Tag Archives: farms

Farming: Giving Back

Farm Life: A ContributionScreen Shot 2013-03-27 at 7.52.41 AM

Living on a farm is a different way of life. It’s a life of making your own food, learning responsibilities, and building a family. Agriculture and  farms play a huge role in Missouri, past and present. However, comparing today’s farming to farming in the past is like comparing apples to oranges. The differences vary but the same lessons are learned, and the results impact the world immensely.

 Growing up on a farm is a giant learning experience, no matter what decade you are from. “I’ve always felt that living on a farm was a good way to provide for your family and teach your children responsibility,” said Shirley Reil. Shirley explained that living on a farm takes a lot of work. Being a girl was no excuse in her family. Even as a child Shirley helped on the farm. Whether it was feeding the animals, collecting the eggs, or tending to a newborn calf, it’s a life of commitment and dedication. When the everyday chores did not get finished, it affected the family’s income.

As a farmer, not only are you providing food for your family, but also the millions across America. When you eat corn on the cob and steak, the last thing that crosses your mind is a small farm in Southwest Missouri. Fifty-nine percent of food productions in the United states come from family farms.

Farming is a very risky business to work in, as the weather, maintenance cost of machinery, and market prices are unpredictable. Each year farmers face many obstacles along the way. The chances of a dry season can affect the crops’ yield. The machinery can break down, easily costing the family business thousands of dollars in repairs. Livestock catching a disease can easily wipe out an entire herd.

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 7.52.11 AMHarvested crops are either sold or stored in bins. Market cattle are sent to the local livestock market. For both of these types of products, farmers have to watch the market price very carefully in order to know when the best time is to sell. Shirley stated “ The market sets its own price whether you agree with it or not. You have no say in the price.” When Shirley was young, the price of a bushel of corn was almost two dollars. Today it’s anywhere around seven dollars a bushel.

When discussing how things have changed in the years since Shirley lived and worked on a farm, she responded that they were “completely different.” She said that “the machinery is so much bigger and better. Everything is high tech, but it is still a good life. The standard of living has advanced even if you are not in farming.” In spite of all the hard work and the uncertain farm markets, Shirley said that farm life was still very beneficial for her and to her community.

Shirley Reil. Personal. December 05, 2013

Growing up a Preacher’s Kid

Old Peach Tree

Sharon Morris was the daughter of Everett and Mary Coleman. In 1928, her family donated land to the community where a church and schoolhouse were built. The church was called Peach Tree General Baptist Church, and it is still running today in the small town of Piedmont, Missouri. Everett and Mary lived on a farm with their six children, five boys and one girl. Everett worked at Brown Shoe Factory and was a preacher. Mary was a homemaker.

Although there were advantages and disadvantages to being a preacher’s kid, Morris said they still didn’t mind it. “It wasn’t bad. I can remember traveling to and from different churches in the car with a whole load of brothers.” However, she feels she was sometimes treated differently because of her father’s occupation.“Some of the popular girls would laugh about it. My closest friends didn’t.” Morris says that sometimes her life was different than her friends.  “My parents were always strict and I never got to go to school dances; that bothered me then.”

Sharon married Larry Morris and they raised two kids. She hopes that she has taught her children many things that she learned from her parents. “I wanted my kids to be able to participate in the sports and school activities that I couldn’t, but I do appreciateThe New Peach Tree growing up knowing I was loved and was taught values. These I tried to pass on to my children.”

Recalling memories from her childhood–some good, some not so good–Morris stated that “the worst I can remember was coming home in a bad snowstorm and wondering if we would make it. And then there was the time my dad hit a mule on the road on the way to church. We did go on to church, I believe.”

Morris now has four grandchildren with whom she is very close. How she was raised affected the way she raised her children and the way they are raising their children. She hopes her grandchildren will “be honest and work hard and love God.”

Though many kids have grown up as a preacher’s kid, Morris recognizes that the times have changed tremendously. “I think as a preacher’s kid now, they aren’t as strict and it is a lot easier to be in school activities.”

Many things have changed since the 1920s-1930s, but according to Morris the life of a preacher’s kid has stayed virtually the same.

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