So let's talk about what makes me #agproud. There are so many things but I think at a base level what makes me most proud is the people involved in agriculture. My Dad used to tell me this over and over that the best part of agriculture was the people. I don't think I ever fully appreciated this until just a little over 5 years ago. As I steeled my emotional composure for his services at his celebration of life I took a look at the overfilled parking lot outside of the church. Seeing the plethora of pickups of all makes and models with some sporting spring mud and a few flatbeds with bales of hay was certainly a "I told you so" moment for me.
Everyone from those in production ag to those that help make it go by driving trucks, selling seed, or installing a GPS navigation system on a tractor or picking crops. My Dad had a firm belief that most of these people were great people and I would concur. We will use the term #agproud and the letters to compose this word to define why these are such great people and why I am #agproud.
Agproud "A" Appreciative; people in ag are thankful to be able to do what they do for a living. They understand that life is not always perfect but the chance to be connected to such a basic thing as raising food for people is a noble endeavor. They appreciate the chance to share Mother Natures beauty as well as her tribulations in what they do every day. They appreciate the opportunity to teach their children and grandchildren a work ethic and the joys of life and the realities of eventual death for all living things.
aGproud "G" Generous; generous with their time,money and talents. Time by coaching kids sports teams, volunteering to lead events like county fairs and participating on school boards etc. Money by supporting 4H and FFA kids at their market stock sales, scholarship drives as well as supporting things like disaster relief for those in need. Generous with their talents by helping a sick neighbor in need to plant a crop or calve out their cows. I have witnessed this so many times at such a common level but it never fails to amaze me how generous they are even when sometimes it isn't the best choice to their own operations or circumstances from a monetary standpoint.
agProud "P" Passionate; No matter where I travel, no matter what segment of the ag industry these people are connected to, they live and breathe what they do everyday. They do it with a passion and vigor that is hard to find industry wide in any other calling.I have yet to meet someone involved with agriculture that lacks a passion in their life for what they do.
agpRoud "R" Respectful; I have yet to attend an ag related event where I wondered why a younger person did not hold the door open for an elder. People in ag do the little things like say "please" and "thank you" and they mean it. They also carry a great respect for the land, their animals and for those who came before them in this ever evolving industry.
agprOud "O" Observant and Optimistic; People in ag have to be observant and they are good at it. They have to "see" that a particular calf might have a fever or a particular crop is lacking an individual nutrient and then make management decisions to remedy those situations. They also must observe things like weather and market trends and constantly do a delicate dance with that information. They know by the return of certain species that spring has arrived and by the color of a crop that it is ready to harvest. Optimistic in even when markets are not good or weather not perfect that in the long run it will work itself out. Optimistic that in every mistake there is a life lesson, in every disaster an opportunity in the future.
agproUd "U" Unique; I firmly believe that people in ag will often fool those who try to stereotype them or their individual personalities. That lady brand inspector might be the most gifted and artistic leather worker and that broken down bowlegged pen rider might play the piano like Beethoven. That dairyman may have spent his younger years working on Transatlantic ships and have some great stories to share. When you open the door to a combine and hear Adele singing "Rolling in the Deep" or see someone that usually wears Wranglers and spurs in a suit testifying before a Senate hearing you should not be surprised.
agprouD "D" Dedicated; This trait is practically a necessity in the agriculture industry. There are so many other places where people with the intelligence and skills needed in ag that pay more, offer more time off, more certain hours and less uncertainty about the future than ag. It takes a special person that is dedicated to their passion to get into and stay in agriculture.
So I salute you fellow agriculturalists. I am very #agproud to be part of a group of so many people that are appreciative, generous, passionate, respectful, observant, optimistic, unique and dedicated. If you think agriculture is not important or part of your life you might one day be hungry and this Vern Gosdin song captures what you will be feeling. "Do you believe me now?"