Be the change… A farmer’s pep talk!



As I sit here today in my office watching the trees sway in the wind, and admiring the beautiful hostas, irises and bleeding hearts growing outside my office window, I think of how much the world has changed.

Public perception

Public perception and our beliefs appear to now be more influenced by social media than by factual data and reality. This is especially alarming to me when it comes to agriculture and what the world believes to be true.

I sometimes see things posted on Facebook that really aggravate me. Mostly about how cruel livestock producers are to their animals. If you haven’t walked the walk, you have absolutely no right to talk the talk. Just this past week I was awaken to my husbands cell phone going off at 4 a.m. to the words every dairy farmer LOVES to hear; “the cows are out!. ”


Great. As my husband arrived to the main dairy he was met by a half dozen or so cows lying in the middle of the yard chewing their cud. Although they definitely took their evening stroll through the neighborhood, they came back home. Why? Because this is where they feel safe, where they are fed, milked, and cared for.

Anyone raising livestock will tell you they are probably cared for better than their family members. Their livelihood depends upon it. These are the scenes and stories that should be posted and told on Twitter and Facebook, but we don’t tell our story. Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely bad players. However, there are bad players in every part of our world…medicine, education, sports, etc…

Big impact

Agriculture is everywhere you look. We are all impacted, from the people who grow the grain and raise the livestock to those who buy the products in the grocery store. From the time I was born agriculture has been a way of life for me and I really didn’t know anything any different, but I have began to realize that not everyone knows what agriculture is.

Farmers are some of the hardest working, most needed people in the world, yet somehow their hours of endless work seem to go unnoticed in society today. Maybe this is because people don’t care where their food comes from, or perhaps it is because they have no idea. Regardless, there needs to be changes made. We need these people to understand and value the producers whose sweat and hard work went into producing the simple things that they take for granted.


How do we change this? Agriculture is not the bad player. This nation is built and thrives on the success of agriculture. Farming is not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, it’s usually more like 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are no holidays, sick leave, snow days or retirement funds. I tend to believe that if it were so easy there would be more people doing it?

Just a thought… Farmers are essential to people everywhere. In our world today one farmer can feed over 100 people. Farmers need to be proud of where they come from, proud of what they raise, and be positive about the future of agriculture. These three “P’s” are the first step toward agriculture getting the recognition is deserves.

Do your best! We as producers also have to do our best to be positive examples and excel at what we do best. We provide food, environmental benefits, countless jobs, and perpetual protection of our most valuable resource…soil. Clean up your farms, be wise on your decisions as to when to apply manure or spray your fields.

Promote a positive image

Do your best to protect the soil and the water. Involve your communities, introduce yourselves to your neighbors.
Tell your story. Don’t let Facebook tell your story…it is much better told by you!


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Cathy Berg, Program Administrator for the Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District for 15 past years. Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University. Major in Agronomy with soils specialization and a minor in Natural Resources Management.


  1. Great story, Miss Cathy! Keep it up!

    (from your former corn plantin’ neighbor in Hanover Twp., Ashland Co.)

  2. The story is great, and it needs to be told often, and not to the ‘choir’. Personally, I do not do Facebook nor would I even know how to Twitter, but obviously there are lots of farmers and reporters, such as yourself, that do participate in social media. So, the question begs, every time a negative comment is posted, are the farmers and reporters who read this stuff educating those who post lies? When lies are told often and with passion, people will believe anything. The truth about farming must be told with the same kind of vigor and passion.

    • Barb, the REAL truth is that while SOME people may be willing to listen to what producers tell them about the lies and deceptions that are posted, the most vocal ones do NOT want to hear the truth-nor so they WANT to let people believe the truth about farmers. These people are COMPLETELY irrational-they refer animal producers as “murderers”, dairy producers as “thieves” (stealing milk from calves) and all animal product producers as “greedy” slave owners. I have been told to go kill myself, that I should be slaughtered, that my mother should have aborted me, and on and on. I am completely convinced that the only way to change these brainwashed goons is to let them experience true hunger..

  3. Thanks for telling it like it is within the field of farming and agriculture. Unfortunately, the people who rely on Facebook and Twitter for their information are probably not reading this article.

  4. Funny thing to me is that this individual was sitting at her “desk job”. Prolly updating her Facebook just like most other non physical working Americans “full of thought”. Yes good farmers care for their animals. Just as good people care for their children. The problem here is the desk sitteres like this individual. The so called degree in agricultural but never living a day of it then trying to teach youth about it. Come on. The school systems fail us as Americans in many ways. However we are failing our children by being so spoiled and wasteful. This article made some sense but at the same time was a joke. Only people reading is the people who already know this.


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