I recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend with 13 young farmers. Kudos to all of them for their progress thus far in their agricultural careers!
I was blown away by their optimism, cutting-edge production techniques and community involvement. I use the term community loosely here. While we typically tend to focus on how many cows, how many acres, how many bushels and how many tractors, what impressed me the most was the depth and breadth of their off-farm activities.
It could be their church or school community. It could be the community where they live and work, or the agricultural community. As a young farmer once, I remember all the farm duties, family commitments and other fun activities squeezed in each week. (These things of course don’t go away but just change as you get older, as I’ve experienced). Yet this group of farmers had an amazing list of activities that they make time for outside of everything they are already doing.
This list includes, but is not limited to:
Hosting and planning dairy breakfasts
Ag in the Classroom farm tours
Volunteer fire department (three of the seven farmers!)
Cooperative young farmer groups
Electric cooperative board
4-H leader and fair superintendent
4-H dairy judging team coach
Youth football and basketball coach
County Holstein breeders, county pork producers
Town board supervisor
Delegate to ag cooperatives (DHI, Accelerated Genetics, and more)
Whew, I get tired just reading this list!
I think the inner drive most farmers have to give back to their community is part of why they are OUTSTANDING young farmers. They already know you always get more than you give in the end. They are setting examples for their children who hopefully will someday do the same. And that helps make our world a better place.
“Don’t spend your precious time asking
‘Why isn’t the world a better place?’
It will only be time wasted.
The question to ask is
‘How can I make it better?’
To that there is an answer.”