Who are your farmers?

Who are your farmers?  Do they live down the road?  Are they your family or friends?  Even if you live in the city with no farms for miles, you, my friend have a farmer.

A bit of background

Many times, when people think of farmers and agriculture in general, their mind travels back to the times of their great-grandparents when the fields were lush and green and the times were much simpler.  Though this picturesque view of things is definitely something to hold on to, reality is that with time comes change, and with change comes the need to adapt.  The farming community has done this very well, and though today’s farms aren’t the farms of our grandparents days, they still operate under the same love for the land and for the love of agriculture.

So who are they?

Contrary to popular media, farmers are not the antibiotic-happy,  hormone-toting people that certain groups tend to portray them as.  Farmers are people who have been given the responsibility of caring for the life of their animals and crops, and they take it very seriously.  So, now that we have that straight, lets get to the meat and potatoes.  Your farmers are much like you, they have interests, hobbies, and believe it or not, they do have a life outside of farming (even though that life may be taking a night out to visit with other farmers).  These farmers are hard-working men and women that don’t see their farms as just a job, they see them as a way of life not only themselves but for generations to come as well.  Farmers are a special kind of people.  They will stay up all night to help a newborn calf, work all day and do it all over again the next day.  There are no sick days or snow days, because there are lives depending on you.

Some fun facts…

Now that you know a little bit more about who your farmers are, let’s look into some facts about what they do.

  • There are many types of farmers!  Including: Dairy farmers, beef farmers, poultry farmers, sheep farmers, swine farmers, crop farmers, and so much more.
  • These farms can be Conventional or Organic (the “Natural”  label leaves a lot of room for personal interpretation, and an actual definition hasn’t been determined yet by the FDA).
  • Today, 1 U.S. farmer feeds 155 people.   Yep, you read that right.  In 1960, 1 farmer fed 25.8 people.
  • Beyond food, farmers help supply some of the fun things in life too.  For example, one acre of soybeans can supply 82,368 crayons!

We all know that farmers grow food and raise animals, but what they do and who they are is so much more important than that.  They feed the world, not just you and me, and they do it with a willingness and grace not found in any other industry.  So who are your farmers?  They’re so much more than people who grow food, they’re the people who grow the world.

 

-Haley

 

In case you want to check out the sources of the information found in this post, follow these links!

You and Agriculture

How are you connected to agriculture?  Maybe you’re the third generation on your family farm, carrying on the tradition; or maybe the only time farming crosses your mind is when you pick up some groceries at the store during the week.  Either way, YOU are connected to agriculture.

You and Agriculture

So How?

If you’re a farmer, then you know this story quite well, but if you’re not, then hopefully this offers some insight.  Think of the last time you bought milk, meat, eggs, or any other produce from the store.  On second thought, let’s look past just produce, how about peanut butter, chocolate chips, and coffee (life-saving trio right there).  Whatever you bought, it didn’t end up on those grocery shelves by accident.  Farmers all over the country put their time, hard work, and dedication into producing those products, and they continue to do it every day.

Not Just a Job

For farmers and producers, feeding the world isn’t a 9-5 job, it’s a way of life.  Farming isn’t just raising animals or planting crops, it’s staying up all night with that newborn calf, late nights and long days, sore backs and muddy boots.  It’s never predictable, but it’s worth it at the end of the day.  Worth it because of the blood, sweat, and tears put forth by past generations, and worth it because someday, future generations will benefit from today’s work.

Its a Tradition

Think of your family, chances are you probably have some traditions that you couldn’t imagine living without.  Whether it’s an annual family picnic, cheering for a favorite sports team, or eating grandma’s famous meatloaf for Christmas dinner, traditions make us who we are, and they unite us.  Well, in many ways farming is the same way.  The majority of U.S. farms are family owned and operated, and have been in the family for multiple generations.  These farmers are following a family tradition, and while it would be nice to make a profit, their main reason for keeping the tradition alive is their love for the land, the animals, and the people that make up their ‘farming family’.

So, next time you go grocery shopping or visit the farmer’s market, think of all your traditions and how much they mean to you.  Think about how much love and dedication it has taken to keep that tradition going throughout the years.  Then look at whatever product you just bought, and appreciate the care and commitment that came from the farmer who worked tirelessly to produce it.  It may not be obvious at first, but we all really are connected to agriculture, in more ways than one.

 

  • Haley