Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Give Me an "A"!

Last fall, after giving a presentation in a Young Farmer contest the judge said, "well, all I can say're kind like of a cheerleader for agriculture."  I wasn't sure if I should be offended or grab my mega phone and somersault into the "perfect cheer".

So I'm deciding that based on the intensity of cheerleading around the Central Michigan area, it was a compliment determined by my enthusiasm, focus and dedication to share my passion with others. (I refuse to believe it was my pig tails and spirit socks I sported for the event- just kidding, I wore my hair in a pony tail :)!) Seriously though, the squads around here spend hours perfecting their performances, making sure the end result is a system moving in pristine unison.

Yesterday, I participated in my own type of cheerleading training at the Michigan Farm Bureau Voice of Agriculture Conference, designed to offer tools to county Farm Bureau members on promoting, educating and communicating agriculture.

During one session, the presenter expressed the need for farmers and agvocates to share the same message no matter the category: small, large, organic, conventional, niche, livestock, or crops. Consistency, support and unity - these words should be on a sign somewhere on every farm, greenhouse, board room or pole barn located right on the inside of the door so you hit it each and every time you go by... pumping yourself up with motivation as you begin  your mornings and end your nights. Reminding you so many others are doing the exact same thing in the name of ag.

Every sector of our industry must support each other - not only for the benefit of ourselves, but for the perception of our consumers. There is a competition among industries and the winning team receives more money, more press - essentially more support. If Team Agriculture has internal issues (people not showing up for practice, bickering behind backs, failing to take the same steps) then the judges such as HSUS, governmental agencies and consumers will put us at the bottom of the podium.

I've stated before, I don't like to lose. Especially when I know I could win. And right now I'm not addressing a particular situation or issue - I'm just saying at the end of the day I hope we're all wearing the same team shirt, we're supporting one another and we're cheering in unison with faces painted, spirit finger waving and pom pons shaking....and if you feel compelled...with the strong foundation we have...we can start doing flips.

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