During Seminar II in the Tidewater area and the Eastern Shore, I was reminded of how each of us brings value to situations. One of my first bookkeeping clients told me that as an ER Nurse for over 30 years – she could take a body apart and put it back together but couldn’t balance her checkbook. In that same fashion, I was blown away by the logistics at Perdue Agribusiness and the sheer volume of products that move through that facility every year. Mr. Ray Keating gave us a tour that day and ran through the day-to-day operation of this export facility. Ray helps coordinate entire ships of soybeans in various forms to travel worldwide, and I was in awe. What struck me was that in conversation, Ray said to one of my classmates, a full-time soybean farmer, that he could never do what he does. It was a reminder that we can be the hero in anyone’s story.
At the end of our Seminar, we visited Seafield Farm – a small, husband and wife vegetable operation. It was the most beautiful garden I think I have ever seen. With gorgeous fall vegetables against the marshy backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, it was something to behold. Jenna is fairly new to the agriculture world and is pretty much self-taught in her craft.
We saw such a wide array of operations on this trip – farms that harvest thousands of acres, a busy cotton gin, Birdsong Peanuts… and Jenna’s one acre vegetable farm that has helped her create a beautiful life for her family. All of these people, all along these supply chains all have valuable insights about the agriculture industry. I think it’s important all of those sizes understand their value and voice.
Our beef farm isn’t exactly conventional. We’re small enough to adjust and adapt quicker than farms 10 times our size. We offer farm-direct, grass-finished beef that defies the odds and produces a really quality product. Many people in the industry think we’re crazy, but it works for us. It won’t work for everyone, and we certainly can’t feed the world farming the way we do. That doesn’t mean we don’t have value and a voice when it comes to agriculture.
Jenna and her beautiful vegetable garden were just as much a hero in my story during this seminar as was Mr. Keating at Purdue or the Rogers Family in Wakefield, who farm thousands of acres. Great people with a passion for agriculture, no matter their size!