I didn’t have much of a passion for agriculture growing up and didn’t think it directly affected me. It wasn’t until I married my husband that I realized how wrong that thought process was.

The famous words of Paul Harvey “God made a Farmer” meant nothing to me until I was an adult. I didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch. I didn’t have close relations with someone who was a farmer. I was lucky enough to know that milk came from a cow, not the grocery store! I knew that green fields were a good thing, and I was grateful for the food on my table.

But I learned there was so much more involved in getting my glass of milk than just going out to milk a cow. I didn’t know or understand the lengthy and costly process of feeding the cows, tending them, and getting the milk to the consumers. I didn’t know how hard someone was working to produce that glass of milk or how much I depended on the jug of milk always being there. And that was just the dairy industry! What about the farmers and all the other million avenues of agriculture? As a child, I just didn’t know. Now, as a mother of 3, I wonder if my kids know better.

We live on the farm, surrounded quite literally by fields of alfalfa or triticale (a wheat & rye hybrid). The dairy cows have moved on, but the corrals, smell, and flies are still present. We watch the weather for rain now, hoping it won’t arrive too early if we have hay on the ground, but praying it still comes to fill up the reservoirs. We watch Grandpa and Dad in the shop change a tire or mend a broken tractor. We keep an eye and ear out for the lights and sounds of the tractor in the fields during the wee hours of the night. We watch the baby calves in our small herd of beef cows grow up. We live and breathe the farm nearly every day. And with that living and breathing comes a passion for the land. A passion that I have grown to love sharing, especially with my kids. My seven-year-old son boldly states that when he grows up he wants to be a “builder, firefighter, and a farmer.” When questioned about why, he gives a lengthy answer for each, but when it comes to the farmer, he simply states that “everyone, every day needs a farmer”. So maybe he does understand, maybe by the time he is grown he will already have a passion for agriculture and be better prepared to share that than I was. 

Naturally, my growing passion for agriculture has begun to extend to everyone within my small sphere of influence. When my siblings, with nieces and nephews in tow, or when close family friends come to visit, we take a tour of the farm. We share, show, and explain the process of getting crops off the land. We talk about water and see the baby animals. We play in the dirt and ride the tractors. We make it a fun place for kids to come to see, but hopefully, they learn just a little more about the “why” of agriculture. Maybe, they’ll have fond memories of visiting the farm and when the chance comes, they’ll be able to influence an opinion, a vote, or a decision regarding agriculture. 

Paul Harvey made history when he shared his “God Made a Farmer” speech in 1978. He talked about how a farmer does all these hard things and yet, still recognizes and values the good things. He did not express one statistic or fact about agriculture. I feel like he simply stated the farmers were passionate, honest God-fearing people. Interestingly enough, most people don’t know that he gave the famous oration at a Future Farmers of America (FFA) convention. What a perfect location for such a poem. I think even he knew that the future of agriculture depends on our ability to be passionate about it. To raise the next generation to love what they do, and to share that with those they interact with. The facts, information, and processes are interesting, but it is the passion and love in which we share that information that is powerful. It is that kind of sharing that influences and inspires. 

It is August here, with the county fairs happening. As such, I am given the opportunity to share the joy of agriculture through our county's 3rd grade Ag Field Day. This happens once a year with all the 3rd graders throughout the county coming to the fairgrounds. We have presenters from all different areas of agriculture come and share their passions. We teach, we play, and we learn. And at the end of the day, those kids have seen what agriculture does for them. I am confident they'll recognize the direct impact agriculture has on their lives and remember the passion for which these farmers have for their respective fields of agriculture. Maybe, they’ll know a bit more than I did as a child. Maybe when they drink their glass of milk, they’ll be reminded of why “God made a Farmer.”

Audrey Yardley and her husband Bret live and farm in Sanpete County and serve on the State Promotion & Education (P&E) Committee, representing District 6 (Garfield, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, and Wayne Counties).