My mom has been a cardiac nurse for over 30 years now. She currently works in the outpatient part of a cardiac cath lab at a hospital in Peoria. She preps and recovers patients who are in for outpatient cardiac procedures, blood transfusions, etc. When her patients first arrive, she has to ask them a series of questions, you know the ones I’m talking about, and you’ve most likely heard them all before. What current medications are you taking, how long since you last ate a meal, etc.? The one in particular that sticks out most in my mind and most people scoff at when she asks it is, “Do you feel safe in your home or feel threatened in any way?” For most people, the answer is “no.” But, if we were to take that question out of context and apply it to family farms and production agriculture, I think the answer would be a resounding “YES!”
When we look at the uncertainty and risk that goes into farming, as well as all of the hubbub that goes on with “Monsatan,” PETA, HSUS, and more, it can feel like the walls are closing in on family farmers and ranchers. Farming isn’t a “sexy” profession to the masses (trust me, despite what the millions of viewers of The Bachelor think, not every farm wife races around on tractors in their bikinis, Yeesh. Don’t get me started).
And while critics may say, “don’t take it personally,” try telling that to the farmer who is pulling a calf at 2:00 in the morning on the coldest winter night or the farmer changing that irrigation tire in the middle of a corn field on the hottest summer day. It’s a profession that takes a lot of faith, sweat and sacrifice. It’s a profession that not only needs to be protected and respected, but appreciated.
Whether it’s at the Hearts at Home convention in Bloomington where Holly and Emily spoke with women of all ages about food choice, to blogs and podcasts, to my agriculture education classroom in Manito, we have all spent a considerable amount of time sharing the story who/what/when/why/where/how our food gets from the family farmer’s field to dinner forks across the globe. We aren’t the only ones out there “agvocating,” and trying to share the story of agriculture to the masses, there are many great agvocates out there. But, is it enough, and just how effective is it? Are we communicating to uninformed consumers (do they really care?) or preaching to the choir?
The title of this week’s podcast is “Personally Attacked in Your Purse or Pocketbook?” We chose this title because we feel that it is time for agricultural companies, organizations and associations to step up and shift some of their marketing dollars from preaching their products to the choir to helping communicate the story of agriculture to consumers. Please listen and always, your feedback is greatly appreciated. Have a great week, friends!