2019 Virginia Women in Agriculture Gathering

Women in Ag

I’ve been to quite a few Women in Ag type functions over the years, and to me, it seems like the attendees at this group were different. I’m not sure if was the location, the organizers, the time of year, or if the whole “you can farm” thing has run it’s course. Or maybe it was just me.

Most of the time, there are quite a few attendees at these events who seem like they’re just there to complain. They show up at a lot of beginning farmer functions – though this event wasn’t specifically for beginners – bemoaning the system, or the government, or corporate ag, or an ill-informed customer base, or whatever it was that they needed to hear themselves say that justified either their inaction, or their failure.

This Saturday, there was none of that. Zero. This was a group that was interested in awareness, and in answers, not excuses.

There may have been some of the usual complainers there, but if there were, I didn’t hear them. If they were there at all, their perpetual dispondency was overshadowed by curiosity and enthusiasm, tempered by a dose of reality.

I worry about the farm economy, catastrophic weather events, and trade wars. I worry about fear-marketers, condemning agriculture in an effort to sell a product. I worry about increased input costs, and dropping commodity prices, and constantly wonder if the best days of farming are over. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by even suggesting that agriculture is a viable option for my kids, or anyone else’s kid for that matter.

Just like my parents did. Exactly like my parents did.

So what does the future of farming look like? I have no idea. It really doesn’t matter. I can neither see it, or control it. At this point, I’m thoroughly convinced that every generation sees theirs as the last great generation of farming. When my great-grandfather sold the horses from his livery stable, I have to guess that he realized he was a witness to the end of era. The good-old-days were gone.

I guess the big thing is that each and every one of us is the end of an era.

We have a choice between moving on, and moving over. We can either clear the path, or block the way. And we need to share knowledge, without dictating decisions.

To paraphrase the FFA Creed, we need to believe in the future of farming. Because it’s already here.

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