March 25 is National Ag Day -- a day to pat your tummy and say thanks to a farmer without whom that tummy would be growling with hunger.
Each farmer/rancher in the U.S. feeds 144 people in the U.S. and abroad. In the 1960s, each farmer fed just 25.
As each generation gets farther and farther from the farm, it becomes more and more important to educate Americans about where their food comes from and how it gets to their tables.
When food consumers have never sat around a table and heard grandpa or Uncle Bill or Dad talk about the challenges of farming, they begin to think raising food is easy. When consumers never see a farmer trek through the snow to save a cold baby calf or spend a whole day in the heat repairing a combine or watch a big black cloud demolish a complete crop, they begin to believe that farmers are in it "just for the money."
It is up to us, the producers of 2014, to tell our stories and educate our consumers so they can truly appreciate the men and women producing the food to keep their tummies happy.
Other producers of goods and services advertise their products. We can begin our own private advertising by talking about what we do with the people we meet — our families, the guy who sits next to us on the plane, the clerk at the store, the kids in our schools, the people at our church, etc.
We need to begin challenging the myths about farming and ranching and letting consumers know that food is produced by real people -- people who care about the welfare of our animals, crops, and natural resources; people who face the elements and financial challenges every day so consumers can have a safe, steady supply of food; people who live in families and work together long hours so their children can have a healthy diet.
We can help tell the story by joining with other farmers and ranchers in organizations that educate consumers. It doesn’t cost much to join an ag org. As they say in other advertising “just pennies a day.” In most ag organizations, it comes to “less than a penny a day.”
For example, the dues for Women Involved in Farm Economics are just $80 a year. For those dues, you get educational activities for people of all ages, information so you can be better informed, and a chance to make your voice heard on legislative and regulatory issues.
It’s up to you and me to tell the story, not just for National Ag Day but every day of the year. Have you considered joining others in doing just that?
By Pam Potthoff, President, Nebraska Women Involved in Farm Economics