Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Irony and Why the Next Generation is Clueless About Agriculture

In the Field:  Well, I went and did it.  I said that 4-letter word, H-A-I-L, and guess what we got today?  1.5" of rain and hail.  Pea sized to quarter size, but not much of it, Praise the Lord!  The wind was high, so the wheat that was standing so tall now looks like it needs a V-8.  Lots and lots of praying went on this afternoon.  The combines started yesterday and now it looks like they'll be on hold for the next few days while this El Nino system builds up.  Can't say I don't love the rain though!

Something has been bothering me for the last few months, something I wish I could change.  It seems as though this generation of children know NOTHING about agriculture.  I recently read an article in Pioneer's "Growing Point" magazine about what today's kids know about agriculture.  Most of the answers were right on (and some were flat hilarious!), but some really concerned me. 

Most kids these days grow up in an urban environment.  They are 2, 3, 4 generations removed from the farm.  Most kids have never seen a "real live" farm animal.  Is there any wonder why the American People have become so demanding and unpredictable regarding animal welfare and the origins of their grain?  People spend their days behind desks in air-conditioned buildings.  Long gone are the days when we all had to grow crops and butcher hand-raised animals just to survive.  Now we wonder why kids have so much time to get into trouble...it's because they aren't at home having to milk the cows and muck out stalls.

My aunt and uncle live on our family's ranch in the Hill Country of Texas.  They never had kids of their own, so they tend to "adopt" one trouble-making family member during the endless summers.  My brother was one of them.  As soon as school was out, the offending family member was driven to the ranch and left for the summer.  They lived with my aunt and uncle and learned what "work" really meant.  They were up with the sun, worked all day in the heat, took a small nap at the hottest time of the day, and then worked until sundown.  They were paid $10/day.  Not that there was anywhere to spend it...They learned manners (take your hat off at the supper table), they learned the value of a dollar and the sweet reward of a job well done.  And by the start of the next school year, the trouble-maker was replaced with a well-behaved and thankful child.  At least they were thankful that they'd never have to do THAT again!!!

So what do we do about it?  How do we educate these kids raised in apartment buildings about how farming really works?  Cramming it down their throats won't work.  Fighting about it won't do it either. I suppose it's a lot like Christianity.  The best way to win them over is to live your life right.  Show the world the farming life by having nothing to hide - telling our story as is really is - the good and the bad.  How we've changed - how we've improved.  And how the sweat of our brow puts food in their bellies and clothes on their backs.


  1. Kendra, Your question is one of, if not the most, important questions facing agriclture today. We must all tell our story, and we must be as loud about our story as those who are questioning our methods. Thank you for your voice and your story.

  2. Well done Kendra...there is no teacher like experience. I wouldn't have said this at the time, but my own growing up on the farm was an indispensable part of my education.