Tag Archives: Agvocating

Going Against the Grain

2 Feb
Melanie Davidson, spokesperson for Ag More Than Ever

Melanie Davidson, spokesperson for Ag More Than Ever

Farmers are the best to poke honest fun at fellow farmers. Gather a bunch around a coffee table and one is bound to say:

“We love to complain, don’t we?” This will inevitably be followed with something like, “And how about this weather? Downright miserable.”

Thumb through certain farming newspapers and its page after page of bad news: markets crashing, too dry, too wet, dropping prices, doubling expenses. Apparently, it’s all doom and gloom. Of course, there is a silver lining around that rain cloud, snow cloud, or locust cloud—whatever might be contributing to today’s grim outlook. It is summed up in three words:

Farming is Fun.

Like any profession it isn’t always fun, not at 3 a.m and a cow is having a difficult calving. Then it’s hard and tiring. But farming can be a joy when making a breezy, three-minute commute to work, cuddling a barn cat, or driving out in a field mowing, raking, plowing—whatever you love to do—singing along with the radio. It can be a blast when you and your siblings’ race across a field on ATV’s, or catch-up on the latest celebrity gossip while feeding calves with your Mom and sister-in-law.

Such a simple word can get lost among those negative headlines and the constant stream of bills that must be paid. Also, whether you’re a farmer, a doctor or a student, it’s a lot easier to recognize what we don’t like to do than what we do. Having a great day doesn’t elicit as much sympathy as having a bad one. Like the old saying, misery loves company. Fun however is confident enough to stand by itself.

The best thing about having fun, in farming or whatever it is you do, is that it isn’t scientific or complex. You don’t need a degree. It’s lighthearted and refreshing. Once you’ve made the conscious decision to enjoy the day it’s as simple as talking about it. Call yourself an ‘agvocate’ and speak positively about agriculture. People are going to listen because it’s something different. Misery may love fickle, fleeting company but positivity welcomes and keeps good company.

I was in such company on Friday when I volunteered with other ‘agvocates’ (farmers and non-farmers alike) at an Ag More Than Ever booth at a trade show. Our purpose was to speak positively about agriculture. It wasn’t hard to do because feeding families, caring for animals and doing honest work is easy to talk about. It was however, an unusual experience. It was odd to have t-shirts printed with lighthearted sayings like ‘Kiss Me I’m a Farmer,’ or ‘100% Farm Raised’ on them. Attendees were eager but surprised that we wanted to talk about what agriculture was doing right, while handing out ‘I Heart Ag’ stickers. We took pictures of visitors holding speech bubbles that read ‘I’m Keeping it Rural,’ ‘Future Farmer’ and ‘I’d Rather be Farming’ and they loved it as much as we did.

Those pessimistic headlines won’t go away—we sometimes need them to stay abreast of what’s going on—and the anti-ag protestors won’t drop their banners anytime soon but instead of griping about them we can use it as a reminder about the importance of having fun, especially when times are tough.

Wear your corny, but funny, t-shirt, snap a ‘felfie’ (farmer selfie) and share it on social media. Having fun is contagious and it’s time more communities and farmers caught on.

Interested? Check out http://www.agriculturemorethanever.ca/ to get ‘agvocating.’ 🙂

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