A big thank you to Amanda Nolz for mentioning me and my idea of the “Ag Proud” theme in her post on BEEF Daily for Beef Magazine. In case you missed it, here is the link. I am still coming to terms with the fact that so many people have shown interest in a simple idea of mine. If you may have missed out on previous posts on the topic, I decided to give you a little background on myself and share how the “Ag Proud” idea was started, and where I would love to see it go.
I grew up on a diversified cattle operation near Searcy, Arkansas. My dad operated a ranch with 1,000 head of commercial Angus cows and a stocker cattle operation that handled more than 10,000 head annually. My passion for the cattle industry started at an early age with lots of bottle calves and show market steers and Angus cattle at the county fair. During my summer breaks, I worked in the feedyards of the Texas Panhandle and on a ranch in Wyoming where commercial Angus cattle are raised for natural beef. I had the opportunity to attend Oklahoma State University for my final two years of college and this is where I have been able to strengthen my passion and knowledge of cattle production.
After graduation, I will be moving to Dalhart, Texas to work with a feedlot. I plan on sharing my experiences working there to share the feedlot story “straight from the feed bunk”, if you will. From an “agvocacy” standpoint, I feel this is a great opportunity to share a point of view that is often covered up by the negative stories about CAFO’s. The goal for myself is to one day be able to make a difference in the cattle industry through whatever opportunities come my way.
The idea for the “I am Agriculture Proud” theme came from a post I saw on Twitter asking people why they were proud to work in Agriculture on the week of Ag Day. I asked myself the question and posted my response in a post on Working Ranch Magazine’s blog (WorkingRanchtv.com/blogs). After posting the link on Twitter and Facebook, I received several responses, so I reposted ten to share with everyone on social media, the WR blog, as well as my personal blog. In response to that post, I received several responses and decided that there needed to be a group where people could post their responses for everyone to see. That is the reason to creating it and 12 days later there were 2,000 members in the group.
My goal for the “Ag Proud” theme is for people in all walks of Agriculture to share their personal reasons and passions for being proud to be a part of Agriculture. Not many people ask why one is proud of what they do, and even more do not realize how interested others may be in what they have to say. I know I sure was not expecting such a strong response from such a simple story. This is why I want to see people continue to share what makes them proud to be a part of Agriculture. It is the simple things like fixing fence after a storm, saving a newborn calf from the winter cold, or the daily chores we do that interest others the most.
I would really like for Agriculture to refocus on the simpler stories because so many people get wrapped up in defending the whole industry that they forget to tell their own story. I want to see people sharing their “Agriculture Journal” online through blogs and social networking sites, but most importantly to be proactive and share why they are “Ag Proud.” with those who they meet in their communities.
I would love to see the entire Ag community embrace the idea of being “Ag Proud.”. I want to see farmers, ranchers, and all those working with Ag products to share their personal story, because I believe consumers and the American public are ready for a down-to-earth, simple version of how their food is produced. It is so inspiring to read others’ accounts that I want everyone to be able to read our stories. I will keep sharing why I am proud to be a part of Agriculture and have found that I can sum it up best like this: “Agriculture, It’s more than part of life. It’s a passion, a lifestyle, a resilient community that works hard to feed the world!”