I’ve been a little swamped lately prepping for my big move to Kansas City, which happens THIS FRIDAY. (If you’re confused about the dates, I was supposed to start at my job on June 25th, but we bumped it back to July 9th because my apartment would not be available until the 7th.) I’ve been packing, taking inventory, and tying up loose ends here.
I have a million and one thoughts I’d love to blog about regarding the move, work, agriculture, and a slew of other things, but instead, I’ll take a few moments to address tomorrow, the 4th of July.
I’m a proud patriot. I love this country. I could go on for hours about why I love the United States of America, but this is, after all, a mostly-agriculture-based blog. So, we’ll talk American agriculture.
America is home to over two million farms and ranches, and those farms are now owned or run by the most diverse group of operators the U.S. has ever seen. More minorities (whether that be according to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) than ever are digging in to produce safe, healthy food as well as a wide assortment of other raw goods like cotton, flowers, oil seeds, and much more. In addition to diversity of operators, America has seen massive progress in the variety of technologies now available for farmers and ranchers to utilize.
GMO crops are available that decrease reliance on chemicals for fertilization and pest management, and make better use of resources. And if a farmer or rancher doesn’t want to use these technologically advanced crops, there are more varieties of non-GMO seeds available than ever. Whether you’re a conventional farmer or you’re a specialty grower or an organic farmer, there is no doubt that research and technology has introduced massive potential for variety, choice, and efficiency to American agriculture.
America agriculture is also full of neighborly cooperation. In the last year, my friend Carrie Mess has been influential in getting hay delivered to farmers and ranchers in the south and southwest, in regions impacted by last summer’s horrible drought down there. The support, encouragement, and resources that arise from the national ag community in a time of need is always awe-inspiring. While I can’t speak to other nations’ rural neighborhoods, I will say that the American countryside is a well inter-connected, fairly empathetic place to live.
Our farmers and ranchers are raising up some pretty fantastic children in addition to crops and livestock, too. A look at 4-H and FFA efforts prove that these young’uns are making waves. Whether they’re assembling care packages for soldiers, donating food to a pantry or soup kitchen, learning vocational skills through projects and contests, or attending conferences to learn how to better impact their communities as leaders, these amazing young people are paving the way for a bright tomorrow.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the American agriculture community, and to have the awesome job of sharing agriculture’s stories. Because of social media, I have the distinct privilege of having friends from coast-to-coast, and even a Montana cattle rancher who’s currently taking Hawaii by storm. (Everyone, wave at Ty!) I’m honored to have friends who raise beef cattle, dairy cattle, hogs, chickens, rabbits, goats, alpacas, llamas, ducks, working dogs, horses, and much more. Alongside these livestock folks, I also have the joy of knowing farmers who grow tree nuts, flowers, cereal grains, cotton, corn, soybeans, produce, sugar crops, and beyond. America’s ag also boasts a very wide assortment of talented lawyers, researchers, insurance professionals, policy folks, industry support representatives, salesmen, mechanics, geneticists, youth coordinators, agronomists, consultants, livestock nutritionists, and so many more. And again, I have the pleasure of working alongside these people, enjoying their wealth of knowledge and insight as well as the amazing individuals behind these diverse skill sets and job titles.
Long story short, American agriculture is pretty cool. And it’s just one of the many reasons I’m thrilled to live in this country.
On that note, I want to wish each and every one of you a wonderful 4th of July. Please be safe, and remember that this dry summer makes fireworks especially dangerous. Be courteous of those around you, and have a fantastic time celebrating Independence Day!