What’s It Like to Raise a Family on the Farm?
Raising a family on a farm has many advantages. My brother, Randall, and his wife, Nora, have raised two children on the farm, and my wife, Michelle, and I are raising three children on the farm. Farmers work long hours and often seven days a week, but we are often home at night and at some meals during the day to visit with our families. All of our children have learned the importance of chores, hard work and the value of money. Many times we take our kids to work to learn about what we do and what is involved in completing a wide range of tasks. For example, as a produce farm, food safety is our No. 1 priority. Raising the next generation on our farm keeps us focused on good agricultural practices that result in safe and healthy produce. We sell what we eat, so our customers get the safest, best quality fruits and vegetables – the same as our children eat every day. We are proud of how our children are becoming mature and responsible – by giving them chores and duties to complete on the farm, we have told them what we expect in a job well done. Besides the family involvement, the farm depends on the current H2A worker program with more than 100 workers coming from Mexico, many returning each year since 1992.
Doug Patterson, a third-generation family farmer, owns and operates Patterson Farm Inc. with his brother, Randall, and their families. They grow 450 acres of fruits and vegetables in the Southern Piedmont region.