As I’ve been traveling around the country much of this summer, I have encountered a slew of people from many walks of life. We all come from different places and have different ways of doing things. And likely, just as many different preferences for the food we eat. Agriculture innovations become part of that story in interesting ways.
On Labor Day, I was at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At the lodge, unless you make dinner reservations, the back deck overlooking the canyon is open seating. Grab a seat, share a table and watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon while burgers and sandwiches are delivered in to-go boxes.
This post is sponsored by AGCO; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
On my last night, after a 14-mile run/hike on the North Kaibab Trail, I was sitting at a table waiting for my burger, when two couples asked to share the table with me. Turns out they were from California and one of the older guys lit up with excitement when I mentioned working in agriculture and knowing California farmers.
We discussed a wide-array of topics and soon his whole party had surrounded me at the table and most were listening in as we talked water and labor issues, feeding cattle and even some reproductive issues (his wife was a former ob-gyn and their friend was a pharmacist, and I studied reproductive physiology – so not completely out of far left field).
I had to stop and laugh at myself for a moment. Here I was on vacation, recovering from a very hot run/hike in the Grand Canyon, and I found myself in an energetic conversation answering an array of questions about livestock and agriculture. That’s supposed to be my day job. Isn’t vacation a time to leave this stuff behind!?
Well, fortunately, I grew up working and not knowing what a vacation was. My dad’s idea of time off was driving from eastern Arkansas to Amarillo, Texas so we could see our cattle in the feedlots on Spring Break. Nowadays, I find myself with vacation time (according to the calendar), but I never really step away from my role of representing agriculture, the farmers and ranchers I work for, or the stories I have to share about the food we eat.
While farming and ranching have strong emotional ties for most Americans, however many generations removed that may be, food is a topic we can all relate to. These new friends I met from California while at the Grand Canyon were certainly intrigued by my work in agriculture and have many perceptions about how they knew food was once produced and what they believe agriculture looks like today.
Truth is, our community has made strides of improvement through technology, innovation, and investment in equipment to help us do our jobs better while working toward global food security. That early-90s model Massey Ferguson I drove as a kid that seemed newer at the time is far behind in technology years compared to modern equipment that carries several devices for navigation and precision farming in the field.
Today, we often find that farmers are criticized for not farming the way they used to. Consumers aren’t scared of technology. We just haven’t kept them in the loop as we’ve been working to advance and become more precise and efficient in our work.
Thankfully, companies like AGCO (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are stepping up to help farmers and ranchers, not only the in the field with commitment to innovations in equipment, boosting productivity and reducing post-harvest losses, but also supporting advocates like myself who are working to share the stories of food, agriculture and the people who are involved in bringing food from pasture to plate.
Consider this thought today – How can you share your story of innovation and technology? Did agriculture choose you? Or did you choose agriculture? The tools of the trade continue to evolve and that’s a story we should be proud of and willing to share.
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