Wishing for Peace & Goodwill in 2013

New Year’s Eve seems like the appropriate time to reflect upon the past year.  Much has happened.  While it hasn’t all been good, I’m going to focus on the bright spots.

One New Year’s Resolution I kept in 2012 was starting to write a weekly blog, “Musings of a Pig Farmer.”  This blog is something I would never have dreamed of doing even just a couple of years ago.  I thank Latham Hi-Tech Seeds for giving me a place to share what I do on the farm (and elsewhere) with people, who are not quite so connected with farming but want to know more about where their food comes from and how it’s raised.

Do we raise food in the “right way”?  Is the way we operate acceptable in your eyes?  While I’d like to believe we have all the right answers, the truth is that everyone has a different opinion of what’s right.  What seems right to me may not be right to someone living in New York City.

Unless we talk and listen to one another – really engage in a two-way conversation – we don’t even know what the other person is thinking.  The person in New York City just might like what I do when she finds out why I do it. Or just maybe, she will show me why it’s not right to do something the way it’s been done on my farm.  I can learn, and that’s why I always say we must listen.

Soil and water conservation is a very big issue right now.  Honestly, I had no idea quite how contentious of an issue it was until my “letter to the editor” on this topic was published in The Des Moines Register.  To my disbelief, I received hate mail telling me in very nasty words why I am a horrible person and how I am polluting the water and causing all the trouble down in the Gulf of Mexico.

There was no return address on that letter, and I really would’ve liked to have had a conversation with this “anonymous” person.  If he could see how I take care of the soil and water through no-till practices and buffer strips, he would understand that we share the goal of conserving soil and preserving water quality.  But, he did not communicate with me.  Instead he hid behind his pen, and this really bothers me!  I would really like the chance to share with him all of the good things being done in hope of taking away some of his hate.

That one nasty letter did motivate me to keep trying to have conversations with people who lack an understanding of agriculture.  With more consumers curious about where their food comes from and how it’s raised, there is a greater need for more farmers to share their stories. If you’re a fellow farmer, I encourage you to share your story!  Consumers understand when you explain.

Let’s all resolve to do what we can to understand one another in 2013.  Here’s to peace and goodwill…  Happy New Year!