I love this time of year! It makes me excited to be a farmer and to have a role in bringing delicious and healthy food to my table, and to the tables of Americans and others worldwide. Truthfully, most of my milk will stay in Utah, but it is no less a miracle that I get to partner with my family and God’s creations in such an uplifting and positive pursuit.
To be sure, there are tough days on the farm – to paint the picture otherwise would not be honest or accurate. There are countless financial pressures, regulatory challenges, environmental burdens, and fluctuating market demands – to say nothing to the fact that my cows need to be milked every day and don’t take a summer vacation. But there’s nothing I would rather be doing!
I think our Founding Father George Washington said it best, “I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.” Not all of our Utah Farm Bureau members work on a farm or ranch, but I think this sentiment of Washington is still relatable. I think it speaks to being comfortable in our own situations, our own families, or our own piece of heaven – however that looks – than aspiring to the honors of man.
While some of you do not come from a farm background, there are still ways that you can connect to the ‘Miracle of Agriculture.’ In fact, the newly created mission statement of the Utah Farm Bureau is to ‘Inspire all Utah families to connect, succeed, and grow through the miracle of agriculture.” So how does this relate to all of you as our members?
There are many ways we can all ‘connect’ to the miracle of agriculture during this summer season. For some of you, it will be in the day-to-day tasks that go into growing or producing the food we all enjoy. It’s connecting through the late night baling of hay or the early morning watering of crops. It’s by attending the many meetings for the Farm Bureau, water board, canal company or weed board. For others, it is by taking advantage of the growing number of farmers markets that stretch along the Wasatch Front and increasingly in many smaller towns. I invite those not involved in agriculture to take some time and visit with those farmers and ranchers there and in your communities, to see how it takes all of us to get food on our tables.
Don’t know where to find a farmer? Have a digital experience by connecting to the Farm Bureau’s Ag Foundation website (www.agfoundation.org) to learn about what farmers & ranchers do, or log on to www.fooddialogues.com and engage in conversations about food and farming with a number of farmers and ranchers from around the country.
Looking to George Washington also helps us see how we can ‘Succeed’ because of the miracle of agriculture. We all take part of the success by learning more about the food in our country and the families that produce it. We succeed by having a safe, abundant, and affordable food supply in America. During Washington’s days leading the Continental Army, he must have felt the pressures of being an underdog in the conflict. The progress of agriculture can feel like the battle of an underdog sometimes, given there are less than two percent of Americans involved in farming and ranching. It is also a challenge to cut through the noise of competing or conflicting messages of food and the variety of choices we all have – but just having all those choices can definitely be considered a success.
Lastly, we can all ‘grow’ in the miracle of agriculture. Just look at the promise contained in a small bud of a fruit tree. There is so much potential and promise in that small bud. Likewise, when a new calf is born or a stalk of corn pushes through the earth, there is just a spirit of optimism present that it guides all farmers and ranchers to do their best.
During this wonderful summer season, I want to thank all of you for being members of the Utah Farm Bureau. Your membership helps us make sure farmers and ranchers will continue to produce the food and agricultural products we all enjoy. It helps us advocate for policies that ensure rural economic growth. It helps us preserve the cultural fiber of our state. I look forward to celebrating the miracle of agriculture with all of you for years to come.