Once a Reluctant Farmer, Gina Gadient Reflects on the Joys of Life on the Farm
Hello, my name is Gina and I live in Eastern Iowa, on a farm I like to refer to as ‘God’s Country’. My husband, Randy, and I farm approximately 400 acres with the help of our children. Not only am I proud to be a farmer’s wife, I am proud to be a farmer! We have a farrow-to-finish operation with approximately 150 sows. That means we raise the pigs from birth to market. The market-ready pigs are sold to Niman Ranch. We also have 65 stock cows.
I was raised on a dairy farm down the road from where we now live. Being the youngest of nine children, we all had our share of work to do on the farm. We had a huge garden and sweet corn patch that could feed several families. Summertime was spent putting up close to 3,000 small square hay bales in the barn along with straw bales for livestock bedding in late July. We did not have the modern-day tractors or equipment that some farmers had. I told myself when I was young I was never going to marry a farmer because we didn’t have much time for life off the farm … Here I am almost 30 years later farming and enjoying life.
As spring is slowly showing her face, we are preparing for farrowing and calving season. This week, in fact, we should be seeing signs of baby life on our farm. Spring is a refreshing start of new beginnings. That also means long days and lots of concerns. My responsibility is to monitor the farrowing sows. They each have a wooden hut of their own, which my mother used to refer to as pig condos and I call birthing suites. I walk through the sows various times a day, ensuring they are positioned right for birthing, the piglets get their first milk, and the bedding is clean and fresh. Randy and I also keep a close eye on the cows at birthing time. Binoculars are a great investment for monitoring cows during calving season. I do enjoy this, especially when the weather is cooperating. There is no ‘fair weather farmer’ on our farm. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we are out with our pigs and cows.
As farmers, being able to be our own boss is a blessing. When we’re working on the farm, we know it is to benefit your livestock and livelihood. I believe Randy and I raised our children, now 23 and 18, to be hard workers. Growing up and just working on the farm can be fun and rewarding. From morning grunts from our pet sows to bottle-feeding baby calves, there is nothing better than a day on the farm. Being able to watch a beautiful sunrise and a spectacular sunset makes a hard day rewarding.
I sometimes wonder what people who live in town do all the time, they probably have super clean houses and cars, but I feel they miss out on the little things in life – the farm life.
Happy trails, Gina