Put Your Money Where Your Corn Is

24 Apr

There comes a point in every farm wife’s life when she must put her money where the corn is.

In short, there comes a time when she must buy land. At least that’s what the Dairy Man told me.

Buying land was a rite of passage for our farm life. I still remember the jittery feeling in my stomach back when DM and I first went down this path.

After months of research, loan applications, bargaining, and stacks of paperwork, Dairy Man and I took our first large step towards personal investment into the dairy: buying farmland.

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This land-buying venture represented our first foray into deep, personal dairy investment.

I was just getting the hang of regular old farm life. Sure, the hours were long and the work was never-ending, but I hadn’t thought about the point when DM would want to invest our hard-earned dollars into the farm.

Silly me. I thought that money was accruing for a fabulous Mexican vacation or a paved driveway.

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But dairy life and personal life are inextricably intertwined. I’m slowly learning that there isn’t a big difference between “family money” and “farm money.” Somehow it all ends up in the same pot.

This means that every dime we earn, every choice we make, has to take the dairy into account. Annoying. Does this mean my desire for new flooring might get trumped by the Dairy Man’s desire for new cows? Yes. Not an easy concept for a city girl to swallow.

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When Dairy Man and I started discussing the land deal, it was easy to hide behind obscurities, generalities, and “somedays.” But eventually the time came to talk numbers, dollars, acres, a closing date. It was scary. I felt levels of resistance similar to those I felt before DM and I got married and moved to Smalltown. I secretly resented the notion that we had to deplete our hard-earned savings to buy something as un-sexy as dirt.

Because that’s all it is. Dirt. Buying land requires a down payment similar to that of a new house. But instead of four bedrooms, crown molding, and a walk-in closet, you get dirt. Instead of remodeling the bathroom, you get to spread poo on your new purchase. Thrilling.

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Dairy Man tried to soothe my fears with land adages farmers rely on:

  • “Land is our retirement plan!”
  • “Land is a gift that keeps on giving!”
  • “Buying land will make us rich … in equity!”
  • “When the apocalypse comes and the world succumbs to chaos and lawlessness, the landowners will be king!”

Even my desire to become a post-apocalyptic czar was not enough to convince me. I was scared. What if we had a terrible drought? What if it snowed in July and our corn babies froze? What if the field was trampled by a herd of rabid water buffalo? What if there was a plague of corn-loving locusts?

Farm life is a good exercise in letting go. I’m still getting used to a farmer’s reliance on the land and weather. So many things are outside of our control. This could explain why Dairy Man is so annoyingly optimistic and flexible. My type A personality strains heavily against the lack of control that comes with farm life.

But ultimately I trust the business acumen of my scruffy Dairy Man. This is the life I’ve chosen and these are the educated choices we must make.

Because, really, life itself cannot be controlled or predicted. I can thank farming for teaching me this. I’m constantly learning and gaining flexibility and patience. Plus, I don’t even go into hypovolemic shock when I get my shoes stuck in the mud.

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The dairy is growing. I’m growing. DM is so proud. I know our lovely land parcels will be a good investment. I’m well on my way to being a feudal land baron and I’m excited to watch this dairy ebb and grow. Land is good.

Even though I can’t buy new shoes with equity.

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17 Responses to “Put Your Money Where Your Corn Is”

  1. wildrosegypsy 04/24/2013 at 10:19 am #

    Awww if only shoes & boots had equity! Love this write… I can fully understand where you are coming from with the scare of taking that first big leap! However Dad always said.. the younger you get your loan.. the faster you’ll pay it off! Good luck with your Corn! 🙂

    • the Modern Farm Wife 04/24/2013 at 12:20 pm #

      Thanks! Your Dad sounds a lot like Dairy Man Sr.! But they’re the experts, right? Hopefully DM and I can find a happy middle ground that allows for farmland AND high heel acquisition. 🙂

  2. Harshy12 04/24/2013 at 10:25 am #

    You honestly keep me optimistic because I can completely identify with you. I’m getting married to a farmer this next summer and I’ve lived on the farm with him for a year already, This life is very. . .difficult when you’re a girl that likes dates and fancy things and clean floors and. . .new shoes. Thanks for writing out your story because it helps me identify and helps me to let go of some things too. Gotta love the thought of being kings when the world goes under, hahaha.

    • the Modern Farm Wife 04/24/2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Aw, I’m glad I could offer some optimism. I didn’t feel this way when I first moved to the dairy! I miss clean floors and date nights that don’t include pizza at the local dive bar. 🙂 But I wouldn’t trade this life for the world. And being a king someday doesn’t sound too terrible…

      • Harshy12 05/05/2013 at 10:14 pm #

        I wouldn’t trade it either! Strange how such a difficult lifestyle that doesn’t leave much room for luxury can be the most beautiful lifestyle too!

  3. katlynrumbold 04/24/2013 at 11:01 am #

    Way to go on taking your first big leap on being land owners! I just found your blog and can relate to a lot of your posts. My dad (a farmer) and bf (also a farmer) have been encouraging me to buy some land of my own. They say it’ll be a great investment. I know it will be in the long run, but much like you it is scary!

    • the Modern Farm Wife 04/24/2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Thanks, Katlyn! I’m glad you understand. Those farmers think it’s the greatest investment in the world. And it probably is. But it’s still a big deal when you sign your life away on the dotted line. Good luck! 🙂

      • katlynrumbold 04/24/2013 at 12:42 pm #

        They sure do and they’re pretty smart folk so it should be a good thing 😉 It’s definitely a HUGE deal.

  4. fayefossay 04/24/2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I sooo enjoyed this read Jessica, and I can sooooo relate! I’ve been married to my Farmer for 15+ years, and I still don’t have that paved driveway, Mexican vacation, new shoes or crowned moulding! BUT… I am starting to accept that land and livestock are a good investment, and that it does keep on GIVING. I won’t lie though… this Summer I’m dreaming of some landscaping around the house–new trees to replace the dead ones, some curbing around my flowerbeds, and what really makes me drool is a blocked pad with firepit out back. BUT… my farmwife brain is telling me that we’ll more than likely put our hard earned money right back into the farm… fence repairs, land payments, concrete floor for the shop, maybe a new bull, and perhaps if I’m lucky a fence for the dogs. 😉

    • the Modern Farm Wife 04/24/2013 at 10:37 pm #

      It’s funny how those piddly little house expenses fall second to the dairy, eh? I am, however, glad to report that I’m getting used to it. But it’s good to know that there are others out there longing for crown molding while settling for a “sexy” new fence or barn. 🙂

  5. Lauran 04/24/2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I secretly resented the notion that we had to deplete our hard-earned savings to buy something as un-sexy as dirt.

    Because that’s all it is. Dirt. Buying land requires a down payment similar to that of a new house. But instead of four bedrooms, crown molding, and a walk-in closet, you get dirt. Instead of remodeling the bathroom, you get to spread poo on your new purchase. Thrilling.

    Okay, that is freaking hilarious!

  6. Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) 04/27/2013 at 2:38 am #

    BUT LOOK AT HOW CUTE THAT COW IS!!! ❤

  7. Gerty 05/02/2013 at 9:54 am #

    Sooo… My farmer have been talking about moving in together … every chance he gets. I live in a small town, and he (obviously) is on a farm about 115km away.. I obviously have my thoughts on this… but my big worry is this: what can i do (work wise) to generate money / stimulation… I am not the kind of woman to sit at home and do nothing … there are towns close by to where he lives .. about 25km …any ideas or things I need to consider… thanks lady 🙂

  8. Michelle Rudolph 04/20/2016 at 7:42 pm #

    UGH. I don’t like putting my money where my corn is! I want to go to Mexico and buy shoes! This is a very real struggle. I have had to lower my standards of cleanliness to a shockingly low threshold…and I never dream of a paved driveway anymore…but I would very much like to see the beach once a year. I don’t want to quash his dreams…but what about my dreams? I try to dream new ones…I like watching the crops grow, and I love watching my farmer drive his tractors (he’s like a kid in a candy store!). But where is the balance between being the ‘good wife’ and being the pushover who no longer has her own dreams and aspirations? I think I need a farm counselor…

    • the Modern Farm Wife 04/21/2016 at 10:56 am #

      Haha. Yes. I think we ALL need a farm counselor, Michelle. I’m no expert, but the best I can say is to keep the lines of communication open. I try to be realistic and supportive (especially certain times of year) but also speak up when my own happiness is on the line. We are in a constant balancing act. It isn’t easy. But take solace in the fact that NO marriage is easy; everyone has their own issues. Ours just include more manure… 😉

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