As a kid who grew up on our family’s ranch, it was easy to take things for granted. I knew where the beef in our freezer came from; I knew why we needed to feed the cattle; I knew why we were taking the calves to the sale barn.
But then again, we only raised cattle. So, I really was clueless about raising row crops, vegetables, fruits, etc. I later learned about all of these in school, and on into my college education—because I was in an agricultural field.
Now, think about kids who don’t grow up on a farm or ranch, and don’t have any family closely related that is still on the farm. #DidYouKnow, the average person is two to three generations removed from the farm? This means that they don’t have a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or close relative still on a farm they can go visit and learn about how food is raised. Most kids raised in the upcoming generation don’t know about food production and modern agriculture.
So, why is it important that they know about modern agriculture?
- Future of agriculture: For one, the future of agriculture as we know it is up to the next generation. These kids will grow up to be future decision makers, influencers, government officials, and just general consumers. The more they know NOW about how food is raised, and why we raise it this way, the better they will understand it in the future and protect it, instead of trying to change what we do. Sustainability is teaching the next generation about agriculture so they can carry on the legacy.
- Jobs: Agriculture jobs are expanding every day and are some of the highest paying jobs. If we can educate our children now about the amazing jobs they can have in agriculture, we will have a brighter future by recruiting the brightest minds. Kids need to know that jobs in agriculture does not mean just cows and plows. I’m a writer, and the majority of my freelance work is about agricultural topics – and I can do so from home so that I can raise my young son. There are jobs in food science, technology, engineering, communication, business, arts, accounting and more – ALL in agriculture. The future is looking brighter for ag jobs, too. Many new startups are on the brink of technology using apps for smart farming that connect with equipment, drones and your mobile device. Kids need to know this.
- Exposure: Kids who are exposed to more topics and more situations will be well-rounded in the long run. Therefore, exposing kids to modern agriculture practices and learning how their food is raised and WHY will benefit them in the future as a high-functioning citizen.
Many of you have heard about the amazing film, FARMLAND. This documentary takes an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their 20s, all of whom are now responsible for running their farming business. If you haven’t, it’s available on Netflix and DVD,I highly recommend you watch! And more importantly, get young kids to watch.
Even though this film is about young farmers in their 20s, it is great for kids to watch. It will give them perspective about all of the points I mentioned above: future of agriculture, jobs in agriculture, and life exposure. Most kids have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch, or will ever have the opportunity to do so. This film will give them that exposure, will share with them why farmers today are using modern technology and equipment and will reveal job opportunities that they never thought of before. Some of the farmers in this film were not raised with agricultural backgrounds.
FARMLAND will show you the personal lives and stories of these young producers and their high-risk/high-reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, YET continues to evolve.
This post is part of my ongoing sponsored partnership with U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. All opinions expressed are my own.