by Diane Olson
Being a night person has its advantages. I often find myself flipping through endless television channels in search of some mindless nighttime viewing. Sometimes I pause momentarily to watch “How It’s Made,” a documentary on – you guessed it – how things are made.
I’ve learned about a lot of things like making bubble gum, plastic toys and so much more. As I view these episodes, I am reminded that people have gained a better understanding of the source and process for many items they use. However, most people are clueless when it comes to how their food and other agricultural-based products are made. Maybe what we need is a similar series “Farmers Make It.”
It is easy to take the role of the farmer for granted. After all, a visit to the local grocery store finds the shelves loaded with food choices that boggle the mind. Restaurant menus are packed with mouthwatering items that make the selection difficult.
Most children and many consumers are at least three generations removed from the farm. With this lack of hands-on experience, the process of farming and where we get these items is unknown to them.
Farmers work behind the scenes to provide not only food, but much more. Their responsibility is to care for crops and animals that ultimately give us clothing, medical supplies, sports equipment, furnishings, automobile accessories, school supplies, biofuels, cosmetics – the list goes on and on.
To help people connect to the farmer, the Missouri Farm Bureau and County Farm Bureaus across the state are declaring February 10-16 Thank a Farmer Week. A variety of educational events are planned throughout the week. This includes educational booths in grocery stores and restaurants, open houses at county offices and visits to schools where farmers will read to students and share information about their operations. State and county governmental officials are signing proclamations. News releases and radio programs are including information about farmers and how things we use every day are made.
Farm Bureau leaders will reach out to Ronald McDonald House Charities in Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City and Springfield with a supply of food during the week as well. The services offered by these facilities are invaluable to families and their children battling illnesses.
Farming is important to everyone because it supplies our daily needs. It is the backbone of rural communities and the economy of our state. Let’s pause and recognize the outstanding work that is done by farmers making life better for all of us.
(Diane Olson, of Jefferson City. is director of promotion and education for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.)