What’s Your Perception of Farming?

I like to pick a word to blog around, and this week I’ve chosen “perception.” Recently, I have been having some conversations about what people think a farm is. To my surprise, people have the perception that a farm in North Central Iowa must have crops.

Interestingly enough, even my wife, Janice, told me in no uncertain terms that “farming is crops.” She said I wasn’t going to get her to change her mind about that either! While I love raising crops, I think of crops as more of a hobby. I’ve been raising hogs for more than 50 years, and that’s what I think of as my on-farm job. My perception of farming includes livestock. After all, I titled my blog “Musings of a Pig Farmer.”

What is your perception of a rancher… do you think he or she must raise cows? Ranchers are farmers, too. They often raise cows, sheep, goats and chickens.

Do you think of farmers raising fruits and vegetables? I sure do because I know some vegetable farmers! Tyson Roberts grows fresh produce including garlic, potatoes, Spanish onions, sweet corn, watermelon and pumpkins on his family’s 6th generation farm in Layton, Utah.

Let’s think broader about perceptions. What do you suppose is the perception of a 20-something Mom shopping for her two-year-old daughter? Is her perception of food the same as mine? What is her background? It’s certainly not the same as mine. If she grew up in downtown Chicago, her perceptions were formed differently. She reads different articles than I read. She has not experienced the birth of baby farm animals like I have. She may not understand my thoughts as to what the purpose of farm animals should be. She may have watched Charlotte’s Web and Babe. Her perception of farming may be Old McDonald’s Farm!

Now think worldwide… what are the perceptions of farming in India, China, Africa and the Ukraine? After visiting Ukraine last summer, I know their perception of a farm differs from my Iowa hog farm!

Just as the perception of farming is diverse, so is the perception of food. There are day and night, black and white differences in what people believe about food! Instead of fighting over food, let’s celebrate those differences. Relish food choice.

Everyone’s perception is right for him or her. This is a key point… your perception is right for you! Don’t force your perceptions on others. Buy what’s right for your family, and I’ll buy what’s right for mine!