Tell a farmer ‘thank you.’ Today.


Above: Note from a Farm and Dairy reader

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was eating lunch with some staff members at a local restaurant recently when a woman walked by, laid a napkin on his table, and kept on walking to the cash register.

“I picked up the napkin and noticed she had written a note on it,” Troxler wrote in the department’s blog March 11.

“It said, ‘Thank you for protecting our food supply.’

The woman was gone before Troxler could respond.

What a wonderful, unexpected reaffirmation of the work Troxler and others in the North Carolina department of agriculture are doing. A simple, heartfelt thank you.

Farm and Dairy received a similar hand-written note from a Geauga County reader last week, too. All it said was: “God bless the American Farmer! No one else is going to!!”

This is National Ag Week, and National Ag Day is traditionally celebrated on the first day of spring — this year on March 20. It is, I think, a good time to say thanks.

Thanks for doing a hundred thankless jobs. Who else wants to muck out stalls or scrape alleys or haul manure? Who else wants to milk cows two and three times a day, seven days a week? Who else wants to castrate or dehorn calves, or fill out reams of forms at the Farm Service Agency office? Who else wants to work in one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States?

Thanks for farming smarter these days. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile, I mean, John Deere. It’s not your father’s genetics or management or regulatory oversight, either. A farm is not a glorified garden. Managing a herd is not the same as fattening one steer or owning one horse.

Thanks for managing your soil runoff, for protecting water sources, for fencing livestock out of streams, for managing your woodlots. Natural resource protection measures benefit everyone, but we rely on you to implement them.

Thanks for reaching out to your neighbors, for pulling countless cars out of ditches or plowing a driveway in the winter. Thanks for supporting your industry’s youth through scholarships and fundraising drives and license plates.

Thanks for playing a role in producing products that would surprise many: from motion picture film to tar paper, and from fingernail polish to crayons.

Thanks for producing cold milk, juicy burgers, crisp red peppers and my morning bacon. Thanks for producing the cheese on my pizza (and the pizza dough and tomato sauce). And ice cream. Lots of ice cream.

Saying thanks was on the mind of this reader, who wrote some time ago to say: “How often is the lowly farmer simply not acknowledged for what he is, a true hero, a man of honor and a hard worker.

“How many farmers work jobs plus farm their land, and give 200 percent to their families and community with no word of thanks?”

“Let’s tell them how much we appreciate them and let them know. Our farmers are the heart and core of our nation.”

You can write it on a napkin or say it face to face. But consider thanking a farmer this week. And if you don’t know how, just send it our way. We’ll see that it gets to the right place.

Now you can follow Farm and Dairy and Editor Susan Crowell on Twitter.

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  1. Amen Susan!

    Honestly, I was guilty in the past of being the most uninformed consumer in the world. I just tossed whatever in my grocery basket with nary a care in the world. Where did that food come from? Well why did I care?

    The truth is, it is a gift that I am able to simply toss things into my basket – secure in the knowledge that the food I feed my family will be safe.

    So thank you!

    Furthermore, as you state so eloquently, many of our farmers and their families are the first to show up, support, donate to everything from a little league team to a fund raising dinner for a family stricken by tragedy.

    So again, thank you!

  2. I’ve seen this bumper sticker many times for years–Got food? Thank a Farmer.
    how they are underappreciated for keeping us alive and healthy!!?

  3. Amen ! I know some people who complain about and don’t appreciate farming and our farmers, sadly. While I notice differing views between farmers on issues (Issue 2, Farm Bureau, Farmers Union, etc.) One thing is for certain. Farmers, no matter what size or type of operation are underappreciated. I have such great respect for our farmers, especially Ohio farmers, that I am looking to become one soon. Great article Susan !


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