There has been quite a bit of talk about the benefits and horrors of agriculture in the past few years. Not only is it the nature of agriculture to be sustainable but it is also in agricultures nature to be humble. The earth itself teaches hard lessons to those who think they know it all and have all of the answers. Drought, floods, erosion, disease, insects, weed pressure and the media are all just itching to throw a curveball into the mix at each and every opportunity. The key to agriculture is to be good stewards of the land, to mitigate risk as often as possible, to tell our story as accurately and completely as possible and to love gambling. We are a vital part of our communities and believe in helping others and paying it forward. For those of us in agriculture who have shaken our heads and laughed off the stories for far too long, we must stop. We knew that no one would believe those stories- because how could we keep producing healthy food if we treated the animals and land that way? The stories were ridiculous. The problem is that we don’t tell our stories. People believed those stories because we didn’t educate them not to. We don’t give any options. We didn’t share our truth. Any intelligent person would have made the same choices. It is not too late to share our stories! It will be more work now but we can do it. Invite people to work with you and have dinner at your table. Explain how you conserve water, prevent erosion and educate yourself! Keep an open mind and think! If you had been given the choice of believing in either a cesspool or a field with a beautiful clean stream and waving grass, I know you would have chosen the green grass and fresh water to believe in because you do it everyday! We need to promote the truth of agriculture and not the false sensationalism. The truth is that we would all have starved to death long ago if the sensationalized stories were the norm. For the industry to make money and be sustainable for generations we must be (and are) incredible land stewards. We must always be looking for ways to improve the land, and we do. For our industry to survive we must tell our story better. We must recruit our friends, neighbors, and communities to share with others about the amazing things we are doing. We must educate ourselves as well. We must continue to improve. I found this great resource put out by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. It outlines an educational plan for all ages. I encourage you to read it and self educate. Share what you learn at the coffee shop, your church, the grocery store… Together we can share the beauty that is sustainable land management. Together we are agriculture.
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