As I reflect over the past year in VALOR, I have observed a common thread throughout the agriculture industries, businesses, and people the VALOR class has had the opportunity to observe, interact with, and learn about. The prevailing thread is pride.

They are proud of what they are doing and accomplishing. They love their jobs even though they are faced with numerous struggles, obstacles, challenges, and sometimes complete loss. They chalk it up to an experience learned. They keep moving forward and striving for the very best.

They are very proud of their land and how they have improved both efficiency and productivity. One person said it wisely, “if you take care of your land and water, they will take care of you.” They are very humble about their accomplishments yet, they are some of the most innovative and successful businesses around.

They are proud of the product they are producing. Who would of thought standing in a large field of sweet corn watching it being picked and packed that the owner would reach down and husk the corn and say to us, “just take a bite.” Then proceeding, not sure what to expect, hesitant because of the expectation, and then that first bite….Oh my goodness! Then taking the second, third and soon the whole ear was gone. It was the best sweet corn I had ever tasted…. Next thought, steamed with butter and a dash of salt, I could eat this everyday and continue love it.

They are proud to have their products consumed and used locally. We had a lovely dinner at the Inn at Montross. The majority of the meal was from products grown or produced right in the local community. Everything from the salad, to the entrees, to the dessert was fresh from the fields. It was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. Needless to say, that the corn on the cob was truly awesome.

So here is what I came up with based on my observations about pride in agriculture.

PPerfection: Striving constantly to produce a quantity of high quality products that exceed the needs and expectations of consumers in the United States and the world.

R- Resourceful: Agriculturists have the ability to use resources effectively and conservatively so that the next generation will be able to utilize them.

I – Intelligent: Always learning; agriculture is an industry with many uncontrollable variables and demands. In order to be successful the people involved in agriculture are engaged and embrace change.

D-  Diligent: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No vacation time. No sick time. No overtime. Just the love of the job and the joy of knowing you are making a difference.

E- Everlasting: Constantly working to improve, constantly working to ensure society has food on the table that is high quality and there is plenty; constantly working so that agriculture is viable.

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