Raising the Next Generation of AgVocates
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Having grown up in a small rural town in south central Nebraska, I never really thought about where my food came from. We were surrounded by family farms raising livestock and fields of corn, wheat, and soybeans, but again, never really thought about where those livestock or crops went after they were harvested.
I lived on one of those quintessential streets, where almost every house on our road had kids, and we could all run around or ride our bikes all over. It was safe, fun, and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
Well, about 11 years ago, I met a farmer from Iowa. I learned a lot about what farmers do, why they do it, what happened to the crops after they were harvested, and how livestock was raised. It’s funny looking back at all that I have learned over the years. I by no means know it all, but instead, am still learning.
Over the years I have become what some call an Agvocate—an advocate for agriculture. When I met my husband, Kevin, he was becoming very involved in several agriculture organizations, and a few years later, I was asked to join the newly formed CommonGround. This is where agvocating all started for me.
I enjoy talking to consumers about what it’s like on our family farm, and why we choose to grow and raise our cattle the way we do. I’ve had many great conversations with others about our family farm in person and online. And the fun thing is, we are raising the next generation to do the same thing!
My husband is the sixth generation to farm his mom’s family farm and the 5th on his dad’s side. Where we live, we are now raising the seventh generation—four boys who are now seven, four, and twins who are 19 months old. Even though I grew up in town and wouldn’t change that experience, watching our sons grow up on the family farm is amazing.
What makes me most proud of this next generation, is that they like to talk about our family farm to others too! They’ll share with anyone what is happening on our farm, whether it’s planting season and they’ve been out riding on the planter, it’s calving season and their heifer just had her first calf, or it’s harvest season and they spent some quality time in the combine or tractors with their dad, grandpa, or uncles. No matter what it is, they enjoy telling others all about it!
We are not only raising the next generation on our family farm, but we are raising the next generation of agvocates.
It’s so important to share with others where their food comes from and how it is raised, and a lot of it starts with the younger generations. Kids are always wanting to learn, and it’s fun when they can learn from their own friends about farming. I remember at the beginning of the school year, one of the first things our oldest took to school for “Show & Share” was a book about our family farm. He was able to show all of his classmates a bunch of pictures from planting, all the way to harvest, and a lot of our cattle.
We were even watching a show the other day and on it someone said that GMOs were bad. He whipped his head around and looked at me and said, “No they aren’t!” We talk about all sorts of topics, but for him to pick up on that right away made me proud.
I am excited to continue agvocating for agriculture, but I’m extremely proud to be raising the next generation of agvocates and to see where their future takes them. Whether it be back to our family farm someday, to another field in the ag industry, or to something entirely different. Either way, they will have grown up on a family farm in Iowa, and I’m sure they will continue to share that with others.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of moms within the agriculture industry raising our next generation of AgVocates! Do you have a proud moment from when your child shared a story or talked to others about farming or agriculture? If so, share below in the comments or tweet it to @Bayer4CropsUS & @sarashousehd.