I don’t think I have ever watched my dad walk from one task on the farm to another. He zips from one end of the yard to the other, taking long quick strides, and is always trying to cram and complete as much work as possible in a day as he possibly can. To do so, it means he needs to move things along as quickly as possible.

Schmitz audrey
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Being a farm kid meant you learned not to dilly-dally really quick; otherwise you were griped at by your parents or made fun of by your siblings for being slow. Filling freestalls with sand often felt like a race to see who could shovel and smooth sand the fastest and most efficiently. The same went for pitching calf hutches, stacking wood, throwing tires and cutting shattercane. Whenever my siblings and I were given a chore to do and would grumble about having to do it, my parents would say, “The quicker it goes, the quicker it gets done.” It is my upbringing on the farm that taught me how to hustle.

A hustler is a hard-working, passionate person who’s determined to succeed. Hustlers go all out every day, pushing past their breaking point. Even when they are exhausted, hustlers never quit doing the hard work, putting in the long hours. I think this describes every farmer and producer to a “T.” It takes a lot of discipline to commit to a single focus and pursue it relentlessly week after week.

Hustlers tend to be engaged and motivated workers. Some take pride in being the fastest, most efficient worker on the team, and some are self-motivated and driven by a competitive nature. Hustlers also value smart work over hard work and have developed and perfected a system. Fast work is usually the end result of a long process of planning and optimization, also known as a “method to the madness.”

Hard work is ingrained in farm kids from a young age, and it is a hard habit to break (Read the article 5 ways to create a buffer against stress and chaos). Like many farmers and farm kids, Devaney learned the hard way that passion for her work and her work ethic can at times be detrimental to her health when she pushes herself too hard for too long. It is necessary to learn and recognize when enough is enough, at least for that day, and to prioritize taking care of ourselves.


Amid the hustle and bustle of chores and jobs, there comes a point where the hustle can cause burnout. That is when people who hustle need to ask themselves, “Can this job get done tomorrow?” and tell themselves, “Yes, it needs done, but it can wait a day.”

With that carved-out time, take the time to de-stress, spend time with family and enjoy a relaxing hobby. You might find it is just what you needed.