When I was about five years old, my parents bought me my first rabbits. I have no idea what their names were, but before long, I had about 10. However, they weren’t pets; we raised them for their meat.
Yes, there was — and still is — agriculture in San Diego, California, and at age five, I was a little rabbit-raising businesswoman.
Over the years, my “business” and ambition grew. There were always horses, pigs, steers, etc., in the backyard, and it was always the responsibility of my brother and me to take care of them.
When we moved to Illinois for a few years, my brother started working on our cousin’s farm feeding and cleaning a large commercial operation of hogs, bedding down cattle in snow storms, and running tractors and grain trucks back and forth during planting and harvesting.
After we moved back to San Diego, I became known for raising pigs and steers, which I showed in fairs and sold to people for meat. I had one of the top three student livestock projects in the state and by the time I graduated from high school I was financially self-sufficient and had more responsibilities than most people seem to have at age 30.
Growing up on a farm was a great experience for me. That’s why I’m saddened, though not surprised, by the news that the Obama administration is attacking family farms.
The Department of Labor is trying to make it illegal for children to work on family farms that are not owned by their parents. Administration officials say that it’s a safety issue — they’re just doing this “for the children” — but I suspect it’s less about safety than about undermining conservative values. Kids who live on farms know the value of hard work. They understand what it means to fail and keep going. They have a sense of responsibility. They know what it takes to make money and the risks involved. They understand that there are no free rides. They can take care of themselves. They know that action is required and that their families, other families, and even the animals they’re raising are counting on them.
In other words, growing up on a farm inculcates values that liberals fear, like independence. Along with my brothers, I’m a hardline conservative, and that’s no coincidence. People like me don’t make good liberals. We don’t need the government to come take care of us, and by the time we get to college, we’re already too set in our ways to change.
As for my tortuous upbringing in agriculture: I remember the excitement of getting my fair animals every year; I remember the weeks I spent hanging out at the fair with my friends and showing my animals; I remember the times I sat with my grandfather on a porch swing while he took corn sprouts from the field and taught me how they grew, how God’s creation worked, and other life lessons; and I remember spending days with my family members working toward a common purpose and laughing, side by side, enjoying honest living and each other.
Well, we just can’t have that.
Anna Good is a talk radio producer and personality who is currently producing the Mike Slater Show on 760 KFMB in San Diego. She has produced for other known hosts including the nationally syndicated Roger Hedgecock Show and has also been seen on ABC World News.