A Farmer's Wife by Jenny Hurt

If you asked me 10 years ago, what I thought my future held being a farmer’s wife would have never crossed my mind.  I grew up in Nesbit, Mississippi, and I never thought of myself as a country girl. I always dreamt of moving off to live in a big city, but that all changed when I met my farmer.

October 22, 2011, was the day I became a fifth generation farmer’s wife. My husband, Adam, manages Greenleaf Farms (which has farming land located throughout Tate County) with his father, brother, and seven other employees. We have a beautiful teenaged daughter, Olivia, and a very energetic toddler, Jack. With our five-year anniversary just around the corner, I’m reminded how much my life has changed since my wedding day.

I knew that being a farmer’s wife would have its challenges. Marriage alone is hard work, but marrying a farmer takes it to another level that I can’t say I was ready for five years ago. Adam and I dated for two years before we married, so I knew his work schedule. I knew his job consumed the majority of his day, including long hours before sunrise and well after sunset. I respected and admired his dedication to his job– and still do. Through all the ups and downs of life with Greenleaf Farms, I’ve been surprised at what I’ve learned about life and for what I’ve become most thankful.

First, I’ve learned that quality time is a treasure, and for the majority of the year, it is a rarity.  From March to June (planting season) and August to December (harvest season), if we want to spend any quality time with our farmer, it happens in the cab of a John Deere tractor or combine. Kenny Chesney didn’t quite have it right when he sang, “She thinks my tractor’s sexy.”  There’s not much that’s sexy about squeezing in a small cab with your kids in your lap, dirt covering you from head to toe, and sensors beeping loudly in your ear.  That time is precious, though, and it’s something that I’ve learned to appreciate more than any piece of jewelry or bouquet of flowers. I’ve also learned to be thankful for the rain – not only because it waters the crops that Adam works so hard to raise and harvest, but also because it gives him time at home to rest.

Second, I’m thankful that farming has allowed Adam and me to give back to our community. In 2016, we were the very appreciative farmers selected from Tate County to receive a $2,500 grant from a national organization that gives back to farming communities. We were proud to give the funds to our dear friends at The Baddour Center (baddour.org) in Senatobia, Miss., a residential community for adults with intellectual disabilities where I have worked for the past 10 years.

Working full time while being a farmer’s wife is something that I’ve challenged myself to do.  Working gives me a sense of pride, knowing that I’m sharing the responsibility of our family’s success and our future, but the day isn’t over when I clock out at five.  As every mom knows, after work comes supper, laundry, cleaning, bath time, and the list goes on. The hours can drag by when you’re exhausted and don’t have help because your husband is working.  Recently, Adam got in late and, having not seen the kids in three days, he snuck into our son’s room to kiss his sleeping head “good night” before he did anything else. It’s sometimes a difficult truth, but the farm has to come first. We make the necessary sacrifices and do what we have to until harvest ends.

I have also learned much about myself since becoming a farmer’s wife. I’ve had to learn patience; my husband can’t always come home because I need help with a screaming baby. I’ve learned to be a multi-tasker.  I’ve also learned how to cut the grass, do small repairs, and perform other duties that in most households, the man is available to do. Subsequently, I’m stronger and far more independent.

Now this one may throw some of you for a loop, but bear with me.  I’ve learned to appreciate doing my farmer’s laundry.  Yes, you did read that correctly.  Don’t get me wrong— the task itself can be daunting, and I often have to rid my dryer vents of seeds, pocketknives, washers and other knick-knacks and small parts that I don’t recognize, but I have learned to appreciate the grease stains that I fight.  My husband got that stain doing what he loves – providing for his family.  One day I’ll miss brushing out his stains with a toothbrush.  I’ve learned to look at doing his laundry as an honor instead of a burden.

This brings me back to my farmer.  I’ve learned so much about my husband in the past five years. Watching him work and seeing his passion for what he does has taught me a lot about his character and work ethic, which deepens my love and appreciation for him even more. He sacrifices time with family, and has missed dance recitals, church services, and important family events to supply this country with necessities like beans, cattle, corn, cotton, peanuts, and wheat. I bet most of us can’t go through the day without eating or using something that comes from at least one of those staples.  We are proud of our farm family and the legacy that the Hurt family has left for us to build upon and continue.

Harvest can be a very lonely and challenging time of year, and not just for my family.  Truck drivers, gin-workers, grain elevator workers – they are all making sacrifices this time of year for not only their families, but for our country.  As a farmer’s wife, I ask that if you know a farm family, please love on them.  Pray for them.  Encourage them.  Thank them. The farming life is a challenging one that pushes us to work hard. It’s a life for which I have learned to be thankful and one that I am so proud to live.