I have been kind of quiet on my blog the last couple of months. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to write about, it’s because I haven’t had enough time to write. Between harvest, ball practices/games for two children, meetings, fall cattle breeding, and on-going storm damage repair I haven’t had time to update my blog. (Or maybe I haven’t MADE the time to update my blog.) Whatever my excuse may be, last night I was reminded why I needed to find the time to update my blog.
Last night I was invited to speak at the FFA Greenhand Ceremony at our local high school. I was asked to encourage the new FFA members and motivate them to become active leaders for the agriculture community. In reality, I think these kids motivated me and reminded me why it’s important for all of us to be leaders for agriculture.
When I looked out over their faces, the first thing I noticed was that many were looking down at their new ‘green’ hand after it had been dipped in green food coloring. I had to laugh because their advisor didn’t dilute the food coloring and their hands were greener than the Jolly Green Giant.
The second thing I noticed was the spark of enthusiasm in their eyes. These kids were full of energy and their passion for agriculture was obvious. They couldn’t wait to join FFA and now they were on their way to becoming premier leaders for the agriculture community.
I challenged these new FFA members to find creative ways to help spread the story of agriculture. I asked them to use their Facebook pages to talk about what they are doing in agriculture and to share accurate information about agriculture on their pages.
After the ceremony was over, I had several students come up to me and share a personal story of their own about a time when they witnessed an inaccuracy about agriculture. Some of the stories were from when they were in Washington, D.C. on a class trip and others were from shopping experiences in the city or conversations they had on the internet with friends. It was refreshing to see these students get excited about sharing the real story of how farmers and ranchers care for their land and livestock.
These students reminded me how important it is for me to protect their future in agriculture. What I do today has an impact on their ability to farm in the future. This responsibility is not one I take lightly, nor does any other farmer or rancher I know.
I had two special faces smiling up at me in that crowd last night, they were my nieces. One of my nieces received her Chapter Degree, and the other received her Greenhand Degree. I am so proud of these two girls and I want to make sure they have a vibrant future in agriculture if they want one. Their future is in our hands and that responsibility inspires me to be an advocate for agriculture. I didn’t realize it but I needed to be reminded of this last night. I guess you could say I received an advocacy ‘booster shot’ and I am very grateful I did!