Agriculture is something that is very near and dear to my heart as a lot of you may know. There is not a day in my life when I wasn’t touched by agriculture in some way. I grew up on a production ag farm, at 8 years old I found out I had to start taking insulin to lead a healthy lifestyle, and now, amongst many other examples, I’m studying how to communicate about the industry that gives so much.
In honor of National Ag Day and Week here are 10 reasons why I celebrate National Ag Day everyday.
- Agriculture gave me a passion.
My passion lies within the agricultural industry because it provides so much for every single person in the world. Agriculture stretches from medicine to food production and technology. There are not too many other industries that have the depth and breadth that agriculture does and it makes the ag industry such an exciting place to be.
- It gave me the best people to be a part of my life.
Some of my best friends are people I met because of the livestock and agriculture industry. Due to these friendships and connections, I am fairly confident I can travel the country and probably not have to get a hotel because someone I have met in the agriculture industry is likely close by. One thing I love about the agriculture industry is it is so big, yet so small because everyone always knows someone.
- I learned what faith is and how to stay strong in my faith.
The agriculture industry is a beautiful place to have faith. Sometimes things happen, such as droughts, wildfires, less than 100% weaning calf percentage, and I find myself thinking, “Why did this happen?” The agriculture industry is one of the most trying and sometimes devastating industry. One bad thing can wipe out an entire farm. The only answer sometimes lies in the grace of God. He has a plan, and everything happens for a reason.
- I can live a healthy lifestyle. The United States is incredibly blessed for the safe, healthy and nutritious food supply that is relatively convenient for consumers to get their food. If you think about it, agriculture touches about 99.99% of everything in a grocery store. Agriculture also allows those with medical diseases to lead a healthy life. Being type 1 diabetic for 14 years, I have agriculture to thank for allowing me to lead that healthy lifestyle and look forward to many more years of healthy living. Hopefully, in a few more years, agriculture will continue to contribute to a cure for diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
- Agriculture gave me a special bond with my mom, dad and brother.
Whether it is riding in the tractor with my dad for planting or harvest, to working show calves in the barn with brother, and helping my mom in the office with her crop insurance agency, we all have a special connection to each other and with agriculture. Agriculture gives us time with each other doing things we all love and are passionate about. Luckily, the majority of that time spent together is around agriculture.
- Agriculture gave me something I couldn’t live without.
When I was a teaching assistant at Purdue, our professor asked us TAs in front of the whole class what is one thing you couldn’t live with out. I thought about it and one of my fellow TAs said “Hey, Jess, how about cows?” I thought about it and she was so right. I cannot physically live without COWS! Go figure. Cows were what I fell in love with when I started showing in 4-H, and today, continue to be a large part of my life.
- Agriculture allows me to travel across the country. Like I said earlier, I could stop about anywhere in the country and have a friend to stop and see. With that being said, between college, going to livestock shows, attending conferences, and much more, I am able to experience more than I ever thought possible because of my involvement in agriculture.
- I get to work with some of the best and brightest minds every single day.
A lot of why I love the agricultural industry so much is not only because of how cool it is because it feeds, fuels and fibers the world but the people I get to work with on a daily basis. In one day, I can talk to a farmer, communication specialist, lobbyist, a plant scientist, seed salesman and a veterinarian who are at the top of their field. That is the reason why the agricultural industry is moving forward and is so innovative. That is also why I stay motivated because I can talk with these people to learn their story in agriculture.
- Agriculture taught me what working hard looks like.
Agriculture is hard work. There is no question about that. It taught me what it’s like to go help a cow calving with -10 degree wind chill at 2 a.m., or how to work so hard toward a goal because you desire it so badly. It taught me no title limits you to a job. I may have had the title of American Chianina Queen at one point, but that didn’t limit me to still picking poop up in the show ring. If you want to know what hard work looks like, just talk to a farmer or rancher and listen to their story.
- Agriculture gave me a purpose. Agriculture has given me my purpose in life: tell the story of agriculture and connect consumers to the food they eat every single day while still living my own story in agriculture. Growing up on a production agriculture farm, I have a unique perspective to share with others and my goal is help others understand where their food comes from. My current school work of agricultural communication is helping me reach my purpose in life every single day.