Who has the happiest, least stressful, most meaningful job in America?
According to an analysis of more than 13,000 time journals from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey, farmers ranked for having the highest levels of self-reported happiness -- and the lowest levels of self-reported stress along with loggers and foresters.
Being a farmer I can attest to these results. As someone who has had many different jobs, being a farmer has been the most rewarding. Here is my theories as to why that is:
For one, I get to work outside almost every day. By being outside for many hours per week I get to fully experience the elements and the seasons. The rain, the winds, the heat and the cold. I get to know the local wildlife who lives around us. Like the two great blue herons fly overhead in the mornings. Or the geese that swim in our pound. Or the worms, beetles and spiders that live in our soil. I can work barefoot and feel the earth on my feet if I feel like it. And I get to breathe fresh air and work under the sun's light.
Growing nutritious food for your community and stewarding land gives you an immense feeling of purpose. You're not just working for a pay check. You're working for the greater good.
It's tough. You never know what the next challenge will be. There's no set routine. Things are always changing. You have to keep your wits about you. It can be stressful but I think a healthy amount of stress is good for the soul. Too much stress can be detrimental. But too little can become mind numbingly mundane.
I hope information like this shows people that farming is a career worth considering. Our food systems is in desperate need of an update. And without a new generation of young farmers a transition to an ethical and sustainable food system will never happen.