Make every week Ag Week
If you weren’t aware it’s National Ag Week, you should be by the time you’re done reading this paper.
The way I see it, National Ag Week should repeat 52 times a year. We shouldn’t have to set aside a week in March—a week that’s going to be overshadowed by green beer and shamrocks in most places—to appreciate what agriculture brings into our lives.
When we open a bag of sugar, shred a head of lettuce, spear a bite of steak, tie our leather shoes, or button our wool shirts, we should take just a second to acknowledge that we’re fed, warm and shod because of someone else’s sleepless night, early morning, overdrawn bank account, missed dance recital, prayer for rain, risky purchase, frostbitten ears, family feud and dream come true.
For most of us, that’s what agriculture is. We can’t avoid it, whether we grow calves or cantaloupes. Whether it’s sticking to our boots or blowing in our eyes, it all revolves around the dirt.
And our muddy boots make it possible for everyone else in the world to survive.
But we can’t say we do it alone. For every person out pulling a calf today, for every farmer tuning up his tractor and cleaning out his drill, there is an incredible network of support—gas man, banker, tax preparer, feed sales rep, veterinarian, teacher, daycare provider, postal employee, highway worker, grocery store clerk, politician (yes, even some of them), barge captain, and (dare I say?) journalist–that helps us survive.
Maybe this National Ag Week, we should take a little time to not only celebrate our industry, but to acknowledge that it’s much bigger than we even realize, and definitely bigger than we understand. Maybe we should take a few minutes to find out what issues orange growers are facing, or how spinach is picked, or how long it takes to finish a chicken (I obviously have some googling to do).
And spend a little time trying to share with the rest of the world that we not only work hard and sacrifice a lot (this is a time to be honest, not humble), but we’re honored to do it.
So this week, and every week, raise a glass to yourselves, and to the people all over the world who can proudly say, with mud on their boots, “I work in agriculture.”
And don’t forget, green beer couldn’t happen without barley and hops—grown by ag producers.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the July 24, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News