Mistakes have been an opportunity to learn from failure. “Some of the best skills were learned from mistakes,” Matthew said. Examples he cited included “forgetting to unhook a hose or move a block from under a tire and running it over.” Other errors can result in financial loss.
“Running tractors or farm equipment can be dangerous,” he said. “I’ve learned to take my time with no shortcuts and alway think through what I’m doing.”
His work on the farm has also taught Matthew a strong work ethic through long hours completing jobs. “Long hours make farmers realize that it is a life you live, not a job you do. It’s a job you love,” he said. New challenges have also required patience, something his grandfather has taught him. Matthew has learned to fix equipment and calculate a crop’s seed and fertilizer requirements for optimal harvest. “He [his Papa] has taught me so much . . . he’s the first person I ask to come help when I am doing things around the farm.”
His family has been the greatest influence on Matthew becoming a farmer. He relishes the time spent there, from “waking up to see the barns and land to watching the sunset over the trees.” Matthew said he always enjoys harvest time. “But, it’s not just the combines roaring through the fields,” he said. During harvest, the “family comes together” as they work in the fields. The rest of the family “always finds a way to the field to see us work and find out what the crop is looking like,” he said.
HIs friends are also important to Matthew. “Making memories is something you can never get too much of in life,” he said. They have worked together in the shop and in the fields, creating memories when, for example, they “lost a tree trunk in the middle of the road because we didn’t believe in straps.”
They also hunt together during every season. “When it’s snowing or freezing, you realize that the guy sitting beside you is your best friend for waking up at 4:30 a.m. to walk in chest-deep cold water for a duck,” he said. During bow season, Matthew said he enjoys the time “being up a tree at the beginning of fall . . . when you pull the bow back and let the arrow fly.” Later, he and his friends gather at the shop after a day of hunting. “It brings everyone back together,” he said.
Matthew expressed his gratitude for the people who have helped him prepare for a successful vocation in farming. “I’m thankful every day,” he said, “for the lessons learned through good and bad times with farm, family, and friends.”