I had lunch with a friend and we met to talk about an upcoming project we are working on together for agriculture education with schools in our county. In the midst of the conversation, we talked about even in our rural county, how few kids are raised on farms and ranches anymore. In my daughter Elizabeth’s kindergarten class of 22 students, I think there are only a few students whose parents actively farm and ranch.
Just because our kids are raised in a town of 1,000 people in a county of 3,000 people doesn’t mean our kids truly understand production agriculture. Then there are the parents of the non-farm kids, who work in businesses but don’t actively farm or ranch.
I’ve heard my own friends say, “I have nothing to do with farming.”
They work in an office. They live in a small town. They live in a big town or a city.
As one friend has said to me, “I can drive to the edge of Fargo and I don’t know what’s past it.” The same could be said for your town or city.
If you don’t actively farm and ranch, do you have nothing to do with farming?
Absolutely not. You have something to do with farming.
Agriculture is on the shelves of the grocery store.
There are faces of farmers behind every box of pasta, every apple, every cob of corn, every pound of ground beef or bacon you buy.
Every gallon of milk or ice cream you buy, you have something to do with farming.
The sweaters you wear. Your favorite cotton pajamas. The gas you pump into your car. They all have something to do with farming.
You know what else has to do with farming? A lot of our jobs and businesses.
I often share about my family’s farm and the passion our kids have for agriculture. It’s the land that I love, the food and grains produced from it and the hope of a next generation to farm the land that my family has farmed for five generations.
But when I only share about traditional farming, I leave out the industries behind the faces of farmers, the people who support our family farms and ranches.
The lumberyard and ag building business my father-in-law and husband work in everyday. They have something to do with farming.
The essential parts guy. He has something to do with farming.
The bookkeeper and accountant. She has something to do with farming.
The fuel truck driver.
A bank teller.
A grocery store clerk.
The dentist. The chiropractor. The doctors. The nurses.
All pastors and priests.
They all have something to do with farming in our small town. And in your town or city, you have something to do with farming. Whether you can’t see a farm field from your high-rise city apartment or you live in the middle of a field, you have a stake in agriculture.
Farmers and ranchers grow food to meet the demand of what you are purchasing. You have something to do with farming.
And many of us have businesses and jobs whose success or failure is impacted by agriculture. For that, I am thankful.
I am thankful to be an affluent American eater, to have an abundance of food choices and to have a stake in the future of agriculture.
Because I have something to do with farming.
March 25th, 2014 is National Agriculture Day and also would be Dr. Norman Borlaug’s 100th birthday. If you want to know who Dr. Borlaug was and what he had to do with farming, click here to read a blog from National FFA.
My friend, Ryan Goodman, has a blog post on CNN Eatocracy, Celebrating National Agriculture Day: Talk To A Farmer and another great resource to think about how you have something do with farming is Ag Day.