One of the biggest problems between agriculture and consumers these days is the disconnect between myth and reality. There are a lot of accusations about "big ag" and those hard-working family farmers that struggle against the elements and face the bank every year.
The sad thing is, many of the people that agricultural nay-sayers are accusing of being "big ag" are those very people. They're the small family operations, fighting tooth and nail to make a living and keep the farm. They're the men and women trying to keep traditions alive while grasping for new, better technology. They're the people dedicated to proper stewardship of their animals and land, to bring the world the products it needs.
The farm I'm most familiar with is 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat. To someone outside of farming, that sounds massive. It sounds mechanized and alien. To those who know mass-production farming, that's a pretty small operation. Even in the face of debt, hardship, bad yields, horrible weather, and pessimism, they're the first to say they have the best jobs on Earth. In fact, just about every farmer is like that.
Farmers are masters of seeing the good in everything. It's because they have to.
I posed a general question on Twitter yesterday, to anyone who wanted to answer: What is your favorite farm memory? None of the responses had to do with money, or achievement. The memories shared with me were warm, happy, and reminiscent. It's memories like this that can keep America's hardest workers going through all the risks and hardship they face.
The conversation went like this (mentions to myself were pruned out for organizations sake):
- @kmrivard: Let's talk favorite farm memories, folks. What is it that makes agriculture special to you?
- @4hfarmer: educating little ones for the future of ag!
- @drysdales: Growing up in a way that 95% of people will never experience. I'm reminded of that each time I got to thepioneerwoman.com.
- @rosamyst: Fave memories include great talks, quality time spent with dad while cleaning out calf pens. (Plus it was good exercise!)
- @LauriStruve: when Dad fed cattle, i loved sitting in the end of the feed bunk and watching them eat. 1 of my best #farm memories!
- @LauriStruve: I also remember the day he loaded out the last group of cattle he fed. I was in 4th grade & wanted to help
- @katieallenmo: Sitting in the pickup w/my dad checking cows as a kid. But I still like to do that!
- @KitchenRX: Ditto! I was gate girl! RT@katieallenmo checking cows w/ Dad as a kid.
- @Tykerman1: favorite farm memory was when I was 9 and my grandfather said, Here you go, crawled off the combine and let me have it. #farm
- @Rune67: once when I was ten yrs old at my uncles farm in upstate ny, we were letting out heifers first spring day, the heifer she took off out the barn into the field, I held onto rope was dragged an acre before I let go, everyone was yelling and laughing, and till this day noone let's me forget, lol.
- @drysdales: One memory: Dad always gave extra bedding or treats to animals on cold Christmas Eves ... wanted them to perceive a special day.