3 years! Can you believe it? Prior to National Ag Day 2010, I was involved in social media and advocating for the agriculture industry, but I had yet to really find my spot. That all changed with one tweet. I posted my response on the Working Ranch magazine blog I was writing at the time and received far more response than I could have ever imagined. That planted the seed for this blog and the I am Agriculture Proud theme I use across several Social Media platforms.
Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?
I feel it appropriate to share those original thoughts on National Agriculture Day 2013 and encourage you to do the same.
Here’s the original Agriculture Proud blog post from 2010:
It is National Agriculture Day! Did you thank a farmer and rancher for their hard work to produce the food that ends up on your plate? If not, you should do it today, as well as the other 364 days in the year.
In case you missed it, this was National Agriculture Week; a week for the celebration of agriculture and an opportunity to educate the public about the good story we have to tell. Since I was on the couch for half of the week (wisdom teeth were just cut out on Spring Break), I had the opportunity to follow several conversations on Social Media about the event. There are so many stories being told about what agvocates are doing to spread the word about agriculture. One post caught my eye when someone asked the question “Why are you proud to be a part of Agriculture?”
Why am I proud to be a part of the cattle industry? For starters, it is what my family does for a living, so there is a bit of family pride in it for me. Despite having four other siblings at home, I am the only one that has taken a strong interest in working with cattle. When my dad reaches the age where he can no longer take care of the place, and I have had my fill of the world, I plan to return home and help him run things.
The more political answer to that question is that I am humbled by the knowledge that each of our cattle feeds a family somewhere in the world. This means our cattle not only provide the beef in our family freezer, but also the freezer of a family in California, Virginia, Japan, and Australia. The meat shelves at grocery stores around the world are filled with safe, quality American beef, and I am proud to know that I had a hand in that. Today the average US producer feeds 155 people in a growing global market.
I get a personal satisfaction out of being a small producer. There is a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day when the cattle are fed, the newborn calves are off to a good start, and a few more chores are marked off the to-do list. A hard day’s work put in on the family’s place is a job well done. There is nothing like being out in the pasture and just soaking it all up on a wonderful summer day.
Media and animal rights groups are throwing around the “factory farm” label for American agriculture today, but the truth is the cattle industry continues to remain a relatively small-minded industry. I took a minute to study the 2007 US Ag census data today and found that 89% (728,992) of cattle operations have an inventory of less than 100 head, making up 40% (29,858,211) of the US cattle inventory. The average inventory for US cattle operations is just short of 91 head. Does not sound like much of a “factory” now does it? Sure, there are 665 operations with more than 2,500 cattle but they only make up 0.08% of the operations and 6% of the national inventory.
The cattle industry may be growing, some operations may be getting larger, but the small operations will always be the grassroots of the industry. What makes you proud to be a part of the cattle industry? Let me hear about it. Find me on Facebook or Twitter.