You know you live in a rural area when...

Melissa Hart

The feed mill where my husband works has fantastic customer service. They are a conscientious bunch and care about the people and farms that depend on them to make the correct ration for their livestock.When they couldn’t get in touch with an Amish customer to finalize her order, they tasked my husband with driving out to the farm and asking the owner in person. She was a widow with children and a farm to run after her husband passed.As he turned down her road, he noticed a bunch of buggies at the schoolhouse and surmised something important was happening. As he pulled into the customer’s farmyard he got out and went to the house. When no one answered he went to the barns, calling for anyone who would answer.No one was around so he hopped back in his truck and headed back to the feed mill but as he passed the school again, he wondered if she might be there. Pulling up to the school he got out and went to the door. The room was filled with folks and when he walked in the room, they all fell silent and starred. Sure enough, there was an important meeting happening at the Amish school. Just as he was introducing himself a woman came shouting from the room and pointing, “The cows are out!”Looking out the window, there were a dozen heifers enjoying their few minutes of freedom on the wrong side of the fence and with tails up, they were heading to parts unknown. It was just a few seconds later when several Amish boys raced past my husband and out the door to the rescue. They were made for this kind of adventure, they lived for a reason to run outside and they were all about using their stockman skills to corral the renegade stock.When the commotion settled, my husband was able to visit with the farm owner and confirm her feed order that would be delivered later that day. She was incredibly thankful for his visit and appreciated the attention to her order. As he headed back to the feed mill, he enjoyed watching the teenage boys wrangle the cattle back into their correct pasture.This kind of customer service doesn’t come from a big box store or an online delivery service. It comes from small business owners who are also your friends and neighbors and who take the time to get to know their customers and care enough to take an extra step and literally go the extra mile.Melissa is a farmwife, mom and freelance writer residing on a dairy farm in southern Michigan. She is available for speaking engagements by contacting her at Visit her weblog at