Our Rural Roots

Grieving for a Crop

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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This crop year will have a ripple effect on years to come. (Progressive Farmer photo by Jennifer Campbell)

Grief is funny. Not "ha ha" funny but odd funny.

We have this illusion we are in control. "It'll get planted, it always has" is something I've always said. After the 2019 season, I realize it is no longer true, and I finally realized I am grieving for the loss of that long-held belief as much as the crops that remained in the bag or those that did get planted and, maybe, shouldn't have.

I learned about the seven stages of grief the year my dad died. I wanted to recognize them in myself and my family. I was shocked when I realized they applied so well to the current year in agriculture:

1. shock and denial

2. pain and guilt

3. anger and bargaining

4. depression, reflection and loneliness

5. the upward turn

6. reconstruction and working through

7. acceptance and hope

Almost every website I googled comes to the same conclusion after the seventh stage: "You have made it through the seven stages of grief."

I don't think so. The seven stages seem to be less about conquering grief and more about coming to terms with things we have no control over.

We'll survive this crop year, but it will likely have a ripple effect not only for the remainder of the year but for years to come. It will be there -- just like the droughts of 1983 and 2012; the financial strain of the '80s; the hog crash of 1998. The year we couldn't get it all done: 2019.

The bad years undoubtedly mold us more than the good years. Building character and a business is never easy.

Some say the farmer isn't the farm. It sounds good, but for some of us, it is and always will be agriCULTURE, not agriJOB.

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Editor's note: Jennifer Campbell blogs, farms and lives agriculture in good times and bad from Indiana. Follow her on Twitter at @plowwife. Visit her website at www.farmwifefeeds.comand podcast at girlstalkagpodcast.libsyn.com.

Todd Neeley