In our town, a very modest one-bedroom home on a ½ acre recently sold for nearly $300,000. As it turns out, our small farming community is no exceptions to the wild real estate market. Being just one hour north of our state’s capital and five minutes off the main interstate, we are feeling the impacts of rapid growth in rural America.  It has come naturally that more and more people in our life have started asking the question – “Have you thought about selling the farm?”

I believe the question often has no ill intent. Rather, it is packed with genuine curiosity of what it must be like to be sitting on a golden egg; this is real estate in 2022. The truth is, the egg has always been golden to us. The current (and likely temporary) market prices don’t make our farm special. The reason we hold on through years of breaking even – or falling short on payments – is the same reason why we don’t cash out when the pendulum swings in our favor.

For many in the world, success is monetized. While there is no shame in making good financial progress, there are other factors to consider. Like any job, we consider things like work schedule, benefits, quality of life, and company standards. Our daughter has t-ball every Wednesday at a small baseball field in the center of town. These games are highly attended and if you haven’t ever seen a three-year-old play ball, let me tell you it makes life worth living. 

This week, my husband whipped into the parking lot in a sprayer three times the height of all the other parent vehicles. He watched her play an inning, she gave her dad a hug, and waved him off as he climbed back into the equipment. The money from selling our farm simply could not buy the experiences this life gives our family.

Our farm offers us elements of creativity, freedom, and honest work on which a price cannot be placed. Our 60-hour work week shows each time we drive past our crop and see clean rows. The efforts of those we employ are evident when we host our end of season harvest crew dinner and we still enjoy sitting down together to share a meal. Even after months of grueling seasonal laboring.  We’re building relationships here, nurturing children, and gripping onto what is left of a wholesome way of life offered to those who live rurally.

We continue to be asked about selling building lots to family, neighbors, close friends, and strangers. But it doesn’t end there. Our county commissioners, real estate agents, and local developers also approach us about development. Each is unaware of the other’s efforts in encouraging us to cash out. It has started to feel as though staying and farming, is our way of protecting our family, and that is something we will always opt to do. In return, we get all the things that money can’t buy.