How you can make 2011 a great year for agriculture

January 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

By Cyndi Young and Brownfield Ag News for America:

Commentary. I’m pecking away on the computer keyboard in my home office in the second story of our old farm house, watching it rain “cats and dogs” on the final day of 2010. Although it is in this chair that I sit to write many of the columns that appear in this paper, the discussions leading to the topic of these columns more often than not take place in another office on this farm – the office in the barn.

It is in that office, wearing boots with treads caked with cow manure (and mud on this day) that my husband and I discuss politics, religion and the economy. Although we don’t always agree 100% and sometimes cancel each other’s vote at our local polling place, there are many issues for which we share great concern and passion.

I remember the day, after weeks of hearing Jim voice his disapproval for actions (or lack thereof) of lawmakers, I laid in front of him a call sheet, listing phone numbers for those representing our interests in Washington, D.C. My message to him, “I cannot fix what is bothering you. Here are the phone numbers of those who have the power to do something.”

And so it began. Instead of cussing and discussing, he invested some time each week to call our senators and representatives. Rarely did he actually speak with the lawmaker, but did get the ear of their aides. Some of them didn’t much like what it was he had to say. Others listened and asked questions, and answered those he posed.

I wouldn’t label my husband a political activist, but he did take the information gained from these conversations with congressional aides to educate others with shared concerns as well as those with opposing views.

I share this story with you on the final day of 2010 because I believe that if each one of us would invest the time to make the calls, the grassroots of this country would be heard and recognized much more clearly. I don’t care, as I’ve said a million times, if your political views lean to the left or to the right. I do believe that it is our responsibility as citizens to be a part of the process.

Animal rights activists, modern-day luddites and some environmental activists don’t care if your family farm has been passed from generation to generation. They do not care that animal welfare practices, too, have been passed from generation to generation. They do not care that your use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides is precise. They do not want animals raised for food and they do not want farmers to utilize modern crop protection tools.

Charitable donations to the groups that are working so hard to put your family farm out of business and turn consumers into vegetarians have risen exponentially in recent years. These anti-organizations are investing hundreds of millions of dollars domestically and internationally to change – and ultimately destroy – American agriculture.

We must tell our stories to those who have the power to make a difference. We can talk to each other until our faces turn blue, but we have to do more.

Pay attention to bills introduced in the statehouse as well as in Washington, D.C. You and I vote for our lawmakers. We put them there and they work for us. We need to make sure they are held accountable for actions they take – either by introducing, supporting, or opposing bills that impact animal agriculture.

2011 can be a great year for American agriculture. Please call someone who can make a difference.

The opinions expressed in the above post represent the thoughts and feelings of the blogger, and not necessarily NYFEA as a whole.

This April, NYFEA will unite with young ag leaders across the country to spread the message of agriculture across Washington D.C.  For more information, visit http://agriculturespromise.com .  As more info about the event becomes available, we’ll keep posting about – so be sure to check back!

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Entry filed under: Agriculture's Promise 2011, Featured Articles.

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