Having grown up on a farm, by the age of 5 I could easily tell you the difference between a cow and horse, or a field of corn and wheat. In fact, at that age, if someone could not tell the difference I probably would have looked at them as if they had two heads and a tail.
Today, there are people who cannot tell the difference, but instead of seeing them as creatures from another planet, I see them as people far removed from agriculture. Those of us with a farming background cannot expect people to appreciate agriculture when they have never been around it.
The seriousness of this situation became apparent to me recently. I was searching a website for pictures of corn I could use on a project. I came across one picture entitled “Corn Field with Three Ears.” When the image popped up I did a double take. The picture was actually a beautiful rolling field of wheat.
At first I found the situation humorous thinking someone made a mistake, but after looking through more pictures I realized it was not a fluke. There were several other pictures labeled as “corn” that were really fields of wheat and tall grasses.
If a professional can market and sell pictures of wheat as corn, what does that say about others who have no connection to farming, yet profess to speak for agriculture? They are telling farmers and ranchers how to run their farms and make a living, yet they have little, if any, real agriculture experience.
Have they ever gotten their hands dirty? Have they ever stepped in manure, gotten dirt under their finger nails, toiled from sunup to sundown during Missouri’s hot, humid summer days, or broken ice on ponds for livestock to have water when there is a minus 10-degree wind chill?
The future stability of this world is in jeopardy if we continue to listen to people who insist they are more knowledgeable about what is best for a farm than the farmer.
I’m reminded of a popular FFA t-shirt explaining the severity of this situation. The front of the shirt has the words “Naked and Hungry.” The back says “What would you be without agriculture?”