It’s "National Letter of Appreciation" week.
I think it’s time to thank a farmer.
Now, before you think this is the most self-serving post ever…read on.
‘Cause I am NOT suggesting that you, any of you, should ever thank me.
No, I want you to see how WE need to thank some other folks.
As farmers with a very small, diverse operation, there aren’t too many agricultural projects we have NOT tried in attempting to find our place in the world of Ag. We’ve raised chickens, sheep, goats, turkeys, pigs and cows, we’ve milked cows (and goats), raised vegetables and fruits, processed those vegetables as well as chickens and turkeys, made sausage, bread, cheese, wine and soap…and the list could go on and on. Many of these projects are just memories now and we willingly buy the products from other producers.
It is those OTHER farmers for whom I am thankful today…
Those dairymen (and women), grain farmers and livestock growers who make it possible for me to have amazing choices when I eat, drink or decide to do some cooking and baking.
Those local farmers who produce grain and hay we use to feed our livestock.
The produce growers in areas totally unlike our own who make it possible for us to have fruits and fresh vegetables in the middle of winter.
Those small farmers who produce unique, local products that give each region its distinct flair and flavor.
Those original alternative ag folks who, by encouraging others to “think outside the box”, created a niche market for small producers like us.
Those subsistence farmers around the world who are eking out a living in often hostile environments, providing for their families and inspiring others with their tenacity and enduring work ethic.
Those creative farming geniuses who came up with new ways to do an “old-fashioned” job. Great innovations have come from the world of Ag. Innovations that are beneficial to all of us in oh, so many ways. These changes shouldn’t be feared, but researched, understood and celebrated. Farmers work hard to produce the building blocks for our very modern, very global world and they (innovations AND farmers) should be appreciated not denigrated.
Each of these distinct groups affects our operation in some way.
So, my letter of appreciation to all the “other farmers” would go something like this.
Dear “Other Farmers”,
I want you to know that I am thankful for each and every one of you and the commitment and effort you put forth every single day to make it possible for consumers (of which I am also one) have food, clothing and shelter.
Thank you for all you do. For going on with your job, despite the weather, the economy, or public opinion. For continuing even when you are tired and worried and know that there is no way your efforts will ever be truly appreciated or compensated. For thinking and striving to make the world a better place for those future generations. For doing the work to provide products that I don’t have the time, talent or inclination to produce for myself.
Thank you for encouraging me to keep on with our small venture. Just the thought that there are others out there doing the same kind of work often gives me the encouragement to continue even when the way looks bleak and dark. The stories of grit and tenacity and overcoming incredible odds are awesome. I appreciate the openness and compassion, the availability and tenacity that other producers have shown us. I’ve learned many lessons from our farming neighbors and even some farmers who will never know me or visit our operation.
While the world of Ag seems to be under the gun of late…activists of all sorts taking issue with nearly every aspect of farm life, the different factions fighting among themselves and a new rash of fear-mongering advertising propaganda that is so effective with the folks who are so far removed from the farm…I want you to know that I appreciate you, stand with you and speak out for you.
To my fellow agriculturists around the world, I say…
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! You're amazing and inspiring!
P.S. Let’s all take this year of family farming http://www.fao.org/family-farming-2014/en/ to gently, kindly educate the public together as to the importance of Agriculture and the family farm!
Thanks for a great video, www.FarmOn.com !