I find this pretty interesting. Out of 5 kids in my family, I am the only one with the slightest interest in a future in Agriculture. I’ve got a brother who is into mechanics, another that has interest in accounting/banking, a sister that’s smarter than us all and loves science, and another that… (well I’m not sure what she wants to do). Point being, I’m the only one carrying on agriculture in my family.

My brother and I went for a drive a few weeks ago. He’s starting his Senior year in high school and already thinking about college. He is looking into the accounting field and business. My family probably gets tired of my agvocacy (It might come up often). In passing, I usually mention jobs and careers in agriculture related fields, usually sparking up crickets. To be honest, it kinda frustrates me. So I asked my brother, why not go into AgBusiness in college. You can still do accounting, get most of the skills of a business major, but in an ag setting, and have an additional skills that’ll help your career in this rural part of the country. I get an automatic shut out.

So we decide to approach it as a debate, just to get thoughts out there and keep some type of conversation flowing. He says there is no interest in agriculture, and not everyone has to be in ag production. We still need processing and transport for food.

True. So I come up with this description. In my generation, with all our spouses, I’ll be one person producing food for 10 people. Suppose we all have only 2 kids, only of my continues in ag production. That’s one person feeding 20 people; only accounting for his generation. They all have 2 kids, only one of my grandkids continues in ag production. That’s one person feeding 40 people; only accounting for his generation. And the math goes on.

Sure this is only one family, a hypothetical situation. But I’m pretty certain we’re not the only family like this. Kids are leaving the family farm for jobs in town and in a long shot, some will return as hobby farmers later in life. The numbers add up pretty quick and it’s no wonder the population of the farming community continues to shrink, in relation to the total population. Farmers are forced to produce more with less and this is where “conventional” methods have come into play. Sure “organic” farming or “the way grandpa used to do things” is romantic, but it’s not always sustainable when the percentage of producers is not growing in this country.

Back to the conversation, my brother responds to the math by suggesting, maybe one of his kids decides to go into farming.

I ask how that’s gonna happen. He says they’ll get interest from exposure, maybe spending the weekend with a relative or something.

Ah ha! That’s it. The only way this kid (who grows up in town with non-ag parents) gains interest in ag production is by outside exposure. It’s my job to invite him to the farm on weekends and summers, spark that interest and feed any inspiration for a future in agriculture.

I’m always prodding for my brothers and sisters to engage in agriculture, and unless I do, how else will they learn? It’s the job of those involved in agriculture to find and feed that interest in others. Unless we agvocate for our cause, find those with interest, and feed that interest, the agriculture community will struggle to grow.

Now I know that part of my agvocate effort is to feed the interest of others to learn about agriculture, share my passion in hopes of inviting others to join me. Even if they find a future in agriculture isn’t for them, at least they’ll have someone to turn to with questions. It kinda seems like a mind game, but then again, if you show interest, of course I want you to come over and join the team. Isn’t that what all advocate efforts look for?

What inspires you to advocate for your cause? Did you find involvement in your passion due to the efforts of someone outside of your immediate family?

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