Today is National Ag Day. What is National Ag Day? It’s a celebration of the bounty we are given through agriculture. If you don’t know a farmer to celebrate I am sharing a few pictures of farmers we celebrate in our family. From my grandparents to my parents to my brother to my kids, they are a few of my favorite agriculturists and why I advocate for agriculture or “agvocate.”My role in agriculture and communications has evolved through the years. How I share my message has changed as well. I am a lifelong communicator, the daughter of farmers and former advertising agency owners. My dad is the only farmer I have met who has a graduate degree in communications. Agriculture and communications are two of my passions from the example of my parents but I didn’t become an advocate for agriculture until I was an adult and felt a call from within to listen, share and speak up about agriculture.
Today I write and speak about agriculture. I learn from others and am always working to grow as an agvocate.
I thought about my role as an agvocate two weeks ago at the Bayer CropScience Agvocacy Forum in New Orleans. My mom stayed with our kids and my husband Nathan flew down with me. Nathan golfed and had some much-needed downtime while I attended the one-day Agvocacy Forum.
While attending, I connected with fellow agriculture bloggers and media. We listened to a wealth of expertise on food trends, nutrition, food waste, animal agriculture, sustainability, human health and science. Speakers ranged from seasoned professionals to a 12-year-old Delaware boy who started his own nonprofit to provide healthy snacks to homeless and low-income families.
I was able to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share photos and tidbits in real-time. Those who couldn’t attend the event in person were able to watch and participate from afar thanks to a livestream link. Ten years ago, I carried a cell phone in case I needed to call someone when I was away from my desk. Today, my smart phone can connect me to thousands of people in seconds thanks to social media, allowing me to agvocate for the industry that has sustained my family for five generations in North Dakota.
Just as communication has evolved, so have agriculture practices and methods. Today, farms and ranches don’t look like they did decades ago. My parents don’t farm the same way my grandparents did. We have technology at our fingertips, which creates more choices and enables us to use our resources more efficiently to produce more food and fiber. I don’t expect anything less for the next generation. I don’t want to do things the way they’ve always been done just because it’s easier or simpler. The Agvocacy Forum inspired me to keep pushing for a next generation. It doesn’t matter to me who is the next generation on our family’s farm, whether it’s my siblings, their kids, my cousins or our kids. I just want a next generation to have a shot at successfully continuing our farm’s legacy and be involved in the agriculture industry.
I have an 18-year-old son who wants to be an engineer and a farmer. I have an 8-year-old daughter who wants to be a teacher and a farmer. My six-year-old daughter is determined to be a veterinarian. Whether their current career goals come true or not, I communicate and share about agriculture to make sure the general public has a resource to turn to when they have questions, to listen and learn from consumers and to give back to the industry I dearly love.There’s never been a more urgent time to share your voice and engage as an agvocate. Regardless of your role in agriculture, you can share your passion with others. You can listen to the concerns of non-ag consumers. You can build relationships with those who buy food and fiber.
Social media platforms are good places to start the conversation, but you can do more. Volunteer in your community or through organizations that share your passion to meet new faces, build relationships and shake hands.
I started agvocating in 2007 when I started my blog. Without knowing it, I was an early adopter, as an ag journalist told me while in New Orleans. At times, I get burned out by the negativity and the people who would rather argue than have a civil discussion. The Agvocacy Forum topped off my cup. It motivated me to keep agvocating while listening to subject matter experts, passionate thought leaders and highly respected researchers from all walks of the food and fiber industry. I won’t quit adapting with the times and technology to share and communicate about agriculture, just like my parents won’t shy away from trying new production methods on our family farm.
It takes all kinds of voices to build up agriculture for a next generation. I am proud to be one of those agvocate voices. Find a description of each of these photos today on my Pinke Post Facebook page.