Over the holidays I’ve been at my parents’ house, disconnected from my usual method of advocating for agriculture: the internet.
Often, I put all of my efforts into educating the general public through blogging, social media or large educational events.
While these endeavors are definitely worthwhile, I had let them become my sole focus and had overlooked some obvious ways to teach people where their food comes from.
Until my future sister-in-law, Audrey, asked if she could help me feed calves.
Audrey had never experienced life on a farm or worked with livestock.
Since she knew that farming was important to Aaron and I, she wanted to learn about it first hand.
Until now, I had never thought about inviting any of my in-laws out to our farm.
Why not? Why shouldn’t I share my lifestyle with them?
Why shouldn’t my new family have as much respect for agriculture as the family I grew up in?
So the morning of New Year’s Eve, Audrey and her hounds-tooth rain boots made their cattle feeding debut.
There were no talking points or strategies for highlighting the most important aspects of our farm.
I just went about my business and explained what I was doing while I was doing it.
Audrey asked every question that crossed her mind.
We discussed what was in the calves’ feed and the nutritional benefits of feeding them both grain and hay during the winter.
We taught her what signs to look for when you think a calf is getting sick. We showed her what breed characteristics different calves displayed.
Audrey didn’t just learn about farming, she experienced it.
She worked right alongside Aaron and I and got a small taste of what day to day life on a family farm is like.
No matter how many generations of farmers are in your family, you’ve probably got at least one relative who is removed from agriculture.
Have you taken the time to teach them about your farm?
Have you invited them to experience a day in your life?
What does that say for us as farmers if our own family members don’t know where their food comes from?
Reach out to them, initiate the conversation and invite them to the farm.
I guarantee it will be the most fun you’ve ever had teaching someone about agriculture.