As I've changed my mind a million times and my gears a hundred more, I always keep my eyes on the horizon. What's coming in the future? What changes must I endure? How many different ways can I steer our family farm into a healthier, more sustainable future and keep it making a profit?
I'm constantly faced with the struggle of keeping this farm going for my two sons. Will either one of them even want to farm? Am I the last of my kind? Perhaps I'll be the old grandfather the grandchildren will go to visit on the farm and listen to age-old stories of how "things use to be in the good ol' days." It's comical to think that far down the road. But at times, very necessary.
Farmers are faced with more and more greater hurdles, whether economical or via the ever-changing weather patterns. Nothing is a sure thing. Maybe that's why I love farming so damn much. Even when you think you've earned it, it is gone. And as it passes you by, it simply nods and smiles, expecting nothing in return.
I've watched many farmers in West Texas leave the business, whether they wanted to or not. Sometimes, we get to leave on our own damn terms. Sometimes, the terms don't give a damn. I fear many more will leave on bad terms over these next few years. I see it coming. And nobody will even blink as millions of lives are changed forever.
But I won't be one of them. I'll be around for a long time. And even if neither one of my sons want to farm, at least I will look back some sweet day, and feel like I did my best with what I had while I could. Certain decisions I've made have been dictated by others, but each year I gear myself so that pattern will not prevail. Some day, I'll be 100% organic and 100% at ease with all of this.
What happens to the land after I'm gone, I have no control over whatsoever. But at least my words and visions will have been firmly printed on these millions of grains of sand. They are permanent. I am not. And perhaps some day long from now, they will whisper themselves in the ears of unsuspected souls. And they'll stop and stare at the horizon as the feel of change overtakes them and they'll wonder out loud, "Why me?" And I'll simply pass by...and nod and smile, expecting nothing in return.