Raising More Than Crops

September 17, 2019

By Chad Bell
District 3
Young Leader Committee Member


It’s 2019. Just saying 2019 will give 99.99% of Illinois farmers the worst case of heartburn. It was a record cold and wet spring with late planting, muddy planting, replanting, replanting the replanting, and prevent planting - and I managed to have a few acres under all those categories. However, whatever the situation, farmers have tried to make the best of it.

As I reflect on these past few months, I've decided that they've been no different than raising kids. We're all trying to do our best.

I raise corn, soybeans, and hogs on my farm, but the most important crop is the two kids at home. My wife and I have two kids: Amelia who is almost six, and Charlie who recently turned three.

Raising kids is most definitely rewarding, but it can be frustrating. When you become a parent, you have a master plan of how your kids will be raised and what they will be like. In your mind, your children will be perfect. They won't ever talk back, will always clean their plate, and will always be near a bathroom when they get the urge to go.

If only that were true.

Every year, we approach the cropping season with the perfect plan for success. However, weather happens, and plans change. The field you want to plant is still too wet and getting wetter. The fields you want to spray have to wait because baby pigs are going to show up in 5 hours instead of 3 days. Life happens and you learn to adapt.

My kids talk back sometimes, my daughter is a picky eater, and my son prefers to go to the bathroom in a field. We do everything we can as farmers to raise a successful crop - even if it means we have to dodge mud holes. We do everything we can as parents to make sure our kids grow up happy and healthy - even if we go through peanut butter and hot dogs faster than water. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts as a farmer, and as a dad, and know things will turn out alright!