Not All Farmers Come From Farms

BY Shelby Millett

Not all of us at Black Gold Farms came from a farming background, let alone grew up in the country. I am a city girl through and through. Although I do remember a tiny vegetable garden my Mom and Dad tended to when I was a young girl. I loved eating the fresh green beans while in the garden with my mom straight from the vine, the smell of the dirt when it was tilled and amazing taste of the tomatoes. One of my favorite things as a child was digging down into the deep rich black soil to find the earthworms. They would try to get away, but I would play catch and release because I was told of their important role in the garden.

Fast forward more years then I care to say, and I am now a potato farmer.

It was not on my radar after I left the corporate world. I did not have the first clue where this journey would take me, and I would not change it for anything. I truly do love it. Potatoes are in my blood now. They are a part of me. I guess you could say they are my potato patch babies. I look forward to each season with a fresh perspective because I know every year will not be the same as the last. Each year brings its own set of challenges but that is okay. I look forward to it, I thrive on it. Challenges are what wake me up in the morning, keep me up at night and make me come back for more year after year. I cannot think of a more rewarding and satisfying career. When I hear the poem by Paul Harvey “So God Made A Farmer” it not only gives me chills it makes me breakdown and cry because I know all the selfless hours, ups, downs, blood, sweat, tears and most of all time spent away from family. That is what we do it for, our families. Family support is number one and goes a long way when it comes to farming. It helps us get through those tough days knowing that they are there for us when we need it most. They are there love us, take care of us and encourage us to go on and remind us of our strong will to persevere.

It’s so exciting for me to hear the stories on how the crop is doing and thriving as well as the potential of the magnificent yield to come. I love to go out to the fields and see the perfect rows, brilliant green leaves and remember that smell of the dirt that takes me back to when I was a little girl in the garden again with my Mom and Dad. That memory is so pronounced that I will never forget! Anytime I am driving in the country the I am immediately drawn in when I see any planted crops. No matter what they are. I am so curious and have an immense thirst for knowledge when it comes to farming. There is a vast amount of information and my brain is in a constant search for knowledge. Farming gives me that fulfillment. When I first moved to my area, I would ask my co-workers all the time what was growing down the road. I wanted to get familiar with what was growing and learn to identify on my own. I love to learn and grow as an individual and with farming as my career there is no shortage of that.

When harvest begins, it is like a family reunion. We have our regular employees and drivers that come back year after year. We never have a shortage of fun. I believe we must mix a little fun with work to get through the day as long as the work comes first, is accurate, and everybody stays safe while doing so. We work long hard hours, but we have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day to know we did it, loaded every truck and gave it our all!

To this day I still love the smell of the fresh tilled dirt, finding earthworms in the soil, eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden and feeling the positive energy in the air as we get ready for the new season crop. Nothing is better.

Shelby is a member of the Farm Better Ambassador Class #2