I am not sure how this all worked out this year, but for some reason I seem to find myself more often not on the farm and instead I’m out talking to other farmers from all over. I promise I will get back to the business of farming soon, this week though I’m at one of my favorite conferences, Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference 2014 in Virginia Beach.
We have heard from Virginia Secretary of Agriculture all about the important of imports and exports to this country’s agricultural industry. We have heard how a small town girl who didn’t ever think that she wanted anything to do with farming is now the Executive Secretary for the USDA. She encouraged us to “Talk about what you do and why you do it…because people just don’t get us farmers.” Bob Stallman, President of American Farm Bureau gave us a challenge to keep working to tell our story, because we have to connect to a new level of consumer. A farmer that I met just today from Indiana I think summed it up perfectly, “My grandpa started the farm, my dad turned it into a business, and now it’s my job to protect it.”
I think it’s easy to get burned out on certain activities, even for us bloggers and social media folks. But this is one of those places that you can come to and get re-energized to get back out there and realize that you’re not alone. Actually the conference has over 1,000 farmers and ranchers who are under the age of 35. All of who, even while farming across the entire United States are still facing similar challenges and many ways all speak the same language, see the same challenges on the horizon, or even knocking at our back door. And we all in some way know that we need to do our part to answer that call from Secretary Harden, “To talk about what we do and why we do it…”
All hands on Deck is the theme this year, and there have been many challenges to make sure that you’re doing your part to be a trusted source for consumers and be willing to tell your story. So with that before I head off on our last day here in Virginia I want to extend that promise to all my readers. I want to be a source for you to ask questions or even raise concerns. I can’t tell you that I know it all when it comes to how our food is raised, but I do have a network of over 1,000 of my farmer and rancher friends who are ready to answer that call.