“Well in the town where I was raised, the clock ticked and the cattle grazed Time passed with amazing grace….. Back where I come from”
- Kenny Chesney
photo courtesy: http://ourfamilyfarm.wordpress.com/2010/12/
I have grown up on a fifth generation farm in a rural area of Tennessee where my family and I raise beef cattle and have a hay crop each year. To me, that is a normal way of living. A typical day is filled with checking the cows, performing routine herd maintenance, driving the tractor, putting up hay, caring for sick animals, and YES, even the dreaded task of mending broken fences. Sure, it has its ups and downs BUT it’s a life style that I would not trade for anything.
I say all of this to inform you that, farm and ranch families compromise ONLY 2% of the U.S. population (Big shout out to the few and the proud—yahoo!)
But, this can mean several things for the agriculture industry. First, several farming operations are being overcome by factory farms (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) but unfortunately the average American farmer is losing out on the benefits from living on a farm and being involved in production agriculture. It’s disheartening. Secondly, the average American is at least two generations removed from the farm. The gap between the farmer and the consumer is growing, and it shows through the 2% of family farms that make up our population.
So here is my challenge to the farm families out there- keep up your hard work! It is through your hard work, dedication, and resilience that our industry is able to thrive. But also, remember that we are becoming few and far between so we must use this to advocate for the industry and let the average consumer know the TRUTH about what happens in production agriculture.
We may be small but we are MIGHTY!
Remember this is our story. Be proud of it.