The Heart of a Rural Sister: Mindy Young
This week I had the privilege of visiting with Mindy Young! She is a FarmHer, blogger, and author! I know you’ll find her journey interesting and inspiring!
Here is her story!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family!
We farm in Atchison County, which is amongst a cluster of rural towns in Northeast Kansas. My husband is an Extension Agent for KSRE. We have 2 little girls. Our farm is very diversified. We grow corn, soybeans, and brome. We also raise cattle, meat goats, sheep, chickens, pigs and honeybees.
How did you came into Farming?
I grew up on a farm and I always knew I would have a farm or ranch. I met my husband in college and we made plans that we would someday have a farm. So after he graduated, he came home and began renting crop ground from his parents, who didn’t want to farm anymore. He bought all of their equipment. I was in grad school at the time and right before I graduated a few years later, he bought our first 80 acres, which is where we live. It will always be our first farmstead.
What is your role on the Farm?
I take care of the day to day operations while my husband is at work. I manage the livestock herds and the farm records. On the weekends and on his days off, my husband and I work as a team. He even helps me with things inside, when the weather keeps us from doing things outside on the farm.
What is the most challenging part of farming? What do you see as the positives for your family in farming?
The most challenging part of farming would have to be working with the weather. In Kansas, you never know what the weather is going to do. You just have to plant it and have faith that the weather will be cooperative. Many times it is, but many times it is not. Our corn crop this year had some hail damage, which resulted in extremely low yields. But, this year’s soybean crop received rains at just the right times during the growing period. So, our record yielding soybean crop paid for itself plus the failed corn crop. It’s little wins like that which makes farming worth the trouble.
The positive for our family is that I can teach my kids life lessons on the farm. And we can learn to work and grow together as a family.
Do you face isolation and loneliness that many women in ag face? How do you deal with that?
I did originally before I really understood or even had a role on our farm. It took me some time to find my role. But now that I’m more involved and busy, I really don’t feel that way anymore.
Would you mind sharing with us a time that was the most challenging for you and how you made it through?
This past summer was very challenging for me. I was struggling with Postpartum Anxiety & Depression. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and I was caring for a HUGE garden. My husband was picking up my slack, which made me feel worse. There were days I just didn’t have the energy. My toddler was angry about having a new sister and I took a lot of anger out on her. My house was full of the past 7 years of our life EVERYWHERE. Luckily, things are better now. Honestly, the book “The Four Hour Work Week” really helped me to sit down and think about how I could eliminate a lot from my life. Then, I read “Think & Grow Rich”, which was a game changer for me. I also picked up a depression brochure at our local hospital that stated mind games could help one make it through depression. These two books helped me to develop my own style of mind games that I engage in each day, which helps me stay focused. I also make a list each day with only 3-5 really important things on it, rather than the 20 plus item list I was making before. Big difference. Knowing what your priorities are and eliminating 80% of things you don’t need, is how you find balance in your life. This is also how I deal with overwhelm and the amount of things I need to accomplish in a day. It can be difficult sometimes. I have reduced my to-do list from about 20 things per day to 3-5 main things to do each day. Plus, I schedule play time and home-school lessons as well as relax/play time in the evenings. My early morning hours before my family awakes is my time to work and to work out. It’s a struggle, but it works pretty well for me right now.
Do you have any daily self-care non-negotiables? (For some this might be reading the Bible daily, others it’s getting up a little bit earlier than the rest of the family to have a bit of quiet time, others it might be getting their nails done, journaling, etc.) Why are those important to you?
I get up early for quiet time. I write, workout, take some courses, and just sit in silence. Silence is really hard to achieve with little kids, but I make sure that I get that time whenever I need it. Even if that means putting a movie on and going and “hiding out” for a bit. They are important to me because it gives me peace of mind. Plus, I’m while I’m working I’m creating things that will help bring income for my family.
What are the unique ways you find to keep your love and attraction alive with your hubby?
Listening. His job is very stressful sometimes and I try to just have an open ear. I also try to make time for just the two of us (which is very difficult with a nursing baby and a toddler). Luckily, we have family nearby who can watch the girls if I want to ride in the combine or take a load of grain to town. It’s a nice way to just be together.
What struggles do you face as an ag parent and how do you overcome them?
Right now, my kids are little so it’s just keeping them safe while we work. Technology is a wonderful thing. A struggle I see as they get older is teaching them the difference between wants and needs. Teaching them that we are building a stronger and bigger investment for them that is different than their peers. They won’t have many of the material things (designer clothes, video games, etc) that their friends might have. We will always encourage them to save and obtain what they absolutely need, but work hard for what they want as well. It will be a hard lesson for them to learn. I know because my own parents taught me this lesson.
How do you balance enjoying rural life and keeping the family at the center, but also giving your kiddos a chance to see/experience things outside of ag before they “leave” for college?
Excellent question. I think it’s completely important to get your kids off the farm to experience the world. My kids associate with non-farm kids when they go to gymnastics classes and library programs. We also travel with Farm Bureau so the kids can see different parts of the state and country. We are traveling to Phoenix in January!
How do you integrate your kids into your livelihood and lifestyle?
They are with me 24/7. I’m their primary caretaker. My toddler is a mother hen, so If I need to go into a livestock pen without the girls, she will read to the baby, sing, and keep her happy in her stroller while I go in. She is a huge help!
What is one piece of wisdom that you would share with another woman in ag?
You create the life you live. If you don’t like something about your life, then change it. Take control.
Knowing what you know now about life and farming what would you tell yourself 10-20 years ago?
It is better than what I ever could have imagined!
Before we wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like to share?
I recently become a children’s book author. I published Sage Beagle & The Shadowy Figure right before Halloween. I will publish the second Sage Beagle Book before Thanksgiving.
I’m also planning a second series that will feature books about growing food and making a recipe with it. The book I’m working on now is “Sally Grows a Pumpkin Pie.” I’m really excited for this series. I’m hoping it will entice kids to learn how to grow produce and how to cook with it.
Lastly, what do you believe are the three most important qualities in a farm wife?
3. Scheduling/Balancing – Someone has to do it.
After connecting with Mindy in several facebook groups for women in ag, I am so grateful for opportunity to visit with and get to know Mindy a bit better! She inspires me to keep on, keeping on and to dream big!
Follow and connect with Mindy further on Social Media:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/farmfitliving
Snap Chat: farmfitmama
You can also check out her blog www.farmfitliving.com for rural living tips for Business, Balance, Farm & Garden, Recipes and Wellness.
Mindy is also an active member of The Rural Sisters’ Community, which is a part of The Rural Sisterhood! If you’d like to join us, click here!
I hope you enjoy these interviews with other rural women in Ag as much as I do! I learn something new every time and am inspired by the resilience and determination that each woman possesses!
To read the last Heart of a Rural Sister Interview with Karoline Rose, click here!