Part of this month’s theme on AgProud is to share why we are thankful to be a part of Agriculture. This includes thanking the farmers and ranchers who produce the food on our tables and sharing what is so great about being a part of Agriculture. Today’s guest post is from Kelly M. Rivard, college student, author behind Midwestern Gold, and avid Agvocate. Thank you so much Kelly for sharing with us why you are Ag-Thankful.

I am agriculture proud.  I’m proud to know that I have the fortune of being connected with the people who work around the clock to raise nutritious, affordable, diverse, and efficient products.  I’m proud to know that I can go to the grocery, pick up a jug of milk, and say that I’ve visited a dairy that sells to that co-op.  I’m proud that I can choose to buy that fancy organic arugula by the ounce, or the bulk lettuce that comes by the bag.  I’m proud to personally call the people that make these things possible “friends.”

With that pride, however, comes gratitude.  I am ag proud.  I am also ag thankful.
Showing my love for local food. It's our diverse food system that gives me the option to eat food from down the road, or across the country.
I set out to write this post with an intention to say that the gracious, hard-working farmers and ranchers across the country make it possible for less-than-fortunate people to afford food.  Having grown up in a family of little means, I still foster a constant sense of financial insecurity.  I was going to highlight that, and how I’m thankful for an agriculture industry that can produce food so efficiently that I never had to experience true hunger.  We almost always had access to beef (our own) but when you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, it’s because of the good grace of God and the hard work of cost-effective producers that we had access to other food, food that we needed to have well-rounded and nutritious meals.  We were hardly the least-fortunate of people, but things were tough.  At least we could always afford food, though.
I was going to write an entire post about that.  However, I got to thinking.  That’s not the only thing that agriculture has to offer.  Now that I’m older, a little more cultured, and my family is in a much better place, I have a better understanding for the other side of the agriculture industry.  I understand the variety.  The versatility.  I can pay a higher price for a specialized product, or go to the more cost-efficient options.  I have no preference over one or the other, all options have their place.  I am agriculture thankful, because I have choices.
I’m also thankful for the people.  The men and women I’ve met because of the agriculture industry are nothing short of amazing.  My friends across the many different industry segments have been fantastic influences in my life, in one way or another.  Whether it’s because of their knowledge, their insights, or even just the simple fact of their friendship, they’ve had an impact on my life.
You see, I can’t pick a single reason to be agriculture thankful, just as I couldn’t possibly find a single standalone reason to be agriculture proud.  There are too many things to count.  There are too many things to consider and too many stories too tell and too many emotions that elicit acknowledgement.
So, this Thanksgiving, whether you pick up a specialty-raised free-range turkey, or your class Jennie-O 18-pound-big-boy, or you go for homemade mashed potatoes or boxed potatoes…be thankful.  No matter what your choice is, who you’re celebrating with, or how much you spent, someone somewhere worked hard to bring that product to you.  Somewhere down the line of the various food paths, all the way back at the origin, a farmer or rancher put hours upon hours of care and consideration into the growth and nurturing of that food.  I am agriculture thankful, and you should be too.
Want to hear more stories like this? Tune in the rest of November for more guest posts from great people involved in Agriculture and those that are thankful to work with Agriculture producers. Want to share your story? Send me an email to find out how. (