April 2020

It’s amazing to me how things can change so quickly…One day everything is fine, and the news is reporting about illnesses in other countries, and the next we are being told to confine ourselves in our home as we are now being impacted.  Crazy if you ask me!  I have my thoughts on the current situation, but I’ll reserve those for now.

The one thing I have taken from all this chaos, is that rhetoric can change overnight, literally overnight!  I have sat and wondered how we as an industry can do the same.  For the first time in I don’t know how long, agriculture sits in a positive light, and yet we are not using that to our advantage.  In this state of emergency, agriculture is not only an essential business, it is a crucial one!  For the first time in years the shelves are empty, and people are starting to realize that their food does not just come from the grocery store.  Yes, they know that more often than not, they have to go to the grocery store to get their food, but they are now realizing that someone else has to put it there, the farmer has to put it there.

So why are we not doing more to educate people about the process?  Have we thrown in the towel?  I have found that in our society only a “crisis” instills change.  Not to sound insensitive, but we really need to do better in asking for what we need during this critical time.  Why are we not doing more to explain why we need more water or less regulation right now?  The setting is perfect…

Let’s use water as the example.  The water situation will not be as good as it has been the last couple of years due to the amount of rain we have received this year.  Most of us know there is probably enough snowpack to meet demands, but because of restrictions, timing of releases, and lack of infrastructure, a lot of that water will flow to the ocean instead of into fields.  So why are we not doing our part to educate the masses on how we manage the supply we do have, or what it takes to irrigate a crop?  People are panicking at the moment about where the food will come from but have no idea what it takes to get to them, with water being one of the most essential parts of the process.  Instead we continue to “bash” the system with our words on what they are doing wrong and continue to fight them for their biased decisions.  Have we forgotten who influences those decisions?

As an industry we have an opportunity right now that we should not let pass us by.  Let’s inform the public about where their food comes from, and how it’s grown and made.  Let’s use the tools of technology to our advantage and share what we are doing every day.  All it takes is 1 to 2 minutes, a quick snap of a photo and a sentence or two about what is happening, and a post on social media.  Social media has become a powerful tool that we have failed to use to our advantage.  Let’s do it now, let’s use their “weapon” against them to start something new.  So, here’s your call to action:  Take a photo of something you are doing to grow your crop, describe what is happening and post it on social media using the hashtag #growingfoodinmaderacounty.  If you do not have social media, no problem!  Send the photo

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