Dear Fellow American,
Today is Independence Day. The day we celebrate our freedom as a country and all things American. We honor the forefathers who guided our country to independence and the soldiers who have fought – and continue to fight – to defend it.
As you lounge by the lake, grill burgers, enjoy ice cream cones, and watch the fireworks, please don’t forget to honor the American farmers who also contribute to our country’s independence.
“We’re a blessed nation because
we can grow our own food.
A nation that can feed its people
is a nation more secure.”
– President George W. Bush
Just like the soldiers whose dedication to their work means you’re relaxing today instead of fighting in a war, I’m the reason you’re at the lake today and not milking your cows, picking the eggs, harvesting your crops, or weeding your garden. My work – and the work of all American farmers – makes your lifestyle possible.
“Agriculture is now, as it’s always been,
the basis of civilization.
The farms of the United States…
form the basis of all other
achievements of the American people.”
– President Theodore Roosevelt
All other achievements... our military, our higher education, our medical care, our arts. The list goes on.
I might take my kids to the lake today, but only after the cows are milked, the rest of the chores are done, and the hay is baled. Like many farmers, caring for my cows and crops often takes precedence over leisure pursuits.
I’m not writing this to ask for your sympathy or pity. I wasn’t drafted into farming; I chose this line of work.
I’m writing to ask for your respect. Please don’t disparage farmers. Farming is one our country’s most important professions.
“It will not be doubted that with referenceeither to individual or national welfare,agriculture is of primary importance.”– President George Washington
Farming is also one our country’s most dangerous professions. American farmers are injured and killed every day on farms and in fields while feeding our country.
I’m writing to ask you to respect your food. Please don’t waste your food or take it for granted. 40% of the food in our country goes uneaten, yet nearly 1 in 6 Americans faces food insecurity. I don’t work 18-hour days to see the fruits of my labor thrown away.
I’m writing to ask you to respect all farmers, regardless of how they farm. The freedom of choice you enjoy at the grocery store is possible because farmers have freedom of choice on their farms. Just as there is no one perfect way of eating for every body, there is no one perfect way of farming for every farm.
I’m writing to ask for your trust. Every choice I make on my farm is thoroughly considered and no choice is forced upon me. I think about how my choices will affect my family, the animals in my care, the soil I’m leasing from our planet, the water we all drink, and the air we all breathe.
I often make choices that allow me to do more with less. Doing more with less has always been the hallmark of the American way. Ingenuity and adoption of new technologies allow me to feed more people with fewer natural resources and less labor. Just like technology makes your life easier, technology makes life better for me and for my animals.
Please, as you celebrate, remember the American farmers who contribute to your freedom and your lifestyle by putting food on your plate. After all, American independence starts with farmers.
Your American Farmer