Each year during National Ag Week, my local papers ask me to write an op-ed about the industry and what is happening in our counties and state. Below is my article for this year’s National Ag Week celebrations. I hope you enjoy learning why agriculture is a community to me.
Agriculture is community
by Jill Smith, organization director for Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby County Farm Bureaus
Agriculture. It’s a passion, a business, a family, it’s hard work, it’s an opportunity, it’s heartbreaking, it’s a success, and sometimes it’s a failure. However, those who are in and around our industry know that the people who work on farms, ag businesses, and other agriculture enterprises wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, what agriculture really is, is community.
It’s about helping neighbors get those last few acres in before the rain, or helping clean up after a devastating storm, fire, or life event. It’s meeting our customers and assuring them the food they are buying is safe and nutritious for their families. Agriculture is a lot of things, good and bad, but we circle back to our community every time.
In 2020, we were all faced with the reality that kindness and community are so important. Along the way, we had lost that, but in one of life’s little reminders comes a pandemic and we can see many things much clearer now. For the first time in my life, we saw our food chain disrupted in a massive way and shortages, something most Americans have never experienced. We also saw the reality that although eating is paramount to each person, farmers were not labeled essential until actions were taken to make them so.
The agriculture industry touches every aspect of human life, and as we go about living we need to remember where the beginnings are so we can be thoughtful and informed about our day-to-day. So, if you are curious about GMOs, ask a farmer. Do you want to know what animal care practices are on a large farm? Ask a farmer. Do you want to know why we use some of the equipment we do? Ask a farmer. Do you want to know how agriculture impacts our environment? Ask a farmer. Go to the source with your questions, not the internet, social media, or the lady you’re standing next to in the supermarket by chance. We are the experts in our field, so ask us how we grow it!
As we celebrate National Agriculture Week, help me celebrate my community heroes, our farmers!