Wordless Wednesday is a blog concept where a picture is posted and words are not the focus of the posting. We have decided to join in on the WW fun and started last week with “Can I get a hand for an itch?”.
Do you have a picture you would like to see?
For this week and weeks to come please send in you requests for various piuctures from around the dairy and we will do our best to post them. If you have a request just leave a comment to this post.
Here is a post perfect for Wordless Wednesday because no words were used to get a helping hand.
One of the things I am extremely passionate about is telling my story on my own terms because no one knows it better than I do. It is this passion that drives me to find common ground with others outside of farming and have discussions about farming when the time is right. Speaking up for farmers and farming is as simple as talking to an old friend who moved to the city or asking a person what motivates them to buy certain things in the grocery store.
I have taken the opportunity on many an airplane to reach out to others, however one time stands out. I was on a flight from St. Louis to Salt Lake City and was seated next to two young boys travelling with their families for a ski vacation to Utah. Throughout the flight I kept to myself because the boys were having their own conversation and as an adult I did not want to create a weir situation. As the flight was nearing its end the show friends was being shown as the in flight entertainment. The episode was one where Ross dumps a whole gallon of milk down the front of himself. One of the boys then said something to the effect of “that’s a lot of milk”. I then proceed to say no I have 4000 times as much at home. Then conversation then moved to me explain that my family operates a dairy farm. One of the boys then proceeds to ask me “Are your cows free range?” After I picked my jaw up off the ground I answered that some do and some are housed in open air barns and in nice weather have access to outdoor exercise pens. I also explained the stalls in the barn are groomed and kept clean. The cows also have free access to fresh food and clean water. The concrete the cows walk on is cleaned frequently and there is soft rubber where the cows walk. The young boy then said “Wow it sounds like you take great care of your cows.”
Another time I was engaged in a local community on twitter and through several meet and greets created several longtime friends. One of those friends asked if he could bring his boys out to the dairy and being one to not miss an agvocacy moment I agreed. His boys loved the tour and to this day nearly a year later he continues to remind me his young sons remember what they saw and did on the dairy thus creating a lifetime impression. In addition to his sons the gentleman also came to realize that many who try to paint farmers and ranchers in a negative light are not always being the completely truthful.
Here are some videos from their visit:
It is so easy to build bridges between communities in our lives, they can be virtual, social, religious, or hobby based communities however they have all started with common ground outside agriculture.
If we farmers and ranchers think about it enough becoming an Agvocate and letting others know why and how we do what we farmers and ranchers do to feed, fuel and clothe them becomes second nature. We are given opportunities to Agvocate daily it is up to us as Agriculturalists to take advantage of them and not let the opportunity forever slip away.
Do you know a farmer?
If not would you like to?
If you do, do you want to learn more?
If you are looking for a place to start or even to just learn more here are a few great ways to learn about how farmers like myself grow and raise the food we all enjoy.
Agchat Foundation (videos, twitter, blogs)
Know a California Farmer (videos, blogs, photos)
farm blogs (blogs)
Agrifood Resources (blogs)
As some people may know I was appointed last year to National Dairy Board by the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. I was excited to help direct the programs dairy farmers fund from their own income, approximately 1.75 cents per gallon with 2/3 staying local & 1/3 going to the NDB. Afterall, my family farm has been contributing to the fund based on the milk products we have produced for close to two decades.
What I did not realize going in was the great dairy farmers I would meet along the way from all corners of the US, between the National, and State or Regional boards there are over 400 dedicated farmers giving their time to direct the programs all the dairy farmers fund.
I see first-hand how much mind-blowing research is done through the funds farmers like me put into the dairy board budget. There is research on the nutritional qualities of dairy products, packaging that allows milk to store better and be easier to take on the go and the amount of time spent on promotional programs like Fuel up to Play 60 a great partnership with the NFL to get kids active.
What I do not understand is why there is even a question about farmers promoting the products they grow and raise today their are numerous organizations that are self funded “Checkoffs” or marketing boards in the US. As stated in the popular Year of Plenty blog “… I’m not sure why it’s controversial that dairy farmers are paying for programs to promote the sale of their products. It’s like saying it’s scandalous that Starbucks wants consumers to drink more coffee.” Another great post from Year of Plenty is titled How My Little Blog Out-Reported the New York Times and adresses a lot of the misinformation and half truths.
With the inaccuracies reported by major news outlets, several dairy farmers across the US are voicing their sentiments in their own blog posts or in conversations with local media. Here are a few great posts from some fellow dairy farmers:
Here is a great blog that is written by some of the great employees behind the the National dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc.:
Here is how I am celebrating, with a bowl full of the dairy good treat! Triple chocolate ice cream covered with chocolate chips, almonds, coconut, and chocolate sauce. The cute Minnie Mouse bowl makes it taste even better.
I am extremely excited to see all of the blogs, tweets and status updates from farmers explaining that what the recent “undercover video” shows is not the norm. The pride I felt today while catching up with reading all the posts that I missed on vacation was amazing so I listed some below.
A few blogs in response to the video: