I had never met a person so passionate, dedicated and proud of what they do until I met a farmer. I grew up 25 miles southwest of the White House in the suburbs of Centreville, Va., removed from the farm like many people today. My passions for science and animals led me 705 miles south to Auburn University where I quickly realized another passion – helping farmers tell their story.
When I met a farmer for the first time I knew I had to change my major. I wanted to help the people that showed me what it truly meant to be a hard worker. I switched my major from animal science pre-vet to agricultural communications after my first year.
With every farmer that I met, one value in particular stood out from the rest – the importance of animal care. Farmers put the well-being of their animals before themselves. I met one dairy farmer who said he would stand in front of a train before he let anything happen to his cows.
Whether their farm is big, small or somewhere in-between, farmers make sure their animals receive the best care. Regular health and wellness visits from veterinarians, 24/7 access to nutritionally-balanced food and water and healthy living conditions are just a few examples that demonstrate this commitment.
Farming isn’t a 9-5 job, it’s a 24/7 job – but you’ll never hear a farmer complain because although it is their livelihood, it is also their passion. It was an honor for me to be surrounded by such dedicated people and I developed the utmost respect for farmers and agriculture. Farmers not only changed the way I looked at agriculture, but opened my eyes to a career I had never considered.
Today I am the communications coordinator with the Animal Agriculture Alliance bridging the communication gap between farm and fork every day. Next week marks one year since I was officially brought onto the team and I am grateful of all the opportunities I have had to meet even more farmers.
Farmers are becoming the new celebrity everyone wants to know. If you have the opportunity to meet a farmer, take it because it may change the way you see agriculture. A farmer’s extraordinary passion helped me find mine, and for that I am grateful.
One opportunity to meet and hear from farmers and others involved in animal agriculture is the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2016 Stakeholders Summit. Farmers, ranchers and industry professionals will meet May 5-6 to discuss ways to take action to secure a bright future for animal agriculture. Online registration will be open through Monday, May 2 with on-site registration available during the conference. If you cannot make it, be sure to tune in to the live stream!