I grew up a 4-H kid in Wisconsin. One of my closest friends as a child was always on her grandparents’ farm, so every day after school we would ride horses and do chores. I always loved working with animals and absolutely loved the farm life.
The more I learn from real farmers, the more I enjoy telling the real story of our industry. The reason I share my story with you; the reason I am so passionate about this, is because I want people to know I get it. I was once very misinformed and wasted a lot of money. I see how crazy and confusing it can be to only want what’s best for your family, the planet, and the animals. I want people to understand that farmers are real people who just want to connect with you. Behind the corporate face of “big ag” are real family farmers. Good people who want you to understand what we do and why.
So why do I advocate for agriculture? I want to give farmers a bigger voice. I want consumers to learn from those of us who actually produce the food they eat, the clothes on their backs, etc. I don’t want people to fear their food like I once did. Our industry is amazing. Technology allows livestock to be more comfortable than ever before, we have never been better environmental stewards, we are able to grow more crops on less land while using fewer inputs. The list goes on. So the next time you hear or read something that sounds scary or questionable, it’s OK to examine the source. Has the author ever been a farmer? What is their background? Do they live in a big city and are they trying to sell you something? Think critically and go visit these farms for yourself! Track down a real farmer. See if you can go on a tour, connect with your local Farm Bureau. We go to our mechanic for car advice, our lawyers for legal advice, doesn’t it make sense to talk to farmers about farming and not a movie or TV show produced by a Hollywood celebrity?
Consumers, we want you to know that we understand your frustrations. We are consumers, too, and we are listening. But a Hollywood celebrity is about the furthest person who understands what actually goes on behind our barn doors. If you want to know more about what we do, we are happy to share our stories with you. We will open our barn doors as long as you keep your eyes, ears, and your mind open as well. Farmers want you to know how much we care and I encourage everyone to have a friendly dialogue to bridge the gap between the big cities and our rural communities.
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