Sue McCrum, American Agri-WomenMy e-mail box was filling up. Comments were coming in. What was all the chatter about? Another attempt to influence what Americans think about agriculture – this time through a restaurant chain’s ad campaign.
Here’s my view and it’s not an ad campaign. It comes from how I live my life every day. I’m part of a fifth generation potato and grain farm in northern Maine. Our family farm dates back to 1886. And I take it personally when misinformation misleads Americans about their food supply.
I am fortunate to have just spent the past four days in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Outlook Forum. I represented American Agri-Women at the conference and met with others who know that 98% of the farms in the United States are family owned. My family and the generations before us have worked the same lands to help feed America and the world.
We go about our days providing the most abundant, safe and affordable food this world has to offer. We do this with past knowledge and the use of proven sound scientific facts.
When we rise in the morning to check on our crops and livestock, there is a sense of pride and excitement as that sun rises to greet us. We wave to our neighbors and those going by on the highway. We meet with those who work for us. We put our children on the bus, headed for school. Some of us wave goodbye as we head to off-farm jobs. We head down the road in winter and help plow snow out of a neighbor’s yard. We attend school board meetings and participate as members of the local town councils. We volunteer in Girl/Boy scouts, 4-H and any other program offered in our communities.
Our family-owned lands are shared with snowmobilers, hunters and fishermen during the different seasons of the year. And, yes, many a good citizen from our town comes to watch what we are doing on our farm throughout our different seasons. Our doors are wide open to visitors because we have pride in what we raise on our farm. We pay our taxes. We are good citizens.
Don’t be fooled by Hollywood productions or slick marketing campaigns that are aimed at an uninformed consumer. And, for us in agriculture, we need to guard against misinformation – attacks – that pit us against each other.
As Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has said, “Our value system here in the United States is fueled by farmers and ranchers with their good stewardship of rural lands which are passed on to the next generation.”