Last week three fellow farmers and I were named Faces of Farming & Ranching by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.
I can’t believe that I’ve been included in this group – Chris Chinn, Missouri farmer raising hogs, cattle, corn, and more, and avid social media agriculture agvocate (I’ve read about her in magazines before!); Wil Gilmer, Alabama dairy farmer, best known perhaps for his great YouTube videos highlighting farming basics accompanied by song; and Bo Stone from North Carolina. His family is all about hogs, cattle, corn, strawberries and sweet corn. Talk about diversified.
While four of us may have the title of “Faces of Farming & Ranching” I think we agree and are certainly aware that we are just four in a crowd of men and women who call agriculture their profession, their career and their life.
While in Scottsdale, Arizona last week, we met another face in the crowd while touring Rousseau Farming Company, a vegetable farm located in the valley butting up next to the city limits.
We met Brett, who graciously showed us around. The family owned farm was established in 1892 and has raised vegetables, herbs and some fruits ever since. Today, they grow 37 varieties, utilizing a variety of irrigation techniques and pest management and production practices. Of their 10,000 acres, 600 are devoted to organic production.
We discovered that although Brett grows broccoli, carrots, onions, and herbs in fields matching the size of my corn fields in Illinois, we talk the same language. We understand the need to farm with less; Brett specifically mentioning their water conservation and usage efforts. We understand the need to farm responsibly; Brett discussing regulations and food safety, an issue on which he is on the front line.
Yes, we all are a face in the crowd, but I am so proud to be a part of this crowd – a crowd that may be diverse in individuals, crops, livestock and means of management, but a crowd who shares a similar mission.