This week I had the grand opportunity to travel to the land of beautiful people ~
for the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Food Dialogues. Though a Californian all of my life I had
never had the chance to venture south to Hollywood, California
and quite honestly it was a nice place to experience but love my ranch life
just a wee bit more ~ actually a lot more.
Nonetheless I am so very appreciative to the National Cattlemen’s Beef
Association www.beef.org for inviting me as their guest.
I was fortunate enough to listen to two panels, one discussing pop culture and their connect to agriculture and then a tour of a
farm. Both were really well done and the panel members were unique to various
different areas of expertise. Organic
walnut grower, sustainable food systems advisor, a farmer, a rancher, celebrity
chef, television director and producer, and a professor of ag communications
were just a sampling of those that contributed to the day’s discussion.
I can probably go into in depth analysis of what each had to say but what I thought was truly important was the bottom line that at the end of the day what did everyone have in common? A passion! I am a firm proponent of passion and following your bliss. Each and every one of these folks were committed to their specific industry and savvy enough to truly listen to each other, try to understand each other and converse with each other. That is what it is all about as far as I am concerned. If we can engage in conversations with all corners of beliefs we can share our stories, we can experience each other, we can get a taste of the heart and soul of what each person brings to the table.
I was proud of our ag folks that represented all of us for I believe they truly brought a face to what agriculture is all about, farming and ranching is real, it is who we are, it is not computer generated, it is people getting after it each and every day and I think that those not directly involved in agriculture learned that on this special day. As many of these folks I am committed to learning all I can about all thoughts on our industry, eager to engage and share and let my ag story tell itself through my passion and experiences.
I think Jeff Fowle (farmer/rancher/my friend) said it best ~ we don’t resist change, we resist being changed. I thought of that for a long while and it is so very true. I think more and more farmers and ranchers are open to getting the conversation going , trying to understand what needs to be done yet keeping to their values and who they are at their core but possibly tweaking a bit and making a change to make it all work for the good of the industry as a whole. What we don’t like is someone telling us we must change; we want to make that decision on our own.
Some might think I am an ultra optimist ~ I believe in the future of agriculture and the future of you and I, I believe in what we are doing to get the conversations going. I am afraid the days of keeping to ourselves is over , for us to be successful in agriculture we must make the effort to share, to converse, to open up about what we do , who we are, why it is important to us. I am a firm believer that if you speak from the heart and share who you are and maybe yes even letting yourself be a bit vulnerable who can tell you that you are wrong? WE are doing good things , WE as an industry are making good strides, I believe that though at times we get frustrated with all that is handed to us each and every day we must find balance with it all. Together we can sort through it and make a difference. I am optimistic , we have to be if we are gonna get it done !
Thank You NCBA for the work you do on behalf of cattle ranchers nationwide, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of you for a day ~ I truly enjoyed it all !
The United States Farmers and Ranchers
(USFRA) is a
newly formed alliance consisting of a wide range of prominent farmer and
rancher led organizations and agriculture partners. This marks the first time agriculture groups
at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to lead the
dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food ~ while
being stewards of the environment , responsibly caring for our animals and
maintaining strong businesses and communities.