So the other night my coworkers and I were gently roped into dipping ice cream at the Ice Cream Barn for our local fair.
The lady in charge of organizing the volunteers for the ice-cream dipping-milkshake-mixing-shifts is a minority adviser on our FSA County Committee.
Now being a minority adviser basically means she comes to the committee meetings and makes sure that the underserved producers in the area are being treated fairly and have the same opportunities as anyone else — which of course they always do as that is one of many missions of the Farm Service Agency.
Let me say that we love our minority adviser, but when I say “gently roped” I really mean we have no choice in the matter.
We are taking a shift in the Ice Cream Barn as she runs that place with an iron fist in a velvet glove. She has taken a lead role for many years organizing and setting up for fair week.
I swear she knows how many cups we’ve dropped on the floor and had to throw away or how many cones we’ve cracked and chose to sneak outside to eat rather than risk her finding them in the trash.
So, while we are at the local fair we see many of the farmers that we serve daily.
And of course, as we are covered with chocolate ice cream up to our elbows and splattered with milk shakes, we take a lot of good natured ribbing and teasing as we all look a little bit out of our element.
FSA employees work so closely together wading our way through government policy that pretty soon we are almost experts at taking orders, piling up lovely flavors of ice cream on cones, mixing up yummy milkshakes, sending them out to the patrons, all the while promoting the dairy industry.
The profits go back into the local community in the form of dairy donations to food banks, promoting dairy at local farm tours, and to help with any emergency needs a local dairy farmer may have.
We always have a lot of laughs and sticky fingers at the end of our shift, but during our hours there we see people of all ages, and all walks of life.
They come and enjoy the sweet treats the Ice Cream Barn has to offer and I always find it just a little ironic that just across the walk ways are the animals that create the lovely treats.
The sweet smells of ice cream mingles with the not-so-sweet smells of the cow and yet here they are all blended together. It’s the best way to see agriculture at work.
You can see stalls being mucked, animals being fed and watered by the loving hands of a farmer so that we, the general public, can enjoy what the farmer sows.
So when it is time to visit your local fair, and you step over a pile of poop that some lovely farm animal left for you, remember that someone had to get their hands just a little dirty so that you could enjoy everything you see on your plate.
That’s all for now,
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