I think it’s safe to say that my internship with the Alliance has been everything I was hoping for and more. From my first blog post to this one, I have done something I didn’t even know was possible – I’ve become even more passionate and dedicated to agriculture. This is why I am excited to continue working alongside a great team here at the Alliance as communications coordinator!
During my time with the Alliance I have not only learned so much about animal agriculture, but I have also been able to see my ideas come to life through my writing and serve their purpose of informing people who want to know more. But I’d have to say without any hesitation that what I have enjoyed the most isn’t the writing, the content creating or all the other daily tasks I’m responsible for. What I enjoy most about my work is when I interact and hear directly from the farmers and industry leaders that I advocate on behalf of.
Whether it’s on the phone or face-to-face, every farmer I have met cares about three things: their animals, the environment and people.
It’s about animals, the environment and people
You’ve probably heard the first two a million times, but maybe you didn’t realize that the people who work every day to make sure there is enough food in our country actually care about you and your family. A shocking reality is that just two percent of the population are farmers and less than that claim it as their full-time occupation. Of course more are involved in the entire farm to fork process, but it’s the farmers that are are continuously being criticized by people who are making demands that will drive up food costs and make farming more difficult.
I understand that people want to have a say in how their food is produced and I agree that we should be involved as consumers. What concerns me is that people are making demands without any factual evidence to back up why they want farmers to adopt or eliminate certain practices. When consumers who have never met a farmer or visited a farm tell farmers that they know what’s best for the animals and environment instead of the farmer who washes the dirt from his or her hands every evening before bed just to get them dirty again the next morning, it just doesn’t make sense to me.
Whether the farmer is from a small farm or a larger one, they have the same goal in wanting to produce quality food at an affordable price so you can feed your family safe food without breaking the bank. So far they’ve done an excellent job because whenever I go to the grocery store, the question as to whether the food I’m buying is safe doesn’t even cross my mind.
For the majority of farmers, the health and well-being of not only the animals they raise, but the environment they are raised in and the people that use the product from the animal in some form or another rises above any amount of profit. Yes, they need to make a living too in order to provide for their own family and I think it’s fair to say the men and women who help to feed the country should not be below the poverty line, but at the end of every day they are thinking about their animals and if they are doing a good enough job to provide for the people who trust their food supply and the farmers that grow it.
For farmers, farming is always on their mind.
A couple weekends ago I went to see one of my best friends graduate with her bachelors degree and her father happens to be a farmer. He’s actually one of the most dedicated and caring farmers I have met and every time I see him (which really isn’t that often because he’s always on the farm) he is itching to get back to his farm and care for his animals because that’s what he does. He made arrangements for someone to be at his farm to take care of his animals so he could see his daughter graduate from college, but you could tell he couldn’t wait to get back home and do what he loves.
He works every day to provide for people who probably don’t give a second thought to how much passion and dedication it takes to be a farmer, but he does it anyway because that’s what farmers do. They think about the people who don’t necessarily recognize their hard work. Farmers don’t farm for the fame and glory. If they wanted to make bank and be famous they would be in a different field. They farm every day because they sincerely care about providing for the people in their surrounding communities and across the country.
I’m not relying on this blog post to convince you to believe farmers care about the people they provide for, but I do hope I convince you to talk to a farmer and know the whole story before you ask them to do something that is not in the best interest of their animals, the environment or for you.
In just four short months I have become more passionate and dedicated to not only sharing agriculture’s story by connecting with farmers and industry leaders, but creating a dialogue with consumers who are interested in agriculture and want to know more. I can only hope I become even more invested in agriculture’s future, but I’m not sure that’s possible. I suppose time will tell and I am thrilled to spend it with the Alliance!