If there is a pitfall to working at Ozarks Farm & Neighbor, it’s seeing so many farming operations I would love to undertake.
From Ayrshires to Milking Shorthorns, from Angus to Watusis, from Berkshires to Red Waddles, Dorpers to Shrops, Boers to Toggenburgs, I want them all.
I always picture in my mind what I would do with similar operations. Most of my ideas are merely dreams, but they could all come true one day – if I win the lottery. More livestock, more land and bigger tractors would be in my future if I were to ever win a jackpot.
As a child, I had many dreams about what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Like many kids who grew up around animals, there were thoughts of becoming a veterinarian. I wanted to help all animals and a little part of me wanted to be a vet even as I reached my young adulthood, then I got a job as a tech in a small animal practice. I liked my job and found it very rewarding, however, it only took a couple of reptile patients and being bitten a few times by small dogs named Fluffy or Cujo with bad attitudes to help me change my mind. I still have limited feeling in the tip of one finger because of an overly aggressive Chihuahua that not only bit me, but chewed mercilessly on my finger.
My big pipe dream was to become an archeologist. I dreamed of traveling the world to dig in ancient ruins and discover the past. In elementary school, my classmates and I learned about the tomb of Tutankhamun, more commonly known as King Tut. It was fascinating and I was ready to pack my bags for my own adventures. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a call for budding archeologists in my hometown, and Mom wasn’t a fan of “archeological digs” in the yard. Today I settle for what others are digging up on the History Channel, and what treasures I can find at auctions, thrift stores and flea markets, and one day I will make it to Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park.
No matter what I wanted to be as a kid, I always wanted to be involved in agriculture in some way, especially working with livestock, so being a veterinarian made sense, but I don’t think a farmer archeologist would have worked too well in the Egyptian desert.
I discovered a new dream later in life after being laid off from my night factory job for the second time. With the factory permanently closing, I returned to college in my mid 20s as a “non-traditional student” in the agriculture department at what was then Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. There I found a new path, a path that would eventfully lead me to various newspapers, and finally to OFN, where I have proudly been for four years.
I may not have fulfilled my childhood dreams, but I found new ones and I only look back fondly at the “what might have beens” along the way. I don’t have the show string of heifers or picturesque farm I always wanted, but I do get to share the stories of those who are working toward their goals.
I’m not giving up on all of my dreams just yet, because if you give up a dream, you give up part of yourself. I just have to get those six numbers right!
Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]