When I was a kid, my dad was involved in all sorts of organizations and held several positions in our community. He served on the fair board, the 4-H horse committee and the local community college board of directors. He was a member of Kiwanis and assisted with our junior livestock sale.
He didn’t hold those positions because it gave him a sense of power or prestige. He did it because he cared.
“If you want to change the world, first you have to show up.” he told me once.
That was how my dad showed he cared. He showed up. He got involved. He spoke out. He helped change not just his world, but my world too.
For the last four years, the Wyoming FFA has hosted “Wyoming Agriculture Advocacy Week,” a week dedicated to talking about the importance of agriculture to our society and inspiring members to fight for their industry. It was an idea created by a team of nine Wyoming FFA state officers passionate about agriculture and dismayed at how the public views their industry.
In the four years we’ve been hosting “Agvocacy Week,” as we like to call it, the gap between producers and consumers has widened, the demand for food has risen and the land base available for food production has shrunk. Maybe that means Agvocacy Week isn’t effective.
Or maybe it means we need more people to show up.
In the week ahead, the Wyoming FFA will be sharing stories about Wyoming AGvocates, as well as inspirational quotes, blog posts, articles, infographics and even some ag-based humor. Anything to ignite our members’ passions for this industry.
Advocating for agriculture can feel daunting. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is someone who wants to criticize how you care for your animals or lam blast you for poisoning the earth. And that people think their meat and vegetables come from a grocery store is downright aggravating.
But start by showing up. Participate in Agvocacy Week by sharing the Wyoming FFA’s social media content. Share your ag story on your own social media accounts. Have conversations about why and how you farm with your friends and neighbors. Make advocating for agriculture part of your chapter’s program of activities each year. If you’re out of high school, consider joining the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program. Or join non-ag organizations and become their reference on farming and ranching. Patronize and thank businesses that support local ag. Boycott businesses that trade in agriculture misconceptions and capitalize on consumer fear. Host field trips to your farm. Volunteer to give ag-based presentations to classrooms. Donate to an agvocacy group. Comment on proposed legislation affecting agriculture.
There are literally hundreds of ways big and small that you can support your industry.
Teresa Milner is the public relations coordinator for the Wyoming FFA Association, freelance writer and photographer based in Yoder, Wyoming. Follow her blog, Dirt Road Wife.