Do you know what I’m scared of? I’m scared of car wrecks, things on fire that aren’t supposed to be, and a stranger hiding in my house when I get home at night.
Do you know what I’m not scared of? The food on my plate. I am not the least bit concerned about the quality and safety of my food. It doesn’t even cross my mind.
A growing number of people are scared of their food however. I think I know why. The things I’m scared of I have no control over and I don’t know much about them. I think a lot of people feel that way about food.
Food is not even on my radar of scary things because I know the people that grow food, I know the science behind it, and I fully trust both.
On our last VALOR seminar we visited Florida. We studied various aspects of agriculture, including greenhouses, beef production, and sugar cane production. We met the farmers and learned about their farming methods which, due to climate, are quite different from Virginia.
One thing that isn’t different is the passion for agriculture and the dedication that farmers put in to their operations.
It’s partly my fault for not explaining what I do on a daily basis, but it’s partly your fault too. When I was growing up my peers weren’t interested in what I did after school. Milking cows wasn’t exactly the cool thing to do. So I didn’t bother sharing stories with my non-farm friends.
Now here I am trying to play catch up. Trying to get you to trust me and other farmers. This is the most frustrating part of my job as a farmer. I love what I do. I love working with cows. I love being outside. I love watching things grow and knowing I had a part in it. But for some reason more and more people think farmers are bad. It drives me crazy!
We have researched and researched how to be better- how to increase the quality of our products while improving the comfort of our animals and improving the quality of the land and water around us. News flash: We are succeeding. We know all kinds of information about what our animals and our crops need. We even know what angle the fans are supposed to blow on the cows in the summer time! In response, we are getting higher milk production than ever before and higher crop yields.
Passion for agriculture is universal. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you are raising.
So this holiday season, enjoy the food put before you! You can be sure the farmer that grew it took great pride in the process. The only guilt you should have is when you look at the scales in January.