In the past 8 years of speaking, I have stood on a ‘bully pulpit’ and likely asked more than 100,000 people to stand up and speak out for agriculture. In order for this to happen, I encouraged farm folks to overcome their natural modesty. After all, it’s impossible to put a face on the plate if there aren’t any faces willing to step forward or voices to go with them.

As a farm girl, I thought I understood how modesty is  branded on nearly every child born on a farm. Then some in the ag community taught me otherwise when they successfully campaigned to have @mpaynknoper (that’s me) as one of Mashable’s Top 5 Twitter Users of the Year.  While it was touching to see the ag community together come together and I understood it was a real opportunity to showcase agriculture’s voice, I was embarrassed.  I honestly didn’t really feel like I deserved the nomination. It was really hard time asking people to “vote” for me (kind of gave me a queasy feeling). And what if some one found out that it was just little old me?

Words aren’t quite easy to slide down the tongue when you have to eat them.  I had a handful of people who would directly quote me whenever I protested. However, at the end of this campaign, I still ask every person who’s connected to a farm or a farmer to be less humble. Yes, it’s painful to sometimes draw attention to yourself. Yes, it feels like bragging. Yes, it is not natural for the agricultural community to stand up and say “LOOK AT ME.”  Yes, speaking out will make you uneasy. However, we must – if we don’t, there are certainly people who are pointing fingers that say “look at them – those terrible farmers.”

Speaking from experience, swallowing humility is better than the very bitter pill being forced upon us by the activists. Why don’t you try it out as you celebrate this holiday season?

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