Friday, April 20, 2012

Letter to Hilda Solis and the Department of Labor

Dear Mrs. Solis,

I am writing to you because I am a concerned farm wife.  Most of my life has been about farming.  I grew up on a farm and watched my father work very hard to keep food on our table.  It wasn't always easy.  He was the only employee on his farm.  We endured hail storms and drought and even a torando that ripped through five of our fields in 1991.  We spent an entire summer cleaning up the aweful mess that torando left behind.  Sometimes we would go days without seeing my dad.  He was up and gone before we were and he came home long after we had gone to bed.  We cherished the times when we got to take dinner to the field so we could have some time with him.  We also lived through watching my dad let go of his dream of being a farmer, and handing it over to his family, because it was just too hard to survive being the only employee. 

In 2006 I married the love of my life and moved to Mount Hope, KS.  He is a fifth generation farmer.  He and his dad farm 3,000 acres together.  They have one other full time employee and a couple part time helpers.  This family farm is much different than what I grew up with.  It has been handed down and added on to as the years have passed.  It is interesting to me the similarities and differences of these two farms.  We still don't get to see my husband as much because there is always work to do, but we try every second we get to go ride the tractor with him even if it is just fifteen minutes.  We bring dinner to the fields just like when I was little.  The real difference is that if we really need my husband he can be here because his dad is there to help pick up the slack.  That is probably the nicest advantage that we have.  Being a family farm we work together to grow and build what we love the most, our livelihood.

In 2011 I quit my job to become a stay at home mom and an extra farm hand.  One of the reasons behind this is because of a conversation I had with my son.  We were coming home from day care one night and I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  Now mind you he could have told me anything as his day care provider was my Great Aunt and he had lots of influential cousins, that were at her house a lot, who play all sports under the sun.  He could have said any number of things but he stated to me that he wanted to be a farmer.  Right then and there I knew what I needed to do as his mother.  I wanted to create and keep this life my sons wants.  I wanted to go back to my roots of being on the farm and doing everything I could to help it succeed.

The reason for this letter you may ask is because I want these new rules that you all are trying to get passed to be stopped.  I want to be able to teach my son about farm saftey and about how it takes a lot of people to run a farm.  I know it does because my father is living proof that you can't do it alone.  I want my son to continue this dream of his and his father's and his grand father's because that is what he was born to do.  I want my son to be able to have 4-H and FFA to teach him about safety and the correct way to handle animals.  I want him to have all the opportunities I had and more.  With these new rules he may not be able to do what he wants and that makes this mom very sad.

I understand that these rules are put into place because we want to keep people safe.  People are afraid of children getting hurt working around big equipment.  But unfortunately kids get hurt every single day whether in rural america or in the big city.  That is why they are called accidents.  No one means for them to happen.  Putting more rules in place isn't going to stop every accident.  Please let parents be parents and let us continue to work with our children and show them how to be safe.  I have a strong feeling that, that is all these farm parents including myself want.  Please don't take our teaching abilities away from us.  Let us teach our kids before the age of 16, when they think they know it all and are bullet proof, about hard work, dedication, and saftey.

I appreciate your time and attention!

Concerned Farm Wife
Vickie Winter

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Catching up

Okay it is time to get caught up!  There has been quite a few things that have been happening around the farm and in our lives.  So I will try to make this short and sweet...Here we go!

March 8, 2012 was National Ag Day.  I spent most of the week trying to do things with my kids that involved Agriculture.  The first day we planted soybeans.  The kids had fun doing this activity.  We found the directions on
The second day we played the memory game on This site has lots of neat games to play.  It was built to educate people on agriculture as well as entertain.  This site is for all ages.
The next day we read Milk Comes From a Cow and The Soil Neighborhood.  These books are written by Dan Yunk and give good insight into the life of agriculture.  They can be ordered from
Then National Ag day we went to our good friend Mick Rausch's house to watch him milk cows.  This brought back lots of memories for me as I worked on a Dairy in college.  It was ran by the university and it was a great experience.  I think the kids had just as much fun as I did.
The weekend of March 24-25th we went to Hays for a Young Farmers and Ranchers commitee meeting.  We did a community project at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.  We helped clean the store and put out variouse items that had been donated to the store.  We continued to plan the 2013 annual conference.  We also had a visit from Senator Jerry Moran.  He spoke to us about things going on in Congress and the Child Labor law he is trying to put a stop to.  It was a great weekend with great people.
Then it was Easter fun.  We spent two weekends in a row hunting easter eggs.  The kids had a blast and I had fun watching them.
And probably the most amazing thing has been the addition to my extended family.  Kelsey Marie was born on April 8th at 8:38 am.  She was 10 weeks early and only weighed 3 lbs 5 ounces.  She was 15 3/4 inches long.  My sister had been on best rest in the hospital for two weeks before Kelsey decided to grace us with her presence.  Even though she is so small she is showing great signs of improvement and hopefully she will be able to join her mom, dad and sister at home, where she belongs, soon.
Love my Kelsey Marie!
And now we are all caught up!