Along with Christmas trees, holy nights and candy canes, top 10 lists are making the rounds. Even though last year was supposed to be Barbara Walters’ last 10 Most Fascinating People, she’s got a new list coming in a week. So, I thought I’d put together another list as well. Here are my thoughts on the 10 Most Fascinating People in Farms & Food, 2014. Keep in mind fascinating means interesting and or charming. Who would you add?
3) Mr. Petitt, my agriculture teacher
Mr. Petitt represents the old-school high school ag teacher and FFA advisor, spending every hour in his class with his students teaching lessons not found in books. He was my teacher and one reason why I can’t stop talking about agriculture today. Although farms and food are in the spotlight, agriculture education is disappearing from our schools, not necessarily because of lack of funding or interest but because we can’t find the teachers. #TeachAg is the national campaign designed to showcase the value of a career teaching students the facts of farms and food in order to refute the fiction. Ag teachers are a dedicated bunch. I was lucky enough to learn from one of the greats. Thank you, Mr. Petitt.
2) Farmers who share their stories
Sharing the why and what of farming isn’t too difficult. Farmers & ranchers are doing so in droves, adding blogs, Instagram feeds and twitter handles to the social media universe. They share about tractors, seeds, cows and pigs. They talk about soil, business partners, pesticides, growing seasons and investments. In general, farmers and ranchers have peeled back the veil and opened the gates to every inquisitive mind.
But farmers are more than their fields and livestock. They have lives peppered with challenges that link them to their “city cousins” more than anyone may know. This year, several ag bloggers shared deeply personal stories about themselves and their families. They opened their hearts and reminded us all that in spite of our labels we share so much. Here are a few that caught my attention.
- Kelly at Country Nights, City Lights tackled bi-polar depression in the wake of Robin William’s death. In Your Darkest Hour touches on her own struggles and shares resources for those who need them.
- Debbie at Of Kids, Cows & Grass put a rural face to organ donation when her son needed a liver transplant.
- Nicole at Tales of a Kansas Farm Mom deciphers the medical speak regarding dyslexia and ADHD. She has shared an amazing amount of resources and hope for other families asking the same questions.
- Katie at The Pinke Post, has shared often her personal parenting story and did so again this fall as it related to a ballot measure in North Dakota. It takes courage to put the most challenging of days out for public consumption and then deal with the backlash.
1) My Dad
Whether baling hay, feeding pigs, working calves or crawling across a field in a tractor, time spent with Dad was golden. He worked hard from sun up past sun down to give our family the life we enjoyed. He served the school and community on a number of boards. He split time as a fair volunteer and 4-H parent. One 4-H show day, a passing steer struck with its hind leg, its hoof connecting with my thigh. I remember thinking don’t cry; don’t let the boys see you cry. But it hurt, and Dad suddenly appeared to help hide my tears. He is the man who cultivated my deep love for agriculture, showed me how to do right without saying a word, and taught me that a person is only as good as his/her work. He continues to pass the farming legacy to my brother and the six grand-kids who call him Papa. My dad is a farmer, and farmers are fascinating.
Katie and her husband, Andy, are seventh generation farmers. Together they raise two adorable farm kids and grow corn, soybeans and seed corn in Illinois. Katie's family still raises pigs, cattle, goats and horses only a few minutes away. Katie was named one of the 2013 Faces of Farming and Ranching by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).
This blog originally appeared in Katie's blog, Rural Route 2.
Missed Part 1? Click here for entries 10-7
Missed Part 2? Click here for entries 6-3