We’ve hit the time of the year when we really start to understand the movie Groundhog Day. By that I mean that we’re living in a constant state of washing, fixing, and hauling. Out of all the months of farming, I’d say, for strictly grain farmers at least, that February is the hardest month of them all. It’s not the one with the longest hours or the hardest days, but it’s definitely the one with the hours and days that seem the longest.

You see, the rest of the year is filled with fixing tile, planting, spraying, pulling the weeds that spraying didn’t kill, and harvesting, but February? Well, February is filled with shop work. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I hate shop work.

Everyone loves getting to head to the field whether it be to fix tile, spread fertilizer, or put on anhydrous ammonia because you’re outside and one step closer to putting seed in the ground. It keeps you busy and leaves you with the feeling that only a good day’s work can give you.

Everyone loves planting, and even if they don’t love it because it stresses them out (I’m talking about me right there if you couldn’t tell), it’s still a satisfying and fulfilling feeling when the job is done. The days are long, but they leave you with a feeling of accomplishment that the seeds you planted will grow into a crop you’ll be able to harvest in a few months’ time.

I won’t say everyone loves spraying because that would be a lie, but spending the summer spraying gives you the opportunity to assess how your crop is doing. The days may still be long during these summer months, but they give you a little bit more freedom than planting and harvest do at the very least.

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Everyone loves harvest. I’d bet my life savings that for ninety percent of farmers, harvest is their favorite time of year. It’s the chance to see just what an entire year’s work has earned them, a chance to see a year’s worth of prayers answered.

But no one seems to love the winter months quite as much as the rest of the year. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who struggles with anything involving mechanics and fixing things, I completely understand why. It’s the time of year I dread the most because I’m not able to be outside doing what I’m actually capable of doing, but it’s honestly one of the most important times of the year.

It gets a lot of hate, but in all actuality, this time of year may be the most important of them all. It’s these long winter months patiently (or impatiently in my case) awaiting warm enough weather to head to the field when all the important work gets done. You see, working on fixing all the equipment and getting it ready for the coming year keeps things running smoothly for all of the fun parts. Getting the planters finely tuned now keeps those seeds going into the ground without issue or delay come April and May.

February is our reminder that the time spent preparing for the busy season is just as crucial, if not more important, than the busy season, and I think that’s something everyone can reflect on even if they’re not involved in the agriculture industry. It’s the time and hard work put into making something a possibility that matters more than the actual event most of the time, and that effort is something worth appreciating.