The start of the school year is a mixed bag of emotions for a farming mama and her brood. No one wants to see homework start again, but it’s a relief to get back to a routine, and to maybe even have a chance at warm coffee.

But any farm mom knows there’s a little bit of trepidation with sending the kiddos back to school. You cross your fingers, hoping you get the teacher with the farming background, so that when the time comes and your little farmer gets a wild hair to explain to his class what the heifer and the bull did in the pasture this weekend.

Our little Cassidy had his first day of school this week. He got up early to dutifully do his chores (watering the calves and pig) and then got dressed for school – three hours before preschool started at 12:30 p.m. I offered to wash his face.

“Is there black stuff on it?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’ll wash it off though,” I said.


“No, you can’t. It’s grease. I had some stuff to do this morning.” He was right. My cute little preschooler went off to his first day of school with a very light grease smear under his chin.

Meeting with Tucker’s first grade teacher and reading through Tucker’s story journal was a lesson in farm kid perspective too. He narrated (and illustrated) his uncle Brett butchering the mean roosters, the time when the new puppy got into the chicken coop (it went better than expected, and Bob the duck’s limp is almost gone) and the new goats. Our wildly important goals always revolve around getting chores done, and sometimes we use farming examples when answering the question, “How am I a leader at home?”

My favorite funny dairy farm school story is my younger cousin spending the weekend on his uncle’s farm and explaining artificial insemination to a group of enthralled kindergarteners. According to the family legend, his speech ended with the words, “And by golly, that cow was intimidated!”

But if we are looking for the best agvocates out there, look no farther than our tiny farmers. Sharing our everyday lives with teachers and classmates in a world where the average consumer gets further and further removed from production agriculture in ways that only a child can understand. It’s a reminder to all of us to make sure we are practicing ethical and humane practices on our farms and teaching our children to do the same.

As far as agvocating in our house, Cassidy found some old “Got Milk?” badges last year, and both boys spent a week dutifully pinning them to their shirts every morning. Tucker’s class was learning about writing opinion stories last year, and he wrote “In my opinion the best sandwich is cheseburgers. Bekuse my farm makes cheese. My farm makes burgurs. Cheese burgurs are belishus.”  end mark

Heather Moore is a dairy farming mama herself, raising three little boys with her husband, Brandon. The Moore family has a 50-cow dairy and custom feeds 800 head of beef cattle near Maquoketa, Iowa. When she is not chasing around cows and kids, you'll find her volunteering, cooking and very occasionally, sleeping.

PHOTO: Even our youngest farmers can be agvocates. “Cheese burgurs” from the home farm are indeed “belishus.” Photo provided by Heather Moore.