Law of the Farm

Dec 01, 2009 by Butler2318 Category: Farrier Careers, Horseshoeing 0 comments

There is a tendency in our modern society to look for short cuts in every aspect of life. We want the cheapest product even if quality must be compromised to get it; we want knowledge and skill without effort; we expect minimum effort to reap maximum reward. We learn the techniques of getting by. Only 34% of high school students do as much as six hours of homework a week, yet they expect excellent grades. Our society has lost sight of what Steven Covey calls “The Law of the Farm.”

The law of the farm is that you reap what you sow. If we want a good harvest, we must prepare the ground by tilling it, fertilizing it, planting seeds, and preventing weed growth. We must water the growing plants and protect them from insect and animal pests. We must harvest the crop when it matures and protect it while it is stored until used. The harvest we reap is proportional to what effort and resources we put into preparing and nurturing the crop.

The U. S. Department of Education estimates that by the year 2014 (in just 5 years) 90% of the fastest growing careers will require post-secondary (after high school) education. This means college, trade school, or apprenticeship. Yet, only 38% of high school students choose to go on. And, referring to those that do attend college, only 18% graduate within six years. In other words, about 7% of the population are doing the work of preparation for life, even though the statistics indicate that a college degree is annually worth $23,000 more than a high school diploma. Over a 25 year career that’s more than $500,000. Education pays! You get paid what you are worth, and worth increases with education.

A college degree increases opportunity for employment and individual annual earning power by 50%. Sure higher education costs money – two semesters average $24,143 at a private school or $6,585 at a public one. The average student debt at graduation is $23,186, and 66% of students who graduated in 2008 were in debt. (A good rule is not to borrow more than you expect to earn the first year out.) Nevertheless, average annual incomes, according to the U. S. Department of Education are:

  • No High School Diploma – $22,000
  • High School Diploma – $28,000
  • Associate Degree – $35,000
  • Bachelor’s Degree – $51,000
  • Master’s Degree – $61,000
  • Doctoral Degree – $95,000

Some people shouldn’t go to college. College can be a waste of time and money if it becomes a place to “hang out” until one becomes more mature. A trade school or apprenticeship would better suit the talents and abilities of motivated learners who want to get on with life. But, everyone needs to pursue some sort of educational experience beyond high school.

For 2007, the American Farriers Journal reported an average gross income of $79,585 for American full-time farriers and $24,092 for part-time farriers. While 65% of those attended a farrier school, 59% apprenticed full or part time with a practicing farrier. Farriers on the east coast and the west coast had the highest incomes. Nearly 27% of U.S. farriers grossed over $100,000 annually. (About 33% of the gross goes for expenses.)

Obviously, most people choose not to pursue education beyond high school. Why? Perhaps it’s because of lack of parental guidance. Or, it could be lack of funds, although many have worked their way through school. When you pay for it, you usually get more out of it. Often, people don’t go on due to peer pressure. Or, they lack motivation and self-discipline caused by the distraction created by drugs, television, video games, etc.

We often hear, “There are no masters any more.” A better question might be, “Will there be any in the future?” It seems that most of the masters of their craft, are usually older and ready to retire. Is this because no young people are interested in becoming good at what they choose to do? Or, is because it takes a lifetime to master a craft? Probably it’s both. First, there must be a desire to be a master. Usually, such desire is caught by hanging around a master.

If you sincerely desire to become a master, you must seek out and be taught by one. They are out there. It won’t be convenient. You’ll have to work hard. It will be expensive. Yet, you know you must do it. You must convince your chosen mentor that you are serious about becoming a master. You’ll have to be teachable and accept responsibility for your own education. That’s the Law of the Farm.

  1. Michael KellyDecember 01, 2009   

    Jacob, You have really hit the nail on the head with this article. I just want to thank you and your family for what you do for the equine industry. My wife and I met you and your Mom and Dad at The Farrier Focus in Sulfur Ok. I have many of your videos and books and use P-3 as a daily reference second only to my bible. God bless you and your family

  2. Lloyd PhillipsDecember 01, 2009   

    Education and or hard work pays off!

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