March 2009

In today’s world of information overload, it’s rare that a piece captures my complete attention. Even rarer is video footage  that’s worth 20 minutes of viewing. This presentation by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs held my attention multiple times – and I think it’s worthy of yours.

He clearly outlines the need for correcting misconceptions, overcoming complacency and building work ethic based upon his experiences as an “apprentice” with manual laborers.  Rowe describes working with a rancher to castrate lambs and finding firsthand that “humane” techniques aren’t necessarily the “right thing to do” as compared the practical application learned by people who have decades experience with animals – and knows what is best for the animals.  He learned firsthand that misconceptions can cause pain, literally and figuratively. (more…)

Natioagday_logonal Agriculture Week is is coming to a close in the U.S., with the grand finale falling on the first day of spring.  Designed to “recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture” it’s a week filled with breakfasts, school visits, educational displays to help people remember that food does not come from a grocery store or a factory.

However, I have to ask the question…does anyone outside of agriculture care?  It’s very telling of this country’s mindset about food production when we have to proclaim a week to draw attention to products featured at  three meals daily.  Now, before I ruffle any feathers, please know that I applaud and support the efforts of Ag Council of America, the official coordinators of Ag Day. It is a great tool for agriculturists to reach out in their communities and build understanding.  If you haven’t seen the fact sheet, take a look at (more…)

When I was a little girl growing up on a family dairy farm, I clearly remember the pain associated with the death of an animal.  I also remember seeing animals butchered and being “grossed out.”  However, I knew the animals we raised served a purpose greater than being my pet- to provide nourishment to humans.  That’s a perspective shared by most farm kids, but is missing from the 98.5% of people not directly involved in production agriculture. (more…)

Michael Pollan of the New York Times and author of In Defense of Food, has gained a passionate following.  Many in our business don’t buy that Pollan’s in touch with modern agriculture.  He’s working on a new, likely very profitable book, and wants reader input on food rules. “In recent years, we’ve deferred to the voices of science and industry when it comes to eating, yet often their advice has served us poorly…” (more…)

Last week I had the privilege of  “coaching” the Young Dairy Leaders Institute, a dynamic international group of advocates for agriculture.  We build the two-year program around advocacy as a lifestyle rather than a singular training event.  Given the 50% decline in milk prices at the bulk tank over the last few months, one of the necessary teaching points was resiliency.  (more…)