A common complaint I hear from farmers and ranchers is that the public doesn’t appreciate them, that people don’t understand all the hard work that goes into producing food, and that if they did understand, they would be nicer and be willing to pay more.
Actually, it’s similar to complaints I hear from everybody, no matter their job.
But, here’s the difference between most businesses and the agricultural business:
You can be sure the country as a whole recognizes your importance because you have the opportunity for lots of free, or almost free stuff provided by taxpayers. There are free workshops with free lunches (and sometimes door prizes!). When organizers can’t convince speakers to come for free, their fees are covered by government grants or by sponsors who hope attendees will buy their equipment or products. Folks from Conservation Districts, like Troy Bishopp for example, build fences, plant trees, and even write grazing plans for farmers and ranchers, all for free or almost free.
If you have a question about a grass plant or a weed, or some other kind of management, there are folks from Extension, from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and from local Conservation Districts who will help you, all free of charge. In fact, no matter your question, there is a free publication to answer it. All you have to do is spend the time to find it.
If there’s a drought, a flood, or some other natural disaster, there’s a government program to cover your losses in part or in full. Yes, I know, paperwork’s a bear. But for most businesses, this level of support doesn’t exist. Folks just have to sink or swim on their own.
Yes, I know that more direct appreciation would be nice. But sometimes we just have to recognize that “I love you” comes in different forms than we expect. As an example, I leave you with this story from my days as a newlywed.
My husband went grocery shopping. When he got home, he was really excited because he’d bought me a treat. He proudly pulled a package out of the bag and showed me, “Shark! We’re having shark for dinner!” This was not the treat I was imagining. I had to explain to him that shark is not a treat. Chocolate cake is a treat.
Now when he comes home from the store and says he got me something special, I know that it probably won’t be chocolate cake, but it’s going to be something healthy for me because that’s how he shows he cares. And I know when he comes in my office at 9 in the morning to tell me what he’s making for dinner, it’s just one more way he shows me I’m important.
So, next time you go to a workshop or search the internet for a solution to a grazing problem, I hope you’ll feel how appreciated you are.
Thanks for reading!
You are a very lucky person. As is your husband. And that is because you do, in fact, appreciate each other.
Back on the ranch, I find one of the most encouraging things I get to experience is when a neighbor or family member comes by to talk about hamburger. Our burger business is more like a service than a for-profit enterprise. By providing people with really great quality meat, we get something that is hard to measure: appreciation and love. People express this to me quite frequently, and that makes it much easier to just keep going.
We all need a little love.
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