Opinion

Thank your farmer today

And on the eighth day, God made a farmer—before the sun came up on the ninth day, the farmer had milked the cows, fed the camels, sheered the sheep, planted the corn, hauled the hay and hoed the garden.

Between the first farmers toiling the relentless ground to today’s farmers steering their auto-pilot combines, hundreds of centuries have produced technological advances to enable bigger, better, and faster production to feed the world’s starving mouths.  American farmers and ranchers hurtle into this world of technology, some unprepared and unsure that this technology truly benefits the common good of farming, but all still dedicated to producing enough food to feed the world.

March 14, 2019 was National Agriculture Day—a day when everyone should unite and recognize the amazing work farmers across the nation do to put food on your tables. Some farmers grow locally and set up a farmer’s market for you to choose from; some farmers grow vegetables right in their backyard; other farmers till thousands of acres of land to send food to your table. In order to feed 9 billion people by 2050, the world needs farmers across the globe who dedicated to developing and using the newest technology.

However, even the greatest technology cannot cure the tiresome process of farming. Nothing can prepare the farmers for the devastating diseases plaguing their fields or the bipolar weather biting their precious crops’ heads off. Farmers don’t do it for the glamorous hours of back-breaking work in the field from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nor do they particularly care for the hail storm that can strike in mid-July that demolishes their 20-acre field but leaves their neighbor’s 300-acre field unharmed. Even the volatile price of their crop can drop 40 cents in a day, causing a detrimental blow to any profit the year could bring.

Farming is not predictable, delightful or easy.

Deven Foster, a 21-year-old farmer is a sixth-generation farmer who has experienced the love-hate relationship with the job from a young age, but loves every little aspect of farming, from the smell of dirt to the first morning you get to sleep in after all the crops are in storage. It is a rewarding job because he knows he is providing nutrients of life to people across the globe.

His job revolves around small little crops that are far from simple. It’s vast, and the time it takes for any piece of vegetable to make it from its rooted, underground seedling in the field to your growling stomach is extensive. Before a seed is planted, mud-caked hands reach into the crumbly soil to test the nutrients, operational rigs spread fertilizer on the thirsty ground and farmers spend thousands of dollars on creating a crop that may not make it through the agonizing weather.

Don’t let the farmer in your life go unappreciated. No matter if you always eat home-grown meals or if you always eat out, there was a farmer who toiled, sweated and poured in hours of work to ensure you got fed.

Thank your farmer today.

The next time you see an MLK street sign, let it prick your conscience.

Remember workers like Cleo Smith.

Remember the words of King, who said: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

I would like to think that we are those individuals.