• Nicole Burke

Being a Farm Wife in the 21st Century

Farming has changed a lot throughout history. From strictly hand labor and horses to the invention of tractors and even technology to automatically steer farm equipment using GPS guidance. Advancements and technology have drastically changed the way a farmer works. But essentially the end result and outcome remain the same to provide for their families and also help feed and sustain the world.

As I think about the changes in farming over the decades, I have also wondered how different it looks to be a farm wife in the 21st century compared to our ancestors of old...

I know if you look at it solely based on advancements and technology, our lives look much different today with the inventions of household appliances, even things like running water and electricity, especially in rural areas have changed drastically. Even if you look at the changes in the last decade, farmhouses of the 21st century involve things like iphones, ipads, social media, wifi internet (though that certainly is still not possible in every rural community, even in 2019), tv streaming services, Alexa devices, the list goes on. It’s no surprise that all households in America including on the farm have an abundance of technology and appliances that do make our lives easier today.

But if you put aside all the changes and advancements that make our day-to-day lives on the farm easier, both farming and running a household, I believe farm wives of the 21st century look much the same as farm wives of every decade past. Though our roles and direct involvement in the farm operation look different on every farm across the country, the main role I believe remains the same to support and help our farmers in their passion in anyway we can. Whether that means working an off the farm job to support the family, managing the book and office work, running a tractor, helping with field work or livestock, getting parts, giving rides, running the household, providing meals, caring for children, any of these or more often a combination of these to make our lives on the farm work on a day-to-day basis. Farm wives step up and fill in any role they can to help support the farm, the only difference might be we are sharing it on social media.

The one main difference I can see for farm wives now is the way agriculture is being critiqued and questioned like never before. Through social media and technology, we also have the opportunity to share our lives on the farm like never before. We can educate, negate misconceptions, answer questions, and simply share our lives with the world. I would like to think farm wives of previous generations would also have jumped on the chance to share a few Instagram posts and let the world know what life was like in their little corner of the world.

Being a farm wife in the 21st Century, and also a millennial farm wife at that, may mean my life looks a little different from the traditional picture of a farm wife, but many truths remain the same. I pray for the safety of my farmer and for the future of our farm operation. I provide support and encouragement for my husband in this ever-changing and uncertain world of agriculture. I fill in where I can whenever I am needed on the farm, no matter how small the job. I attempt to provide meals (not always five-star) and keep the household running smoothly. I also work an off the farm job to help provide for our family and this lifestyle we love. I think many farm wives, throughout the last century could relate to that.

What do you think it means to be a farm wife in the 21st Century?

Sincerely xoxo,

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