Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why I Do What I Do

I love showing cows. There is nothing else I would rather do. I've made great friends and tons of memories I will cherish for life. The bond with my animals is one of the best feelings in the world and I love learning something new every time I step foot in the barn. All of these things are great, no doubt. However, there is one thing I have learned that is the most important about what I do and that is to teach others.

Before showing cattle, I knew agriculture played a big role in my life but I thought everyone knew that. I had grown up hearing my parents tell me milk comes from cows, farmers grow your corn, and that everything in the grocery store doesn't just show up there. Someone somewhere is putting in hours and hours of hard work and time to get the food on your plate and the clothes on your back. But this is common knowledge, right? Think again.

Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people pass through the dairy barn at the state fair in a day. Some days one person stops to ask a question about the cows, some days it's 10 or more. I believe no question is a stupid question except for the one not asked. I get asked all the time, "How often do you milk these cows?" "Are they boys or girls?" "What kind of cows are they?" and "Why aren't all cows this gentle?" plus a thousand more.

To some, those questions seem ignorant or absurd. But to me it is an opportunity to teach just one more person about why I do what I do. That person may forget about what I said ten minutes before before they leave or they may find it interesting and tell everyone they see. Agriculture will forever be a thriving industry though it may be constantly changing. Social media today will put a twist on words and give consumers the wrong look on our work and that is why we as agvocates need to step up and tell our story to anyone willing to listen.

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