Growing up standing beside my dad in the alleyway watching the tractors pull in while dad opened the doors on their wagons and watching the corn or beans spill out into the pit was one of my favorite pass times. After the tractor pulled out of the alley and if there was no one waiting dad would hand me the push broom and I would start sweeping the rest off the floor into the pit. I remember watching in amazement as my dad walk across the grate of the pit, I would always walk around scared somehow, I would fall in. I learned to get over my fear of heights quickly, because I would always want to ride with my dad up in the man-lift to walk across the catwalk while he was checking bins. There are so many memories I have from going to work with my dad or stopping by with supper for him during the long fall nights.
Agriculture has and will always be such a large part of my life whether it be through my dad or all our friends and family, it will repeatedly impact my life. I heard the following phrase once and I can’t think of anything truer. “Despite all our achievements we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains” –Farm equipment association of Minnesota and South Dakota. When I started my career with the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce there was a lot to learn, but after a half a year or so I was presented the opportunity to be liaison to different committees and programming. I was ecstatic to take on the Ag Committee to be able to give back and show appreciation to farmers in this area.
This is my second year delivering during our Stay Safe project, but it is my first year leading the committee. Having the privilege to be apart of our Ag Committee holds a special place in my heart. This year I drove and had Gabriel with me out delivering bags. Our area to cover was in the Highlandville to the state line corner of the county. There may not be a lot of farm land in that neighborhood, but there was enough to put smiles on the faces of everyone that we found. One of the farmers we stopped even mentioned to us that his crew and him were just talking about the program the other day while doing something they knew wasn’t probably the safest. It’s nice to hear that the thought of safety translates into thinking about this program.
The Stay Safe and Take a Break program was started in 2004, so this was our 14th year going out and delivering bags. Some of the original people that implemented the program are still on the committee and still find it to be very incredible event to take place. It is such a rewarding experience to give back to the agriculture community. Farmers have the craziest hours during the fall and being able to hand them a bag full of goodies that our members donated is a very fulfilling experience. Everyone that receives a bag is always so appreciative of us taking the time to come out and remind them to Stay Safe and Take a Break. It was another success, as we delivered 180 bags out to the hard-working farmers in the Northeast quadrant of Winneshiek County.
While all the farmers are out pushing hard to put 2018 harvest in the books, the Ag Committee and I are here to remind you to Stay Safe and Take a Break.