Land of the Free Because of the Brave

I recently met a farm family who immigrated to the United States from Belgium. Even though they haven't lived here long, their farm operation is quite large and includes multiple family members and employees.

The Dad asked if I farmed and when I told him of my small grass-based livestock operation, I thought "he must think I am so silly." What he actually said was incredibly profound, and it's something that will stay with me forever.

"That is great. You live in America so you can do so if you wish." I didn't fully understand his response until later after he told the story of why he and his family left Belgium for the United States.

Until 2015, the Belgium government only allowed farmers to produce a certain quantity of product. They could not grow their farm operation unless the government increased their quota. They were barely able to produce enough to be profitable, let alone allow opportunities for the next generation to join the operation. 

So they sold out and moved the entire family to the United States. Now multiple generations work side by side on the same farm with hopes the operation will continue to be passed on to future generations.

When we started our farm operation, I never gave a second thought that I needed government approval (other than the crazy number of inspections, permits, etc.) or that anything other than my own lack of knowledge, skills or ingenuity would limit how far I could expand. I took for granted the freedom we have.

We truly live in the greatest country in the world, and it's because so many brave men and women have fought for us. Many lost their lives to allow us these freedoms.

This Memorial Day I am particularly mindful of this sacrifice and how lucky I am to live in the USA. I encourage everyone to pause for a moment today, and everyday, to remember those who gave their lives so that we can raise our families and live out our dreams.