Our Ag kids need our Encouragement
I will soon have the opportunity to coach some “Intro to Ag” kids about the importance of livestock judging and oral reasons.
To me it’s easy, looking back having the privilege of being a member of the livestock judging team at Colorado State University was the best thing I ever did. First of all, it was very hard and my foundation started in 4-H at age 16. When I was doing it I didn’t understand how VALUABLE the opportunity was. But early in my career of selling, I had a colleague say to me “how did you learn to speak so well—on your feet?’. The answer was I judged livestock and they said ‘what?’
The life skill of evaluating, making decisions and then telling my story (AKA oral reasons or why I placed them the way I did) is what I believe to be one of the most important skills I have. Because every day we need to communicate within our family, volunteer activities, our chosen career and now our consumers!
Now that I have the opportunity to encourage my own daughter along with another handful of ag kids, I wonder what is the right thing to say.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to share with my children how unique they are and fortunate to have the experience of growing up on a farm. With only about 1 ½-2% of the population producing our food needs and a much smaller percent of those farms have kids too! They are unique which sometimes causes them to stick out and if we all remember, sticking out as a teenager isn’t what many want to do.
Having the opportunity to learn the value of hard work is fairly easy to accomplish on the farm. But how do we encourage them to stick with agriculture when the majority of their peers have few ideas what farmers do and would rather put them down than recognize it as a noble career? Or viewing it as an important piece of the puzzle of feeding the world?