I lead a double life . . . spending days in the suburbs (after a long commute) at my big city job and nights and weekends on the farm in the countryside. Rarely do these two lives collide, but recently I had that experience! It was a wonderful day to share information on our operation and the history of the farm.
My employer has an environmentally focused group called “The Green Team.” I have been a member of the group for quite sometime, but my schedule rarely allowed me to be involved. Recently, I saw a message go out to the group that referenced the Des Moines Water Works intent to sue several Iowa counties. This certainly peeked my interest.
When I read the Water Works email in my inbox, I immediately got defensive . . . but then slowly something happened . . . I decided to speak up for myself and our operation. I have often been told, we (the farmers) should tell our story. We are the experts of our operations and no one else is. If we let others spread the word as “experts” on agriculture, it is akin to taking medical advice from an unlicensed physician. So, I decided to tell people what exactly is happening on our farm. I know our farm is voluntarily practicing several conservation practices including cover crops and minimal tillage . . . and I decided if I never told tell my friends in the city, they may never hear it directly from a farmer. They may only hear one man speak “expertly” on what is happening on my farm.
With that conviction, I gave a 30 minute presentation on our farm to an audience of over 20 people. I told them about the history of the farm, what we raise, what we grow, and why. I shared why we choose to raise GMO corn and why we choose to plant cover crops. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. It was scary to speak to people who may already have a judgement about your lifestyle (and I was probably judging my audience just the same). As scary as it was, I felt confident that I had the answers to any questions they may have about our operation because I am an expert. In the end, it was a wonderful conversation with my co-workers.
I am so grateful I had the opportunity to spread the word about what we are doing on our farm, and I hope the opportunity comes again!
Happy Friday all!