Dawn Of A New Agriculturist
Recently, I have seen a number of comments referring to amazement at the time a number of farmers and ranchers spend off the home place traveling. I felt compelled to put together my thoughts on the matter, as this related directly to me and how I have decided to invest my time both on and off the ranch.
Farmers and ranchers today are faced with a plethora of decisions to make when it comes to how to invest their time. For decades, farmers and ranchers spent nearly every waking hour on the farm or ranch, and maybe, every once in a while, would take a day or two off to go to the county fair or a very short vacation. Times have changed.
It has taken me nearly 20 years, but I believe I now understand how the system works and what needs to be done to change the course of the future of American agriculture. Laws and regulations are drafted based on pressure and input from a small group of skilled and powerful activist groups. These laws and regulations are then passed, in theory, with the support of the public.
Society has been listening to the loudest voices and those voices have not been farmers, foresters and ranchers. When people lack an understanding of an issue, they naturally draw from the most readily available information and that information has not been provided by farmers, forester and ranchers.
There is a tremendous amount of ground to make up and traditional strategies will not suffice. Social media has opened a door of opportunity to reach out and reconnect producers with consumers. The voices of the family farmer, rancher and forester have been silent for too long, allowing biased and misinformation from anti-agriculture groups and mainstream media to have major influence on a society that is generations removed from the land.
However, direct involvement in policy development at the state and federal level is still extremely important. There is a multitude of commodity and production method organizations actively engaged, sometimes standing on opposite sides of the table. At less than two percent of the population, we cannot afford to be divided on major issues; time and resources are limited. I have great respect for Farm Bureau, which is guided by policy that stems from individual farmers, foresters and ranchers representing every production practice and commodity.
America’s agricultural community is beginning to awaken. It has recognized that staying home is not a viable option if we plan on being able to continue to pass our farms, forests and ranches on to future generations. Families across the country are having the conversation of who is going to do what. That conversation is no longer limited to responsibilities related to producing their product but now also includes attending regulatory hearings, county and state advisory meetings, organizational conventions and even engaging in the social media world.
I am one of those who heard the alarm. I do not attend meetings to “get away” from the ranch nor my family; those are the most precious things in my world. I do it to try to improve the odds that my son will have the option to continue farming and ranching like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. I volunteer my time because I am passionate about American agriculture. I sit on the county planning commission to ensure that smart growth occurs, private property rights are protected and agricultural viability is not threatened. I am active on the county Farm Bureau board and multiple state committees to help shape policy that will protect the rights of all farmers, foresters and ranchers, without favor to size, location, and commodity or production practice. I volunteer with other farmers and ranchers across the country to see that the AgChat Foundation is successful in accomplishing its mission of empowering more farmers to use social media. I travel to conferences and conventions to share my knowledge in social media and communication in the hope that other agriculturists may discover an effective way to share their story. My family and I invest in these meetings and travel just as we invest in new cattle or equipment.
America is discovering a side to the agricultural community that has been hidden and silent for too long. Farmers, foresters and ranchers are passionate, articulate, technology savvy and are sharing stories that are shocking society. Stereotypes are being broken. Assumptions are being proven wrong. We are listening to moms who have heard misinformation about what we do and worry about their family’s health and we are talking about what happens on our farm and those of our neighbors for generations. The American agriculturist will not succumb to activist agendas, onerous regulations or the attempts by government to trample upon and take private rights. Our future will no longer be dictated by the elite few. Bridges are being built, communities are growing and positive dialogue is leading to mutual understanding based on trust and respect.
These bridges and communities provide me untold hope that as Kyle graduates and looks at the paths he can choose for his future, the paths cleared generations ago on horseback will offer him the opportunity to produce food, feed and fiber for this incredible country of ours.
Guidelines For Comments
- @ShepNewsTeam Hey Shep, there's another 6 hrs of CA north of SFO...that's not the northern border...we're flooding too. #FYI 1 month ago
- @JonesOrganics Appears to be an average one, like I remember as a kid... 2'+ at ranch, 10'-18' on surrounding summits. 1 month ago
- My pleasure! Always look forward to conversation. RT @JeffreyJKingman: @JeffFowle Thanks man 1 month ago
- RT @JeffreyJKingman: @JeffFowle Thanks man 1 month ago
- I earnestly pray for the day that we as a society become color blind and only see people as Americans. #endthedivision 2 months ago