My son Andrew, a Boy Scout, recently spent a week at Camp Davy Crockett in Rogersville TN. Camp is a weeklong adventure where Scouts utilize skills learned in scouting to be self sufficient and continue the learning process. As you might expect I am very proud of my son and his accomplishment in Scouting. He is currently planning for his Eagle Scout project and will hopefully get it completed this summer. As I consider his success in Scouts I think of the principles that Scouting is based upon and I begin to see the parallels to agriculture and farming. The values for the Boy Scouts is enumerated by the Scout Oath,
“On my honor, I will do my best
to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
Further the Scout Law states, a Scout is,
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean,
And finally the Scout Motto,
I believe that these tenets are prevalent in the agriculture industry and more particularly in farming. It is important for farmers and their partners in all facets of the Agricultural Industry to adhere to these values and most importantly the Scout Motto, “Be Prepared”. Recently the VALOR group convened in the Washington D.C. / Northern Virginia area for the fifth of twelve seminars with a focus on urban agriculture and U.S. agriculture policy. We were fortunate to visit the USDA to meet with the director of USDA Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; the director of the Office of Governmental Affairs of USDA Food Nutrition Service; the regional conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. One of the topics of discussion was of course the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 better known as the “Farm Bill”. The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive omnibus bill is passed every 5 years or so by the United States Congress and deals with both agriculture and all other affairs under the purview of the United States Department of Agriculture. Several aspects of the proposed farm bill were discussed and one theme became evident, there will be changes to many provisions moving into the future. A summary of the provisions of the Farm Bill indicates many changes that our industry must adapt to remain successful.
It is important for everyone in the industry educate themselves about the proposed Farm Bill. More importantly I believe it is imperative that as an industry we apply the values outlined above as we work to influence the make-up of the bill and once passed into law use those same principles as we conduct the business of agriculture.
As we move forward lets… BE PREPARED.