Farming is among the highest of callings. This a secret everyone who lives in rural America knows. You work hard, take huge risks and ultimately help to feed the world.
But there’s something about farming that is both therapeutic and exciting. Each season presents its own set of challenges and possibilities, and when harvest arrives it brings with it the rewards of hard work and good planning.
The act of farming has attractions that continue to draw new generations of farmers. Among the newest arrivals are war veterans. During the past dozen years more than 2 million Americans have been called upon to fight in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been a prolonged effort — longer than the Civil War and World War II combined — and by any measure they have done a fine job.
Now many of those veterans are leaving their combat boots behind and finding a new life on the farm. They do it with the help of people like Chris Brown.
A Marine who served in Afghanistan, Brown helps fellow combat veterans get grounded in farming. His program, Growing Veterans, helps them learn the trade from the dirt up. Aided by other groups, they learn that hard work, coupled with know-how, can produce the miracle of a crop.
It comes as no surprise to any farmer that life in the country offers more to veterans than a day job. While working for a paycheck has its rewards — namely, a paycheck — it also brings with it stresses and worries.
While life in the country is certainly no panacea it does offer more than just a paycheck. Farming and ranching offer a sense of satisfaction few other jobs can.
These veterans have found the tender land, where they can count on the goodness of hard work to accomplish good things.
It is a place where they can live and heal.
Brown and his many fellow veterans spent their time in uniform serving a grateful nation. And now they’re finding that farming is what satisfies them and they’re sharing that discovery with others.
God speed to them all, and to a new life.