One of my favorite cartoons is a “Hagar the Horrible” panel. The picture shows Hagar with arrows stuck in his shield, his boat sinking, obviously having a bad day. He has his hands thrown back and is looking at the heavens and proclaims, “Why me?”
The next panel shows the skies above him open up and a voice say, “Why not!” I think back on that cartoon sometimes when it comes time to advocate for agriculture. Whether it is in D.C., Topeka or a fourth-grade classroom, many times I wonder, why me? Why can’t I just stay home and work on my farm and forget the rest of the world exists?
Truth be told, I suppose I could, but the reality is the days of keeping our noses to the grindstone, minding our own business and not worrying about what anyone else thinks are long gone. I don’t know if you have noticed, but things like social media allow everyone with an opinion and a keyboard to be an expert about agriculture.
That is why it is so important for us to be involved and to advocate for agriculture. We are the true experts, and every one of us pour our blood, sweat and tears into what we do. So, I will ask you this question. If not you, then who will tell our story? We all know that answer, and the alternative is one that should scare us to death.
That is also why it is so important to be active in Kansas Farm Bureau. Alone our voices can be heard, but it is a much greater challenge. Kansas Farm Bureau and, ultimately, American Farm Bureau allow for us to come together as farmers and ranchers to achieve a common goal. It is the power of the individual member to have influence that gives us our grassroots strength.
I know each of us are incredibly busy, and it is so hard to make that sacrifice to be gone from our farms and ranches. Let me assure you the sacrifice is well worth the pain. I truly believe the time I spend advocating for agriculture, whether it is telling our story to school kids or elected officials, is just as important as the time I spend in my tractor seat.
We must all take the time to tell our story. Each of us has one to tell and the public needs to hear it. The days of assuming everyone has ties to agriculture and understands what we do are gone. The public wants to like and trust us, but they need to hear our story from us directly.
The next time your phone rings or that email pops up with an opportunity to advocate for agriculture, I want you to answer the call and tell everyone about the great work we all do every day. We feed a hungry world while protecting the soil, air and water. Why you? Why not.
Glenn Brunkow is a Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher. “Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.