The past two weeks have been trying for sure. It’s safe to say, we all experience things in our lives that leave us asking why. Things that may leave us sad, brokenhearted and even angry. The past couple weeks have been that for me. In all the things I have felt though, there has been so much good in those moments and even lessons learned.

The first bad news call I had received that week was of a family acquaintance who had taken his own life. Then soon after, I found out a close friend of mine from high school was unresponsive and was recently declared deceased by doctors due to multiple days of no brain function. This man was 39 years young. He was selfless, hilarious, caring and giving, and a man of God — and my hometown will feel his loss for years to come. In his final hours, he was still being selfless by being an organ donor; his loss will save hundreds of lives. Then, country music lost a legend this week to her mental health struggles. A strong, independent woman who made her and her daughter’s dreams a reality. A woman who fought the obstacles and knocked down doors until she couldn’t fight anymore. A woman who was a mentor and an inspiration to so many other women.

It’s been emotional. One of those times that makes you look at life a little differently. I’ve felt all the feelings this week, from sadness to anger, I’ve prayed, and I’ve even asked Him “why?” But last week, sitting in a meeting, a co-worker said, “Find what you love, what you are passionate about and do it.” It hit me like a Mack truck. Every single one of those people lived their life with passion, whether it was through their career, their religion or their songs.

It’s that time of year, when stress is mounting for farmers. They are anxious to get in the fields, for fruit trees to blossom and for moving livestock out to pasture. The weather doesn’t seem to be cooperating anywhere, and fertilizer costs are up almost 300% to 400% if you can even get it. War is impacting exports, the world seems to be in chaos, and the list goes on.

Sometimes you don’t know why you choose to work like you do and, more often than not, lose money in the process. Farmers are probably the most passionate and caring people I know. Not only do they pour blood, sweat and tears into their farms, they are often active in their communities, volunteering and donating. They are often the foundation of small, rural communities despite their busy lives. But like most farmers, farming is your passion, and you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. You are one of less than 2% of farmers in the United States feeding and clothing the world. Now that’s a legacy you should be proud of.

So whether you are asking “why?” or if you are graduating in a few short weeks, or if you just need a career change, or if you don’t feel that passion you once felt, know that it’s OK. Do what you need to do to get where you need to be, but follow your heart and find happiness in the journey, and just be kind.

The three people I spoke of that we lost, they didn’t have all the answers. They had their struggles like each of us do. They weren’t perfect, but they lived life in a way that made others around them better. They made the world a better place just by being themselves. Be that person.

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy”.  Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

 

Mandy Orahood, Ohio Farm Bureau organization director serving Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties.

OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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