I’ve always been proud to be from a farm family, although I do remember going through a phase of saying, “I’m never going to marry a farmer!” Note to self: ‘never say never.’
My paternal grandfather worked for my grandmother’s father. He married the farmer’s daughter, and moved down the road, just outside of Ann Arbor, Mich. He raised six sons and a daughter, farmed with Belgian horses, and produced corn, hay and purebred Chester Whites. He took pigs to county fairs all over the state and was a constant presence at the Michigan State Fair.
My father was born in an upstairs bedroom of the house my grandpa bought from Sears & Roebuck. As the youngest brother, he stayed on the farm while his brothers served in WWII. He eventually bought the farm from his siblings, and continued to add rented land to ultimately operate more than 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, in addition to a purebred Yorkshire herd along with the Chesters. Until 13 months ago, he still lived in that house.
My brother and two of my brother-in-laws are actively engaged in farming, and at least three of my nephews are involved in agriculture in one form or another, so the tradition continues through yet another generation. This historical biography should provide context as to why I’m so passionate about agriculture and why I want farmers to be successful.
We’ve had lots of positive buzz about U.S. agriculture in the last 30 days. The Super Bowl ad featuring the role of farmers in America has been shared millions of times. Not only has it increased awareness among non-farm consumers about agriculture, but it translated into a $1 million donation to FFA in less than five days.
Trent Loos, a long-time advocate for agriculture, reminds us that although the public has tremendous support for farmers, there is too little knowledge about farming. Loos asserts the Super Bowl ad creates a great opportunity for those who grow food to connect with consumers, not only on the values associated with producing food, but also on the best management practices used in the process.
If you only saw the ad one time, watch it again. And the next time you’re having a rough day, or prices go down, or you’re waiting for rain, or your sow herd breaks with disease, watch that video. It will help remind you why you’re in this business.