Category Archives: Ag Events

United We Grow: Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference

“You are a part of something bigger than you are.”

Those were the inspiring words of Wayne Humphreys during his opening keynote at the 2016 Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference this past weekend. Held in Indianapolis, the conference brought together more than 500 young farmers and Ag professionals like myself to learn from industry experts (and each other) on hot topics within the agriculture industry.

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At the conference I was joined by five other Marion County Young Ag Professionals. On Friday evening we participated in a new volunteer event to help Gleaners Food Bank – “CANstruction”. We teamed up with the rest of District 6 to create a structure out of cans and decorate it for a competition. Attendees would then vote on their favorite during the conference. There were some really creative creations, but I am proud to announce that our district was voted the winning structure! All of the cans were donated to Gleaner’s after the conference.

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Saturday we spent the day attending breakout sessions and recognizing county chapters for their outstanding work during this past year. The breakouts I attended included two round-table discussions on livestock issues and niche markets, as well as a social media session from Brian Scott of The Farmer’s Life on how to effectively communicate your farm story on social media.

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All of these breakouts brought some great discussion, updates on current industry topics, and beneficial facts to take back to our jobs and farms.

To wrap up the conference, we enjoyed some evening entertainment with a live auction, Ag Olympics, and performance by country band, Darlington Road.

Leaving the conference I reflected back on something Wayne Humphrey’s said at the start of the day.

“Agriculture is becoming more complicated. Not only because of new technologies, but also because of the challenge of communicating about them and educating consumers. But we’re doing the best we can with what we have in this day. When something new arises, we find out what it is, we visit, we learn, and we grow together.”

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His message coupled perfectly with the theme of this year’s conference: United We Grow. And that is exactly what we did – we visited, we learned, and we grew to become better agriculturalists.

Thank you to Marion County Farm Bureau for giving us the opportunity to attend and expand our leadership in agriculture.

BoilermakerAg

Boilermakers Continue to Celebrate Agriculture with Purdue Ag Week

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a great week so far! Have you had a chance to catch any of my other posts about Purdue Ag Week?  If so, what did you think? Have you learned anything new about agriculture? If not, you can read about them here, here, here and here. (Then return to the question above and let me know if you learned anything new.) 🙂

Learning new things about agriculture is one of the main goals of Purdue Ag Week, and the ag students are doing a great job of educating their peers about all areas of agriculture. One way they are doing this is by daily agriculture quizzes. Each day members of the Ag Week Task Force have been giving away prizes when students take a quiz about agriculture. This year, they are having students take the quiz (which features different questions each day) on their phones so they can better record the scores. Once students are done with the quiz, a Task Force member will hand them an answer sheet and go over the answers with them, along with a fun prize!

Want to test out your knowledge of agriculture? Give the quizzes a try for yourself! Here is the link to Thursday’s quiz. Answers to the questions will be posted on the Purdue Ag Week Facebook page so check back at the end of the day to see how you did! (I’ll also add the link on here after they have been released.)

In addition to the daily ag quizzes there have been some awesome events so far, with even more in store for Thursday and Friday.

Purdue Ag Week - Thursday

Thursday is the ever-popular “Pet A (Goat) Kid” event, along with a diversity in agriculture session from the MANNRS Club, a “Truth or Myth” Ice Cream session from the Food Science Club, mini tractor pulls and various other club events throughout Memorial Mall.

Thursday Instagram Challenge: Take a selfie with a farm animal featured during Ag Week events. Then, post it to your Instagram account along with the hashtags #mAGnifyPurdue and #mAGnifyChallenge and you’ll be entered to win a prize!

Celebration of Agriculture: 8 – 10 p.m. (Memorial Mall)
Thursday night will be a Celebration of Agriculture, a social event for the entire Purdue student body, where students can join together in community to continue conversations about agriculture. They will have free pork burgers along with other food, games and music. The goal for this event is to create an opportunity to build a sense of community within the College of Ag and with students from other colleges, too!

Celebration of Ag Social

To wrap up the week, there will be three club events on Friday from the Cattleman’s Club, Ag Business Club and IAAE. As well as another daily ag quiz and Instagram challenge!

Purdue Ag Week - Friday

Friday Daily Ag Quiz: See just how much you know about agriculture with the final daily quiz. To give it a try, click here. Then head over to the Purdue Ag Week Facebook page to find out how you did. (As mentioned above, I will post the link to these answers as well after they are released.)

Friday Instagram Challenge: “Favorite Photo Friday” – Post a picture of your favorite Ag Week memory and make sure to include the hashtags #mAGnifyPurdue or #mAGnifyChallenge.

 


Continuing the Conversation After Ag Week:
Purdue Ag Week will be coming to a close after Friday, but it is my hope that the conversation about agriculture will continue throughout the year. Agriculture, and the farmers and ranchers who dedicate their lives to growing our food, are so incredibly important to all of us and we shouldn’t take them for granted. I encourage you to join me in thanking farmers and appreciating our country’s advances in agriculture by following some of these agriculture causes:

Congrats to all of my fellow Boilermakers on a successful Ag Week!

 

BoilermakerAg

 

 

 

 

Purdue Ag Week: Wednesday – Farmer’s Breakfast and Oxfam Hunger Banquet

When you go to the grocery store to buy bread, apples, milk, eggs, cereal, cheese, spinach, etc., have you ever thought about how much of the price goes back to the farmer?

Probably not. The amount might surprise you.

Did you know that for every dollar spent on food in America, farmers only receive 12 cents back? 12 cents! The other 88 cents goes to packaging, food processing, transportation, retail trade, food services, energy to keep goods cool, and finance and insurance.

Farmer’s Breakfast: 9 – 11 a.m. (Class of 1950 Building)
This is another misconception that Purdue Ag students are trying to bring awareness to during Purdue Ag Week. Many people think they are paying a lot for food while farmers get rich off the profits. But in reality, farmers put a lot of time, effort and resources into growing a product they don’t end up getting much financial return on.

To demonstrate this, students from the Ag Communicators of Tomorrow and Collegiate 4-H are holding a Farmer’s Breakfast. During this event, students will receive a complete breakfast (that would normally cost them $2.00) for only 25 cents. This amount demonstrates how much the farmer would earn back from the cost of that meal.

The fact that farmers do so much work for not much in return just shows how much passion they have for what they do. Farming is truly a lifestyle and you can’t just be in farming for the money. Because on average, you won’t make a ton. Farmers simply do it for the satisfaction of helping feed the world.

So next time you see a farmer, give them a thank you for their hard work and selflessness. They deserve it.

 

Oxfam America Hunger Banquet: 6 – 9 p.m. (PMU Faculty Lounges) – RSVP Required
Also on Wednesday, Ag Week Task Force will be hosting 100 students for an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet where students will get a firsthand experience with the effects of global hunger and listen to a keynote address from Libby Crimmings of the World Food Prize.

But this isn’t just your normal dinner banquet. At an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, the place where you sit, and the meal that you eat, are determined by the luck of the draw—just as in real life some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty.

hunger banquetPhoto: Josh Kuroda – http://www.oxfamamerica.org/

When guests arrive, they draw tickets at random that assign each to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier—based on the latest statistics about the number of people living in poverty. Each income level receives a corresponding meal. The 20 percent in the high-income tier are served a sumptuous meal; the 30 percent in the middle-income section eat a simple meal of rice and beans; and the 50 percent in the low-income tier help themselves to small portions of rice and water.

That would give you a big dose of reality, wouldn’t it?

A master of ceremonies reads a script to guide participants through the interactive event. Finally, all guests are invited to share their thoughts after the meal and to take action to right the wrong of poverty.

I had never heard of this experience before, but I think it is such a creative way to bring awareness to hunger and poverty. Because as with as many resources as we have in this world, hunger and poverty shouldn’t be something people should have to worry about.

If you’re at Purdue and would like to attend the Hunger Banquet, sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b4fabae2ca4fe3-oxfam

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Ag Week is only at the half way point, and I just have to say how impressed and proud I am to see students putting together all of these excellent events to help bring awareness to the various parts of agriculture.

I can’t wait to see the rest of the things they have in store!

Tomorrow I will be sharing about Ag Week events for Thursday and Friday. Thursday is the ever-popular “Pet A (Goat) Kid” event, along with mini tractor pulls and various other club events. Thursday night will be a Celebration of Agriculture, a social event where students can join together in community to continue conversations about agriculture. And wrapping up the week on Friday will be three club events from the Cattleman’s Club, Ag Business Club and IAAE.

Happy Ag Week!

 

BoilermakerAg

Purdue Ag Week Continues: Kiss a Calf, Facts on GMOs, and Hammer Down Hunger

Hello everyone! How was your Monday? Mine was fine, but definitely not as exciting as what was happening on Purdue’s campus for Purdue Ag Week!

Milk Monday was once again a success, with hundreds of students enjoying free grilled cheese and milk while learning some facts about dairy products. Check out these great Milk Monday photos from Purdue student and fellow blogger, Samuel at Life of a Future Farmer!

MILK MONDAY 2015

Boilermakers ended their Monday with the privilege of listening to Dairy Carrie and Brian of The Farmer’s Life share about life on the farm.

Today, Ag Week continues with a variety of engaging events.

Purdue Ag Week - Tuesday

Kiss A Calf: 10 a.m – 3 p.m. (Memorial Mall)
Kicking off the day is Heifer International’s new event. For a small donation ($1) which will go to Heifer’s global ag efforts, students can love on a little calf!

Getting to give these little calves a smooch is adorable, but the cause these donations will go to is the real star of this event. Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

Founder of Heifer International, Dan West, was a farmer from the American Midwest who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary refugees once a day was not enough. And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?

That “teach a man to fish” philosophy is what drove West to found Heifer International. And now, nearly 70 years later, that philosophy still inspires their work to end world hunger and poverty throughout the world once and for all. They empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but their approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.

“For generations, we have provided resources and training for struggling small-scale farmers in order to give them a chance to change their circumstances.” – Heifer International

Ag Policy and GMOs: 10 a.m – 3 p.m. (Memorial Mall)
Also in Memorial Mall, will be the Agronomy Club and ASAP discussing Ag Policy and GMOs. These are both hot topics in the agricultural industry that most people don’t know much about.

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are simply the process of intentionally making a copy of a gene for a desired trait from one plant or organism, and using it in another plant. This process is used to select valuable traits such as reduced yield loss or crop damage from weeds, diseases, and insects, as well as from extreme weather conditions, such as drought.

There are several misconceptions around GMOs that these students will strive to clear up. One is that GMOs are bad for our environment because the farmers that grow them spray huge amounts of pesticides. But in fact, GMOs actually reduce the impact of agriculture on their environment and their costs — by applying pesticides in more precise ways, for example.

Another misconception is that people think all crops are now being genetically modified. This isn’t true either. Did you know there are currently only eight crops commercially available from GMO seeds in the US? They are corn (field and sweet), soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, and squash.

A lot of the crops that people think are GMOs are actually hybrids. (For example, a honeycrisp apple is a hybrid, not a GMO.) A hybrid produce is created when two different varieties of a fruit or vegetable, or two different types of a fruit or vegetable, are cross-bred with each other. This is not the same thing as a GMO where a selected trait has been inserted into a plant’s DNA.

To learn more about GMOs, I encourage you to visit www.GMOAnswers.com.

 

Hammer Down Hunger 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Memorial Mall)
The final event of the day will be the second annual “Hammer Down Hunger” meal packing event. Last year, students from Ag Week packed over 57,000 meals to send to underprivileged children in Haiti. This year, their goal is to pack 70,000 meals!

hammer down hunger2014 Hammer Down Hunger event

I don’t think they’ll have a problem hitting their goal. The Ag Week Task Force told me that the shifts for this event are already filled by around 500 students (from all over campus) willing to volunteer! How awesome!

I hope everyone has fun at all of the events today! I’d love to hear if you get the chance to attend any of them! If you post any photos or updates on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #mAGnifyPurdue so I can see how the events are going.

Also, be sure to check back again tomorrow for Wednesday’s events. One important event I’m looking forward to sharing with you is the Farmer’s Breakfast from Ag Communicators of Tomorrow and Collegiate 4-H! This unique event will be providing students with a complete breakfast meal for only $0.25 – check back tomorrow to learn the meaning behind this certain price!

Happy Purdue Ag Week!

BoilermakerAg

Purdue Ag Week: Milk Monday and Dairy Carrie

Purdue Ag Week has officially begun! As I mentioned in my last post, Purdue Ag Week is a campus-wide initiative at Purdue University that encourages meaningful peer-to-peer conversations about agriculture. Over 25 College of Agriculture student clubs are working to inspire others to See What Ag Gives by hosting interactive events this week across campus.

Purdue’s Collegiate FFA kicked off the week’s festivities with a Farmer 5K Run/Walk to raise awareness about agriculture and the unfortunate reality of food insecurity. It was a success! The event raised $720 for a new Food Finders Food Bank school pantry that will help feed school children during the summer and help battle food insecurity in the Lafayette area. Great work everyone!

Milk Monday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Memorial Mall)
The next event on the schedule is Milk Monday! Hosted by the Purdue Dairy Club, Milk Monday highlights facts about the dairy industry and promotes the nutritional benefits of dairy products by providing students with free grilled cheese sandwiches. The Dairy Club plans to give out 1,000 grilled cheese sandwiches on Memorial Mall around lunchtime. (Seriously, who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese? Can you guys deliver one to my office?)

This event always holds a special place in my heart, because when I was a senior at Purdue, we (Ag Communicators of Tomorrow) partnered with the Dairy Club to hold the very first Milk Monday as part of Grand Alternative Week! It’s so great to see this tradition continue as part of Ag Week and spreading even more awareness for the dairy industry.

Milk Monday - chelsea

Milk Monday - group

Oh and if you stop by, be sure to snap a picture of your Milk Monday experience and enter the #mAGnifyPurdue Instagram challenge! (More details below.)

Dairy Carrie: 4 p.m. (Krannert Auditorium)
Then, keeping with the dairy theme for the day, the Dairy Club is bringing in blogger Dairy Carrie to speak at 4 p.m. in the Krannert Auditorium! If you aren’t familiar with Carrie, she and her husband farm with his parents on their 100 cow dairy farm in southern Wisconsin. She writes about agriculture and her life as a dairy farmer on her blog, The Adventures of Dairy Carrie.

Purdue Ag Week - Dairy Carrie Ad

As part of Ag Week, Carrie will be sharing her agriculture story and giving students the chance to ask questions and learn more about what life is like on a dairy farm. And from what I know of Carrie, she’s pretty funny, so I’m sure you’ll also get a few laughs along with it.

I really wish I was in town to attend this event, because Carrie is a great blogger and has wonderful life and on-farm experiences to share with everyone. If you’re going to be in town, I really encourage you to attend her session! If, not you can learn more about her by heading over to her blog or Facebook page.

Ag Week Instagram Challenge
Another neat feature of Ag Week is their new Instagram challenge! Each day they will be having a contest on Instagram featuring a different challenge that coordinates with that day’s events. With each contest, you simply post a picture on Instagram that meets the challenge and enter by using the hashtags #mAGnifyPurdue or #mAGnifyChallenge.

Monday’s Challenge – Post a photo sharing about your experience at Milk Monday!

It’s only the second day of Ag Week and they already have a lot of great things happening! The events continue tomorrow with Heifer International’s Kiss a Calf, Agronomy Club and ASAP’s sessions on Ag Policy and GMOs, and the Hammer Down Hunger meal packing event. Check back tomorrow to learn more!

Happy Purdue Ag Week!

BoilermakerAg

mAGnify: A Closer Look at Agriculture with Purdue Ag Week

With the majority of our population being three generations removed from the farm, knowledge of how food is grown and where it comes from is decreasing with each generation.

But more recently, consumers are looking to know more about what is in their favorite foods and how they are grown. So in an effort to help increase awareness about agriculture, students from Purdue University created Purdue Ag Week.

Purdue Ag WeekIn its fourth year, Ag Week is a student-organized event that aims to show the campus of Purdue what agriculture gives. The Purdue Ag Task Force, a Purdue student organization, leads the effort and aspires to make Ag Week an event where the various facets of local, national and international agriculture are understood and celebrated.

The theme of this year’s Purdue Ag Week (April 12-17) is mAGnify: A Closer Look at Agriculture. Throughout the week, more than 20 student clubs and organizations will be hosting interactive events that highlight different aspects about agriculture. The goal of these events will be to give students a closer look at how farmers, ranchers and the agricultural industry produces the food, fiber and fuel that are so vital to all of us.

In addition, members at the Ag Task Force booth on Memorial Mall will be giving away t-shirts, stress balls and koozies when students take a quiz about agriculture. This year, they are having students take the quiz (which features different questions each day) on their phones to emphasize technology and better record the scores. Once students are done with the quiz, Ag Task Force members will discuss the answers with them and share additional facts about agriculture.

I realize many of you might not be able to physically attend if you are in different parts of the state or country, but I still wanted to help spread the word about this awesome event and pass along the important facts being shared at the various events.

This week, I will be publishing a series of posts highlighting the various Ag Week events that will be taking place. Be sure to check back to see all of the things they have in store!

SUNDAY, APRIL 12
Kicking off this year’s Ag Week will be Collegiate FFA’s Farmer 5K! In this farmer-themed run/walk, students are inviting runners to grab their bibs, flannel, and other farm gear to raise money for the Food Finders Twin Lakes Student Food Pantry. This race is aimed at raising awareness of the agricultural industry and supporting efforts to help end food insecurity.

Did you know that one in six Americans experience hunger or food insecurity? This combined with the fact that farmers will have to produce an estimated 70% more food by 2050 in order to meet the rising world population demand is alarming.

During the 5K, runners will blaze past agriculture facts as they complete the course, learning about different food, farms, and farmers around every turn. The race begins at 9:30 a.m., with on-site registration and packet pick-up taking place from 8:00am to 30 minutes before the race at the Purdue Engineering Fountain. All runners and walkers must be registered. If you’re interested in participating, or even just watching, you can find all the details on their Farmer 5K website.

Farmer 5KAg week continues on Monday April 13 with the Purdue Dairy Club’s Milk Monday event and a presentation by dairy farmer and blogger, Dairy Carrie! Check back tomorrow to learn more about these fun and exciting events. Also, don’t forget to follow along on social media by using the hashtag #mAGnifyPurdue and following @PurdueAgWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Happy Ag Week!

 

BoilermakerAg

Create Great Moments More Often

This past weekend, I joined my fellow Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmers for our annual leadership conference in Indianapolis.

I always enjoy attending this conference because I get to visit with friends from all across the state, learn more about the latest topics in agriculture, and hear some great messages from the keynote speakers.

In the four years that I’ve attended this conference, I always come away with some great inspiration. But there was something especially inspiring during this year’s keynote presentation from Kelly Barnes.

Kelly was born and raised on a small family farm in eastern Oklahoma and his message is centered around the stories, life lessons, and virtues he learned growing up.

His presentation was “Create Great Moments More Often” and what came from it was some very important reminders that I think we all should live by.

Three Ways to Create Great Moments

1. Be present. Be in the moment.
Truly be there. Whether it’s in class, your career, or with your family, take every opportunity to be engaged in what you’re doing. And also truly listen. I’ve learned over the years that you can always learn something from every situation. But if you’re not truly “present” you might miss something significant. So join me in putting those phones and computers down sometimes and just be present.

2. Appreciate the little things. Because sometimes they are all we get.
Never neglect the little things. I can’t always remember every conversation I’ve had with my parents or grandparents, but the unexpected care package Mom sent me during finals at school, the good luck letter Dad wrote me when I tried out for the Purdue softball team, the time my Grandpa carried me all the way back from the creek on his shoulders because I didn’t wear shoes and our 4-wheeler broke down, or the hand-written cards I get in the mail from my Grandma… THOSE things make the biggest impact.

“The thought does count, but it’s the action that makes the difference.”

Kelly also shared something that I learned to live by from a young age by playing sports. You can’t achieve things by cutting corners. Always catch the call with two hands. Don’t step inside the court when running laps. And run hard all the way through the base. Those lessons relate to every aspect of our lives whether you play sports or not.

3. Pack an extra sandwich.
At first, this sounded silly. But then Kelly told us about this story about his daughter’s classmate and it touched my heart.

Kelly’s daughter and his neighbor’s daughter are in the same pre-school class. Every Friday they take a field trip and have to bring their lunch. The night before the field trip, his neighbor was packing her daughter’s lunch when her daughter asked if she could pack an extra sandwich. Her mom kindly explained… “No, you have plenty. We don’t waste food.” So the daughter when off without a word. The next week she asked again, “Can you pack an extra sandwich?” And her mom said again, “No, you have plenty, it’s not good to waste food.” And the daughter nodded and went on with her evening again.

Then the next week came around and her daughter asked a third time if her mom could pack an extra sandwich. This time the mom asked more and her daughter explained how every Friday a little boy in her class comes and asks if she is going to eat the rest of her sandwich. Not because he is a bully. Because he didn’t have food of his own to eat.

When his neighbor finished telling Kelly this story, he talked about it with his wife and wanted to do something to help. He didn’t know the situation or didn’t want to overstep boundaries but knew he couldn’t sit back and do nothing. His wife said, “It’s simple. We’re going to pack an extra sandwich.”

I was fighting back tears at this point. What a heart wrenching story. And sadly, it’s a story that is true for too many people.

So what did Kelly suggest we need to do when we see these moments in our lives?

Create great moments for other people.
Be “we focused” in a “me focused” world.
Look for the things that need to be done.

Kelly ended his talk with this simple rule that we as a population need to get back to living by.

BE TO GET.

Be a friend to get a friend.
Be involved to get something out of it.
Be willing to fail to get success.
Be willing to do the small things to get the big things.
Be willing to love to get love.
Be positive to get that positive life.

Because if you be to get, you’ll get to be.

I hope this can serve as an inspiration to you as it did to me. I want to end by giving a HUGE thank you to Kelly for sharing these great messages and reminding us of what the important things are in life. Also, thank you to the Indiana Farm Bureau and Young Farmers Committee for bringing Kelly to speak and putting on a wonderful leadership convention. Go out and make some great moments everyone!

BoilermakerAg

Farmland: Meet America’s Next Generation of Farmers

Did you know that fewer than 1 percent of our population of 317 million are farmers? At one time, it was common for everyone to grow their own food. But with the immense amount of growth of our country has experienced, most Americans are now five generations removed from the farm. This means less people growing our food, and less land to grow it on, but that doesn’t mean there is any less care that goes into it.

Being five generations removed from the farm, a huge disconnect has developed between the farmer and the consumer. So much so, in some cases, that people couldn’t even tell you where their food comes from aside from in the grocery store. When in reality, about 90 percent of the food grown in America comes from a family farm.

It really saddens and frustrates me to see this happen, which is one of the reasons why I became an ag communicator. One of my greatest passions is helping to educate people where their food comes from and how it’s grown. But with anti-ag groups presenting misinformation, it’s sometimes hard to give people a firsthand look into what it is REALLY like on the farms across America. That is why I am so excited to share with you the new documentary, Farmland!

farmland poster

Released in theaters today, Farmland lets you step inside the world of farming and take an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their ‘20s, all of whom are now responsible for running their farm and producing the food we all depend on.

As the trailer said, “When people see farmers, they think GMOs, organic, certified organic, all natural, treading an animal humanely” and all of the other buzz words that the media reports on, but what they don’t think about is that the farmer growing their food is a regular person just like you and me. And farming isn’t just a job to them, it’s their livelihood. Their lives depend on ensuring that their crops and/or livestock are healthy or nutritious. Not only because they feed them to their own family, but because hundreds and thousands of people are depending on them. To the outside eye, making sure that happens might look easy.  But from firsthand experience, I can tell you that farming is anything but.

“We put so much time and so much effort into making something happen, when it finally does happen, we’re pretty proud of it.” – Farmland.

Thanks to the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Indiana Farm Bureau, and BASF, I had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the movie and I absolutely loved it! I’m not sure if it was because it was such a great representation of the different areas of farming and what all it takes to be grow the food we all depend on, or because of how proud it made me feel to be a part of agriculture, but I truly hope that everyone takes the time to watch it! (Oh and maybe bring a tissue just in case, as I may have gotten a little tear-y eyed at the end.)

Farmland and meeting Leighton Cooley

We got to meet one of the farmers from the movie, Leighton Cooley! A fourth generation poultry farmer, Leighton operates four farms in georgia with his father. In addition to chickens, he also has a cow-calf operation and grows hay. Leighton and his wife have two sons.

Farmland will be released in select theaters across the country starting TODAY! Please check www.FarmlandFilm.com for screening dates and locations. In Indiana, it will be showing at the Landmark Keystone Theater in Indianapolis.

If you don’t see a theater near you, their Facebook page said to send them a message with your email address and they’ll add you to the list to receive updates about the digital download and DVD release of the film.

Please do me, and yourself, a favor and go see this film! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Chelsea

AGtivities on Campus – Purdue Ag Week 2014

As I write this, I am sitting on the couch watching the NCAA March Madness championship game (well listening and glancing over my laptop), but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to tell you about the awesome #AGtivities that are happening at my Alma mater this week.

Students from the Purdue College of Agriculture are hosting Purdue Ag Week on campus! Ag Week is a student-organized event at Purdue University that aims to show the campus what agriculture gives. The Purdue Ag Task Force, a Purdue student organization, leads the event and aspires to make Purdue Ag Week an event where the various facets of local, national and international agriculture are understood and celebrated.

imagine a world without agriculture

This year’s theme is “ImAGine a World without Agriculture.” There will be over 25 different events allowing students to learn about various aspects of agriculture. Each event is organized by a different College of Agriculture group.

Events kicked off on Sunday with the Farmer 5k to raise money for Food Finders Food Bank, and a private screening of the movie, Farmland, which highlights the lives of six young farmers and the risks they face every day to run their own farms. I have also had the opportunity to see this movie, which hits theaters May 1, and I really hope you guys check it out at your local theater (but that’s a separate blog post all in itself).

Monday’s list of “AGtivities” included a SSC table where students could learn about sustainable agriculture, a Food Science – the Missing Link event which featured how ice cream is made and handed out samples to students, and an event that has a special place in my heart, Milk Monday!

When I was at Purdue, my club, Ag Communicators of Tomorrow, teamed up with Dairy Club to create Milk Monday as part of “Grand Alternative” events for Grand Prix week. In partnership with Dairy Promotions of Indiana, we handed out free grilled cheese and milk to students as a way to promote the benefits of milk and the dairy industry.

Since then, the event has been continued each year by Purdue Dairy Club and was held today as part of Purdue Ag Week.

Check out their recap from today’s Milk Monday festivities!

Purdue Ag Week is off to a great start and still has plenty of great events left, so be sure to check them out if you’re around campus this week!

purdue ag week

I know not all of you will be able to make it to campus, so if you are out of town like me, but still want to learn more and keep up with Ag Week AGtivities, be sure to Like Purdue Ag Week on Facebook and follow @PurdueAgWeek on Twitter!

Keep up the great work, Purdue ag students! I’ll be here cheering you on with my Milk Monday shirt!

MilkMonday shirt

 

Caring for the Caretakers – Celebrating Farmers on National Ag Day

Farmers are caretakers. They care for their crops, to ensure they’re the highest quality products for consumers; their animals, to help them grow healthy and protect them from the elements; their equipment, to ensure that it runs correctly to get the job done; their family, to provide for them, love them, and help guide them in their lives; and also for the land, to ensure that it is around for many generations to come.

I was reading a blog where the author was talking about her husband, a dairy farmer, who when his alarm goes off at 4 a.m. each morning, doesn’t hit snooze like the majority of people (myself included some mornings), but instead, “jumps up, splashes water on his face, gets dressed, laces up his work boots, and heads out the door to the barn.”

Imagine doing that, every day of the year. No sleeping in, no sick days, no weather delays…4 a.m. sharp. His cows depend on him, and as a farmer, there’s no option of quitting or letting them down.

If you’re asking yourself why someone would want to do that, she answers it in her very next line. “It’s simple—dairy farmers like Scott work relentlessly hard 365 days a year. Deep within their hearts and souls, they genuinely care for their land, for their cattle and for their family.”

And she is exactly right. Her husband doesn’t think about himself, or how tired be may be…his cows, and his farm, are his first priority. They don’t need us to care for them, they don’t ask for recognition… but I think they deserve it!

What they’re doing is so vital to our society, but there have been many times where they don’t always get the recognition and “care” that they deserve in return. The agriculture community cares about farmers, but we want others to join us too!

This week we are celebrating National Ag Week, with Tuesday, March 25, being National Ag Day. Sponsored by the Agriculture Council for America, it’s a day to recognize and celebrate agriculture and the farmers who keep the industry going.

In our country, we are so blessed to have abundant, quality, accessible and affordable food, yet it isn’t always appreciated. Being 3-4 generations removed from the farm, consumers aren’t as informed about where their food comes from and all of the work and “care” that goes into it from farmers all across America.

This isn’t because farmers try to hide things from the public, or don’t want people to know about their food. It’s exactly the opposite! If you talk to a farmer, sharing their knowledge with others is something they actually enjoy doing.

Unfortunately though, in the last couple of years, all that’s been heard, or at least publicized about agriculture on the internet and news publications, are the “issues”. Most of the time, what reaches the public is misinformation, and overly emotionalized exaggerations from anti-ag groups with large marketing budgets, not from the true source, the farmer.

But in the last year, which was actually named the Year of the Farmer, the agriculture community and farmers have made great strides in trying to better connect with consumers to tell their stories and educate people about where their food comes from. As a member of the agriculture community and having grown up around farming, I am so thrilled to see agriculture be highlighted and honored on the national level.

Here are just a few examples:

So God Made a Farmer

So God Made a Farmer” was the name given to a speech given by the radio broadcaster Paul Harvey at a 1978 FFA convention. The speech was used in a commercial by Dodge Ram during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVII in honor of farmers. Also, in support of farming, Dodge agreed to donated money for each view of the video, totaling $1,000,000, to the FFA Foundation. This goal was reached in less than five days.

The Great American Wheat Harvest

The Great American Wheat Harvest is a documentary film that will tell the story of hard-working custom harvesters who travel from the heart of Texas to the Canadian border harvesting the wheat that feeds our Great Country and the World. This film is being produced by award-winning Director and Producer, Conrad Weaver. It shares the challenges that are now threatening that way of life passed on from generation from generation. Much has changed and from a historical perspective. It is important to document the lifestyle and heritage before it is lost. The Great American Wheat Harvest Movie is the behind-the-scenes look and tribute to those working daily to produce our food and those gathering the harvest.

Farmland the Movie -I get to attend a screening of this movie on Thursday and I’m can’t wait!

Through this film from award-winning director, James Moll, you’ll step inside the world of farming for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers. You’ll learn about their high risk jobs and the passion for a way of life that’s been passed down from generation to generation.

Why I Farm

This year, in honor of all farmers, Beck’s Hybrids has started a movement. A movement that tells the story of the American farmer. The “Why I Farm” movement pays tribute to farmers for their hard work, dedication, and passion to a job that they do selflessly, seven days a week. Through video, 16 Midwest farmers have shared their farming stories and the emotion and passion they have for what they do is inspiring. The video above is one of my favorites from their campaign!

Each of these videos highlight different aspects of farming and agriculture, but they have one common theme, they show that farmers really do CARE about what they do and CARE about the quality of their products.

During Ag Week, I want to encourage you to make more of an effort to learn and understand how food and fiber products are produced. But don’t just rely on searching Google! Get out there and talk to farmers, your local Farm Bureau, and agriculture organizations in your area. And join in on your local Ag Day celebrations!

For starters, if you’re in the downtown Indy area, stop by the state house and join Indiana’s Family of Farmers in their Ag Day Celebration! IFOF Ag Day Flyer

From watching and learning from my grandpa and family on the dairy farm, to interviewing and talking with farmers on a daily basis, I have witnessed that farmers truly are caretakers.

Please join me in expressing care for farmers and thanking them…not only on National Ag Day, but every day throughout the year, as they do for us.

For more on National Ag Week, National Ag Day Agriculture and Farmers, check out the links below:

 

(Header image graphic by BoilermakerAg.com – please give proper photo credits if shared and do not crop out logo. Thank you – share away! Photos for this graphic provided by Agriculture Council of America and Summerhouse Studios Photography.)

 

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