I had the privilege of listening to Mike Rowe speak at the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. Through the time he has spent working on farms and ranches while filming his extremely popular show “Dirty Jobs”, he has come to learn what those of us in agriculture have always known about the integrity of farmers. One of the statements he made was, “If you scrape the brown off of farmers you find the greenest people in the world.” I fully agree with him and have long said farmers are agriculture’s best asset. Another theme at the meeting has been grassroots agvocacy and getting farmer to tell their stories. I firmly believe that as we join conversations with our neighbors in the food aisle farmers can wear our green color proudly.
Many people today have little or no first hand knowledge of today’s many agricultural production methods. Over 98% of the population has taken the opportunity to work off the farm and they are not involved in agriculture, resulting in a loss of a personal connection to the farm and farmers for most. For a good bit of time, those within the farming and ranching circles (myself included) have felt we need to educate the public about our profession and the progression and advancement of agriculture. Through my involvement in social media I have been educated that in reality, the two percent of the population I fall into needs to have start having conversations with others. Through these conversations, we can all learn what expectations each other has and discover shared interests. By reaching out to those across the food aisle to make connections and start conversations, we can find common ground and move forward together.