Hey y’all! I’m Laura James, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m getting myself into with this blog thing. I understand that all good things take time, of course, but who knew it would take 14 hours to get the thing set up?! I had the idea to start an agricultural blog after attending the Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador Short Course in July, which was hosted at West Texas A&M University; this short course was by far the most inspiring, hands-on program I have ever experienced. We heard from industry leaders as well as West Texas A&M professors, and each speaker challenged us to think deeper and break out of our comfort zones. We all learned an incredible amount, and we even got the opportunity to heavily participate in processing beef cattle for human consumption (scroll down for pictures!). More than anything, this course was a call to action; a call to promote the truth about our industry and to help secure the global food supply for generations to come.
Up until recently, I’ve taken my agricultural background for granted, as I believe many in our industry do. I never gave much thought to the fact that most consumers don’t have the privilege of being exposed to food production on a daily basis. And yes, it is most definitely a privilege. While not everyone is able to grow up working cattle and driving tractors, urban populations have just as much of a right to learn about agriculture as the people who live and breathe it. Efforts have been made to further agriculture education in the past, but they’re simply not enough. We have to be able to reach consumers early enough and often enough in order to really make a difference and to counter the advances of various anti-agriculture groups. In order to successfully do this, agriculture education needs to become an integral part of K – 12 curricula. Outside of 4-H and FFA programs, it’s been largely ignored for one primary reason: there wasn’t a need for it. Rural communities were much more prevalent, and most kids juggled working on the farm with attending school. However, as agriculture productivity soared, urban areas grew, and rural populations declined, most family farms were replaced with suburban communities and shopping malls. It’s my firm belief that food production will continue to face major challenges if we allow anti-agriculture groups to continue misleading American consumers.
While a 16-year old farm kid’s blog may not be able to reach thousands of consumers immediately, reaching even a few is a start. I have been contacting elected officials in Texas to raise awareness of agriculture illiteracy and to lobby for an agriculture education initiative in Texas schools. Until then, this blog is going to have to be where it all goes down. I’ll be busting myths about cow farts, tackling controversial issues like GMOs, sharing every-day experiences from our small cow-calf operation, and featuring other agricultural bloggers who have it all going on. I’ll even give you a few samples of my atrocious photography skills if I’m feeling a little crazy. Thanks for sticking it out this far; I promise I’ll get off my soap box and shorten up the next few posts! 😉 Welcome to Grow For It!