I have been working on my New Year’s Resolutions and have hit a roadblock. Somehow the list looks a lot like it did last year, and the year before that. So, I thought it might be more fun to come up with some resolutions for other people.
So here is a short list of resolutions for farmers, ranchers, and really, anyone in the ag industry.
It’s just as easy to be an armchair farmer as it is to be an armchair quarterback. Activists want to reshape agriculture and their best weapon is public opinion. You may believe that sticks and stones will never hurt you, but they just might result in ill-conceived regulations and requirements that hurt agriculture and drive up the price of food for everyone.
So this year, agvocate (advocate for agriculture). Take some time to talk to people who aren’t familiar with farming. Tell them, or better yet, show them how you produce their food and why you do it that way.
You can’t have a real discussion if you don’t listen to the other guy. Spend a couple of minutes a day learning what people are saying about your particular corner of agriculture. The easiest way to do this is with a Google Alert. For instance, if you work at a feedlot you could set up an alert for the term “feedlots.” Google will send you updates whenever they find a new article or page that mentions feedlots. You can tell Google to send you an update once a day, once a week or every time they find something. Learn more about Google Alerts.
Follow some farm blogs. There are lots of farmers out there discussing tough questions about agriculture every day. I’m definitely not going to start out the new year by leaving anyone off of a “best farm blog list,” so this is just a few links to get you started.
Just Farmers is run by three seasoned Agvocates (Ray Prock Jr., Mike Haley and Jeff Fowle). They feature excellent posts from several other ag bloggers as well so this is a great place to start.
4. Be Social
If you are not using social media, pick a social network and just start exploring. Set up an account and follow some people. You don’t have to say anything. Just start out listening and get a feel for how it works. Here are links to some very useful guides for beginners.
Thanks for allowing me to put off finishing my own list for a while, even though it was in direct violation of my first resolution, “Don’t Procrastinate!”
Happy New Year and best of luck keeping your resolutions!