Never pass up an opportunity to learn, or to teach.
As I travel, if the conversation turns to food, which it often does, I attempt to spread my knowledge of the pork industry and the benefits of adding pork to diets. And, of course I attempt to spread the word on proper pork preparation whenever possible.
I also try to spread the word of agriculture, in general.
Just last weekend I had the pleasure of having the “students” travel to me, as we hosted the wedding rehearsal supper at our rural home the evening before I would give my youngest daughter away in marriage. A lot of the groom’s extended family descended upon our southern Minnesota acreage from northern Wisconsin, but most came from the South Side of Chicago.
These visitors couldn’t get over the openness of our countryside, with the nearest neighbor a half mile away, compared to the mere feet for some of their homes.
Maybe they were simply playing along because I was feeding them for the evening, but this captive audience was genuinely interested in agriculture and the rural way of life. I am not an active farmer, but I do share property with a man who does work the land, thus he has large equipment parked here and there. You should have seen the eyes of the visitors from the Windy City when this farmer rolled in with his “sprayer truck.” A visit to the shed where the 24-row planter and JD combine were parked further enthralled the visitors.
One of the visitors aided in this rural-urban education as he shared how farrowing pens are created so that sows would not be able to harm the baby piglets. You could see the light bulb going on in their heads.
Farmers are continually being told of the need to share the stories of why they do what they do, why they farm the way they farm, to explain the method to our madness to the unknowing public. However, it never hurts to have “one of them” to help tell our story.
I like to think that a visit that lasted only a few hours, will stay with our visitors for a long time to come. And maybe they are sharing what they learned with their neighbors and friends on the South Side.