up, let alone provide what they actually need when they need it. However, both successfully made it through their interviews.

I am not all that familiar with the State Degree process, so when they came out of the interview, I asked how it went and then moved on to the next item on the ever-growing list of scheduled events taking place daily around our house. While on the way to church on Sunday, when my oldest boy casually mentioned that both he and his brother each had been selected No. 1 in the region in their subject areas and would be advancing to the state competition, it gave me a moment of pause.

First, as any mom I was sincerely proud of them both for all the time and work they chose to put into this particular endeavor. Secondly, I again realized the integrated nature of our profession and that once again, the farming aspect of our lives was going forth in another form to potentially reach others.

ADVERTISEMENT

FFA has been a wonderful outlet for the boys and my daughter to hone their leadership skills and gain a greater understanding of who they are in agriculture and what they will bring to the table as they move forward on the family farm. Taking advantage of the opportunities to advance their skill sets will prove invaluable in their life as adults. Sometimes, due to all the "noise" we face everyday, it can become difficult to see the forest for the trees. As my boys advance to the state competition in April, I look forward to watching them compete and share their personal story about the farm.

3177539+MarytinaLawrence.jpg

Related Topics: FARMINGFAMILYCATTLE
What To Read Next
"We, the growers, are disappointed in American Crystal Sugar’s decision in closing our local Sidney, Montana, factory."
Mikkel Pates set the standard for agricultural journalism during his 44-year career in the region, working for Agweek, The Forum and the Worthington Globe.
Mikkel Pates reflects on his time as an ag journalist in a three-part series.