Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If we don't tell our story, who will?

Let's face it, more and more people are disconnected with agriculture. From little kids (and adults for that matter!) thinking that brown cows make chocolate milk to consumers only buying organic, because they think it's safer for them, agriculture is up against some pretty big challenges.

Lately, I've become enthralled with the concept of using social media (Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc.) to tell agriculture's story. As farmers (and those who grew up on farms), we are the best experts out there when it comes to how food is produced. Therefore, it is our responsibility to share that message whenever possible.

This week, I created a Facebook fan page for Dial Dairy Farm, Greg's family's farm. It's a fair-sized operation, not huge by any standards (about 150 milking cows and 150 replacement heifers). Many old-school farmers would argue that they don't need to do anything as far as neighbor relations are concerned. Well, folks, the times they are a-changing. In the olden days, maybe they wouldn't need to use public relations, but the times we live in are different. As I drive down the road, I see new houses with people who have migrated from cities. Will those people, who have never stepped foot on a farm, understand the not-so-pleasant aroma drifting across their yard when Greg cleans out the manure pond? Will those people understand the noise from equipment here in a couple of weeks when they start planting hours upon hours each day? Will those people understand that when calves cry, they're just making their voices heard, and they're not being abused? I hope so, but chances might be slim.

A Facebook page for a farm- I doubt our grandparents would have ever seen it coming. The fact of the matter is, however, that we're in a different world, and it's up to our generation to reach out to our neighbors. The future of agriculture depends upon it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Long overdue post

I'm sure you've been waiting anxiously for my latest update, so here goes!

I am officially on spring break. We had Good Friday off, then all of this week as well. It's kind of weird not being at school. Weirder yet is the fact that when we go back, there are only 6 weeks left in this school year. I don't know how I'm going to finish everything I want to get through with my students! This school year has definitely flown by. I still get questions pretty much constantly of, "How are things going?" with that concerned kind of eyebrow raise and quiet voice. I think people must believe I'm sugarcoating things when I say, "They're great!" I know that I was probably temporarily insane when I accepted the position, but it is going so much better than I could have imagined. I definitely have top-notch students. Every day, it is more and more my program. Sure, there are frustrations, but I really do enjoy it.

Easter weekend was nice. Greg and I went to my mom's for lunch on Saturday and spent some time with the family. His family had dinner yesterday, so we also hung out with them for a while. My culinary masterpieces continue to amaze me. I cooked the ham for Saturday, which wasn't that big of a deal, but yesterday I made a cheese tray (complete with the crinkle cuts, thanks to my Pampered Chef gadget), cream cheese and chocolate chip dip for graham crackers, and grasshopper pie. I was quite proud of my Better Crocker-ness. Of course, the food and fellowship bow in comparison to the real reason for Easter- Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and rising again!

Greg is getting pretty busy preparing to be in the fields. Some times I wish I understood more of what's going on. I feel like he has to explain it to be 53 times before I comprehend. Then, I think about the fact that I have an ag background. How must people who have no idea what agriculture is view planting season? 

More to come later. :)