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” 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.
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!
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:
- Indiana Family of Farmers – http://www.indianafamilyoffarmers.com/
- Illinois Farm Families – http://www.watchusgrow.org/
- Old Blue Silo – http://www.oldbluesilo.com/2014/03/national-ag-week-2014-farmsmatter.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OldBlueSilo+%28old+blue+silo%29
- Rural Housewives of America – http://ruralhousewives.com/2014/03/24/national-ag-day-and-a-movie-about-wheaties/
- Indiana Ag Day 2014 – http://www.queenoffree.net/2014/03/indiana-ag-day-2014/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QueenOfFree+%28Queen+of+Free%29
- From Fields to Food Trucks: IN Ag Day 2014 – http://chaosisbliss.com/indiana-ag-day-march-25-2014-from-fields-to-food-trucks/
- Farming America – http://farmingamerica.org/category/national-ag-day/
- Ag Day at the Statehouse – http://basilmomma.com/2014/03/agday14-indiana-statehouse-indiana-family-farmers-farmsmatter.html
- U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance: The Food Dialogues – http://www.fooddialogues.com/
- Agriculture Proud on CNN’s Eatocracy – http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2013/03/19/celebrate-national-agriculture-day-and-talk-to-a-farmer/
- Sarah Sums It Up – http://sarahsumsitup.com/…/national-agriculture-day-2014/
- Why Montana is Agriculture Proud – http://mtstockgrowersblog.com/2014/03/24/why-montana-is-agriculture-proud/
- Top Ten Things I’ve Learning in Five Years of Farming – http://www.onthebanksofsquawcreek.com/2014/03/agday-2014-top-10-things-ive-learned.html
- Homestead Hill Farm – http://homesteadhillfarm.blogspot.com/2014/03/hey-there-its-national-ag-day.html
- Why You Should Know the Name Norman Borlaug – http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/03/25/why-you-should-know-the-name-norman-borlaug/
- Happy 100th Birthday Norman Borlaug on National Ag Day – http://www.cornbeanspigskids.blogspot.com/2014/03/happy-100th-birthday-norman-borlaug-on.html#sthash.8kQYYDk6.dpuf
- National FFA: 8 Ag Facts You Probably Didn’t Know – http://nationalffa.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/national-ag-day-8-agriculture-facts-you-probably-didnt-know/
- Flat Hats, Big Loops & Lipstick – http://www.flathatsnlipstick.blogspot.com/
(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.)