7 Years Later

It is no secret that my love for the FFA organization is closely tied to my love of the agriculture industry. That being said, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that the 2017 Utah FFA state convention was being held in my home town of Cedar City, Utah after 7 years.

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The Top 3 Reasons to Grow a Garden this Coming Year

If you have never had a garden of your own before, or have been contemplating whether or not to try it, here are three reasons that just might help you decide too.

1. It is a Money Saver!

Although it may seem expensive to buy the supplies needed to start your own garden, it actually saves you money in the long run. According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal titled, How Much Green Can Growing a Vegetable Garden Save You? an average family will spend $70 on building a garden, and receive $600 worth of vegetables. It also states that the amount of crops you receive compared to the amount of money put in is outstanding. For example, for every $1 you spend on green bean seeds, you receive $75 worth of crops. For every $1 that you spend on potato seeds  you receive $5 worth of crops. That is definitely worth the cost if you ask me.

2.  Window Box Gardens Are a Real Thing

Let’s say you live in a more urban area and honestly do not have enough land to grow a garden or the soil in your particular area just isn’t fit for it. Good News! Window box gardens are an option. Putting planter boxes in your window sills is a great way to utilize the space that is available to you, and works just as great. According to Urban Garden Casual, these following vegetables tend to do very well  in a window box setting: herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes and beets. This is because they have shallow roots that will fit inside. If you are looking to grow other vegetables that produce deeper roots, just make sure you give them the space they need to grow.

3. You Get to Choose

Nothing is more frustrating than going to the grocery store to pick out vegetables for dinner, only to find that they don’t have the certain kind you are looking for, or what they do have does not look very appealing. Growing your own garden gives you the ability to choose what you want to grow, what kind, how much, and it guarantees a freshness that you just can’t find at the grocery store.

Questions about window sill gardens? Check out this video.

3 Things that Make it Possible for 2% of the Population to Feed us All

Technology, Innovation, and Dedication. Three words that go hand in hand when it comes to the agriculture industry and feeding our ever growing population. It takes innovation to make technology, and dedication to make that technology a reality.

Innovation:

The dictionary’s definition of innovation is “a new method idea or product.” Every single technology that we have today started out as a single idea. John Deere for example, invented the first steel plow in 1837, which led to John Froelich’s invention of the first gasoline tractor in 1892. Today, we have tractors that can perform just about any task we need done.  Innovation is not merely one idea, but rather one idea after another building off of each other, producing products that make it possible for the agriculture industry to survive .

Technology:

Making that single idea into a reality is how we get technology. According to the Robotics Business Review, the top 5 agriculture technologies for 2014-2020 include agribots, precision agriculture, crop sensors, farm-based bio factories, and LED indoor crop technology. While the list of technologies that the agriculture industry uses could go on an on, there is no doubt that without it, we would be struggling to feed our population.

Dedication:

Change can be hard, but it is also inevitable. It takes dedication to take an idea, make it into a technology and then implement it into an industry. With the challenge of feeding a population of 9 billion by 2050, we need individuals who are dedicated to coming up with new ideas. Not only that but farmers and ranchers that are willing to use technologies to enhance their practices make all the difference. 9 billion people is a lot; and it’s going to take dedication from everyone in order to rise to the challenge.

Questions about LED indoor crop technology? Check out this video!

Why We All Need to Thank a Farmer this Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving: A day spent focusing on all that we are grateful for all while eating more food than we know what to do with. We all have that one person in our family who is going to spend all day in the kitchen making sure that this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is perfect, but there is one person who truly makes thanksgiving dinner possible and that is the farmer.

“Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” -Brenda Schoepp

And here’s why:

All that food on your table didn’t just come from the grocery store.

The U.S. Farmers Ranchers Alliance did a Nation wide survey concentrating on the opinions and attitudes that consumers have about how food is grown. It showed that the majority of consumers think about food production constantly, yet know little to non about how food is brought to the dinner table.

It may not have taken too much effort to go to the store and pick up the supplies needed to make it, but the food on your plate didn’t come from the grocery store. It came from a farmer’s field or ranch. It had to be cared for and harvested, and it took hours of preparation and work on the farmer’s part.

Farmers don’t get a day off

According to an article written by AG WEB entitled, “Farmers Clock Long Hours” more than half of today’s farmers and ranchers report spending more than 10 hours a day on farm related work. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, holiday or not, 365 days a year; farmers don’t get sick days or time off for the holidays. Farming and ranching are everyday  jobs that require complete dedication to the profession. So while you are seated around the dinner table this year, about to slice that slow smoked ham,  just remember that somewhere, a farmer is out feeding and caring for his livestock just so that by the time Christmas rolls around you can enjoy the same luxury.

This year as you are reflecting on all that you have to be grateful for, make sure that farmers and the agriculture industry as a whole are on your list.

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How Agriculture is Telling its Story in a Different Way

We’ve all heard the familiar term “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but what does that really mean? It is the idea that a single image can convey a message or meaning more effectively than a description can.  The agriculture industry has found truth behind those words through agriculture photography and photojournalism.

Photojournalist Sherri Dougherty says that photo journalistic images are successful because they have an action-oriented approach to their subjects. Not only that, but their natural, unposed structure allows them to tell stories the way other images can’t.

Minnesota photojournalist Dean Riggott, and author of the book, Life on the Farm:
A Pictorial Journey of Minnesota’s Farmland and its People
, has mastered the art of telling stories through his images. His viewers are able to live a day in the life of a farmer through his images, and get a sense of what a farmer’s day to day life looks like, the challenges they face and what their lifestyle consists of.

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An article titled, “The voice of agriculture,” produced by The American Farm Bureau Federation explains that, today the average American is at least three generations removed from the farm, with very little knowledge about the agriculture industry.

 Photography is a tool that the industry is able to use to educate the public about the agriculture industry in a more interesting and personal way then merely writing about it. Images allow viewers to feel more connected with the subjects. It also gives the viewers a visual representation of the issues and concerns that are being discussed within the industry so that they can realize the importance of the situations.

If you are curious about something within the agriculture industry, I encourage you to find someone who has photographed it and look at their work. Photography can be a great educational tool if used that way.

How Temple Grandin Influences the Agriculture Industry

I am a firm believer that the agriculture industry is home to some of the hardest working, most dedicated, and genuine people you will ever meet. One of those individuals is Temple Grandin.

Grandin is an animal science professor at Colorado State University. She has published many books about animal behaviors and her work within the industry. She is also a very well-known spokesperson for Autism.

In her TED Talk titled, “The world needs all kinds of minds,” Grandin explains how having Autism allowed her to introduce a new way of thinking into the agriculture industry. She explains that individuals with Autism pay a lot of attention to the small details, which are often overlooked.

She believes that paying close attention to detail and being a “visual thinker” are what have allowed her to have the most success when designing livestock facilities, especially slaughter houses, because it allowed her to view things from the animal’s perspective.

She is a prime example of how the agriculture industry can benefit from a variety of different individuals; each who bring new ideas to the table. The industry needs more people like Grandin who aren’t afraid to share their ideas and opinions just because they may be different from what has been practiced in the past.

The agriculture industry is constantly evolving and is in need of more people who are willing to think outside of the box.

I encourage all of you to look for the people in your own communities who have influenced the agriculture industry with their own innovative ideas.

64,000 Students Head to Indiana

On any given day, the streets of Indianapolis Indiana may look a little dull, but come the month of October you will find them decked out in blue and gold and crawling with thousands of students. FFA members around the country zip up their blue jackets to head to Indianapolis Indiana to attend the annual National FFA Convention.

The National FFA Convention provides multiple things for members to participate in while attending, such as entertainment, shopping, workshops, networking, and site seeing.

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As I look out the window of the plane that is taking me to my very last convention where I will receive my American Degree, I am reminded of countless opportunities  that the FFA has given me over the years. The people I would have never met, the friendships I never would have made, and the person I would have never become.

This week I will walk the streets of Indianapolis, Indiana through a sea of blue jackets all worn by individuals that differ in backgrounds, appearances, and cultures, yet united by one thing: blue corduroy. That I believe, is the glory behind FFA; it provides equal opportunities and experiences for all of its members, which is evident through the excitement that fills the atmosphere at convention.

As I zip up my blue jacket for the last time this week, although it will be bittersweet, it will be a time of reflection, and a moment of pride for the very organization that has given me so much and will forever have a piece of my heart: The FFA. Continue reading

“I Guess That’s Just the Farmer in us All”

My purpose in writing this blog is to hopefully allow you, my readers to realize that the agriculture industry has something to offer for everyone. Therefore,  I would like to explain to you the reason behind why I chose the name “The farmer in us all.”

Tim McGraw has a song entitled, “The Cowboy in Me.” For those of you who don’t listen to country music, no worries! Here is the rundown. The song goes through a list of traits and characteristics and how each one pertains to the cowboy within him.

The last line of the song is my favorite because it states, “We ride and never worry about the fall, I guess that’s just the cowboy in us all.”

Whether we are cowboys or not, this line is something we can all relate to because we all have goals that we are working for, and are aware of the possibility of failure, but that doesn’t stop us from working towards them anyway.

Ryan Goodman, author of the blog Agriculture Proud, shared a poem in one of his articles that highlights many of the characteristics that a farmer possesses.

Some of them include: honesty, hard work, service, and family oriented.

I believe that it is fair to assume that no matter our lifestyle, we all strive in one way or another to obtain a few of these same traits for ourselves.

It doesn’t matter if the place you hang your hat is on a ranch in Wyoming, or if downtown Manhattan is where you call home, because we all strive for the characteristics that the agriculture industry stands for.

“I guess that’s just the farmer in us all”

 I encourage all of you to make a conscious decision when it comes to the agriculture industry to be open minded, and take the time to find ways that you can be involved, because there truly is a place for everyone.  blogpost-1