I’ve always been a ‘city’ girl. I grew up in Los Angeles and can safely tell you that my first experience at a farm of any kind was when I was in my 20’s. In fact, I first stepped foot on a farm as a result of my work as a reporter. I covered stories first in Yuma, Arizona (nearly 90% of all leafy green vegetables grown from November through March come from in and around the Yuma area**) and then in Springfield, Missouri. I was so out of my element that the farmers spent their time playfully chiding me about everything from my inappropriate shoes to my lack of understanding about the agricultural process. (The first time I ever milked a cow was on live television and if I remember correctly, the woman I was interviewing said something to the effect of, ‘looks like we’re going to be here a while’. That was right before the cow moved away from me, kicked the bucket over and left me looking awfully silly and inexperienced.)
I’ve come a long way since then. Not because I’ve spent more time on farms, but rather because I decided I wanted to understand how farmers and ranchers make their living and provide the food that ends up on our tables.
As a mom who regularly brings her kids in to the kitchen to help prepare meals, I want to be educated about the food I’m giving my family. As so much of our mainstream conversation has turned to the quality and health of what we eat daily, it has been important for me to understand both the process and the culture of farming.
The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance reached out to me to show and share their site. They have opened up a ‘food dialogue’ to educate people like you and me about this very thing. The USFRA represents virtually every aspect of agriculture, from crops to milking cows and harvesting eggs. It is made up of more than 80 farmer and rancher organizations with the goal of starting the conversations about their work and livelihood and showing how it is done.
They talk about animal welfare, food safety, prices, GMO’s (some use them, some don’t), fertilizer and pesticides. And they have a ‘Food Dialogue’ video series that takes you to farms around the country to see how more than 50,000 eggs are collected in a day (that is right here in Missouri) to how to care for 7,000 pigs. This one below shows not only how 1,200 cows are milked in a day, but how that milk is cared for and is never touched by human hands.
For me, it is important not only that I know and understand how the food we are eating (and milk we are drinking) moves from the farm to our tables, but I appreciate that this is not only a job, but a way of living for farmers and ranchers.
Did you watch the videos? What do you find most surprising or interesting about farming and ranching?
Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with SheKnows and the USFRA, and partially funded by one or more Checkoff programs. As always, all thoughts and opinions shared are mine and mine alone.