Who Has It Tougher: Modern Farmers Or The Pioneers?

It’s been a rough winter — cold, snowy and often miserable — in much of the Upper Midwest. That’s presented farmers, ranchers and other agriculturalists with extra challenges.

The difficult winter reminds me of a disagreement I had years ago with a co-worker. She maintained that life is harder for modern Americans than it was for the pioneers. Though the pioneers worked harder physically, the stresses and conflicting pulls and tugs of modern civilization more than offset that, she said.

I respectfully disagreed. Though I certainly understood about the conflicting pulls and tugs of modern life, I thought she underestimated the grueling, grinding daily life of the pioneers. I also thought she didn’t fully appreciate how much stress the pioneers and other early aggies endured.

My tough and hardy great-grandparents, who homesteaded on the North Dakota prairie, faced a particularly tough and long first winter in their new country. Conditions were so bad that they and their neighbors worried seriously whether they would survive.

Yes, modern agriculture can be difficult at times and modern aggies often face serious challenges. But I’d sure rather be a 21st century aggie than a 19th or early 20 century one — especially in a difficult winter like this.

How about you?