Farm Progress

National Ag Day reminds of our dependence

Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

March 22, 2017

2 Min Read
Jevtic/Thinkstock

My apologies. I’m about two days late in mentioning National Ag Day. It was yesterday. I didn’t forget, I just got caught up in a meeting, a long drive and a late dinner. Here are my excuses for not getting to it earlier: Family emergency, long travel days, deadlines.

As I said, excuses, no good reasons. I have talked with farmers over the past three days, and I think I mentioned several times that I appreciate what they do.  I also appreciate that they let me ask them questions about their farms and ranches—and I am truly thankful that they answer.

I heard a farmer speak yesterday at the meeting I attended. He talked about how challenging his job is—drought, flood, wind, low prices, high costs—and then mentioned how much he loved it. I get that a lot. Even in years like this when prices at the beginning of the season show little potential for a profitable year—even if they make good crops—they mention that they would not be happy doing anything else.

I’ve thought a lot in the past two weeks about the farmers and ranchers up in the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas and northwest Oklahoma who lost rangeland and thousands of cattle to devastating wildfires. I’ve thought a lot about the folks who died trying to save their animals.

I can’t imagine the pain their family and friends are suffering.

Related:We know the people who sacrificed to save their animals

I do know that most will not quit; most will regroup the best they can and find a way to start over.

I don’t how those of us who depend on farmers and ranchers to feed and clothe us can adequately think them for what they do. I can make a suggestion. Call your legislators and tell them not to cut the ag budget. It’s a hard time in farm country—prices are low—they need a decent safety net. After all, their lifeline is ours, too.

 

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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