Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The culture of agriculture

Culture is a component increasingly important as I continue the career search. However, the past two days at the CropLife America annual meeting reminded me there is more than just culture of a company.

It was humbling to be surrounded by individuals involved with organizations devoted to improving modern agriculture practices. As the only student representative from AFA, I brought a unique perspective to the conversations with leading companies in crop protection services. Whether we discussed how agriculture is continuing to evolve, ways that AFA and their organizations could collaborate or college football (since we all know Ohio State has a great program), the environment was refreshing. People in agriculture have a distinct quality that makes the conversation natural and sincere. There is a deeper culture in agriculture.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Do good for the greater good

At this moment, I am on a charter bus headed to East Lansing, Mi. Why? Some sisters of Alpha Xi Delta are on our way to Michigan State University to recruit women to join the first Alpha Xi chapter at MSU!

This is not just exciting for our national organization to continue expansion around the U.S., but for my sisters and me to step outside our comfort zones and do an act of good for others.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two significant birthdays for Sept. 17th

Image courtesy of National Archives website.
Today marks the birthdays for two important pieces of American history: The Ohio State University and the U.S. Constitution.

In 1787, James Madison took his initiative and beliefs that the Articles of Confederation were not enough to build a strong federal government. So, the Constitution of the United States was written. Today, just 226 years later, this document signifies the establishment and purpose of our government and protects the right of American citizens.

Today, this document is not just referenced in my history course and in the courtroom. It represents the freedom our country has to be a leader across the globe.

This is also the date of something else near and dear to the Buckeyes around the world. What first started as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University began 140 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State was not just one of the first land grant institutions around the country. It is a leader in by providing extension education for youth and adults, and also implementing research as a core value of the university.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Think like an economist

This weekend, I had another meeting in Kansas City for AFA. This trip focused on conference prep, but as always, personal develop. With that, we conducted a lunch visit with UMB Bank. I have become more adapt to reading the financial articles on LinkedIn and the occasional Wall Street Journal. But when talking with businessmen and futuristic economists like Peter DeSilva and Mike Hagedorn, they brought in a whole new perspective about the agriculture industry.

UMB Bank
AFA Student Advisory Team at UMB Bank.
Sometimes, you need to think like an economist. That is why many farmers are doing to be profitable and successful business people. Today, many farmers are specialized. One example is my father. Nearly 10 years ago, my dad transitioned from conventional to organic farming of his corn, wheat, soybean and hay crops. For reference, my dad has been farming since the age of 15 and attained personal acreage at age 18. In his mid-50s, this was quite a change from the usual farming routine he had for over half of his career.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"The Scarecrow" scare tactic

The scarecrow is an original creature used to prevent pests like birds and small mammals from harming crops in farm fields. This old school scare tactic has been outdated as farmers and ranchers have adapted and integrated new protective actions like nets and aluminum "reflectors".

However, there is another business that is trying to reinvent the scarecrow as a scare tactic. Chipotle, the Mexican food chain restaurant, has created a new application for iPhone and iPad called The Scarecrow. This app allows users to portray a Scarecrow and "join the quest for wholesome, sustainable food." Please watch the video below that depicts the backstory of the game.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Take a bite from our ethics

This semester I am taking a media law and ethics class, as well as an ethical leadership class. Little did I know when scheduling last spring that these two would compliment one another so well. In the past few weeks, we have reviewed the structure of ethical decision-making, how they are perceived by the public, media and law and what our ethical job may be as either citizens or journalists. It has prompted some thoughts in my mind about the correlation in agriculture and ethics.

In recent news, we see many negative stories, horrific imagery and shrewd explanations of viewpoints and events. Some things shared may be ethical or unethical. In relation to the agriculture industry, there has been increasing conversation about:

  • Livestock production methods and housing
  • Crop production -- organic, GMOs or other
  • Food locality
  • Corporate or "Big Ag" (whatever that means)
  • Animal welfare and activist groups

If you study the theoretical meaning behind ethics, it is "the analysis, evaluation and promotion of correct conduct and/or good character, according to the best available standards." Layman's terms: 
what people perceive as "good" evolves over time based on society beliefs.

I raise cattle for beef.
We raise our cattle for freezer beef,
plain and simple.
Boer goats
Ginger and Cinnamon--two goats
from my farm.
In the agriculture industry, we are judged by our ethics. Farmers are supported as being honest, caring, responsible laborers for the land and life. However, most general public do not support "farming" based on the bullets above and others. 

As agriculturalists, we often times argue, "we are providing for a growing world", "without farmers, there is no food" and "we are open to share our agriculture story with you". All of this is true. However, many don't understand the ethics behind our statements. 

Farmers and ranchers are more open than ever to share their businesses with everyday people. Our (myself included as a farmer) methods of outreach have evolved over time. More people want to understand or learn about food production. This is where the disconnect and ethical situations come in. 

On my farm, we care for the health and welfare of our cattle and goats. It is to our benefit to raise them in a clean, safe environment so that they can be healthy, grow and serve their purpose -- go to market. Our ethics as individuals and farmers motivate us to do just that and other farmers and ranchers do the same.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I don't have time. Actually, I just don't make time.

Time: it rules our lives. We plan time for meetings, set time for classes and homework, spend time with friends and family, and are always looking to save time or wish it by faster. Why then, do we always make the excuse that we don't have time? Is it that we truly are lacking time to go meet up with colleagues or take one hour of your day to work out?

I don't think so.

Take a peak at the infographic from Socially Aware Blog (click through for more statistics).