6 Pieces of Yoda Wisdom For Farmers

What can Yoda teach you about farming? Apparently, a lot. It turns out the wisdom of your favourite Jedi Master is pretty far-reaching. Below are six lessons from the little green fella that will resonate with your farming operation:

Yoda Wisdom for Farmers

 

 

 

1. “Do or do not…there is no try.” – Yoda

Limbo is a party game, not a state of being. Sometimes you just need to leap. If

you’ve always wanted to farm, do it. Think differently, find a way and go forward

with purpose and intention. Trying is an important part of learning, but doing so

with full effort is the key.

 

2. “Much to learn, you still have.” – Yoda

You will never be too smart or too good at something. There will always be

someone better than you at certain things. So stir things up, leave your comfort

zone, don’t listen to the status quo. There is always room to grow and a way to

improve on your systems. Be a forever learner, because it’s never too late to learn

something new.

 

3. “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” – Yoda

Often, our fears can be so powerful they halt us into inaction. Letting go of our fears

means that they cannot control us, they have no say in our story. If you are ever

afraid to try a new way or implement a new practice into your operation ask

yourself “What have I got to lose?” The answer may just be “Fear, itself.”

 

4. “All his life has he looked away…to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind

on where he was. On what he was doing.” – Yoda

Sometimes we think so much about how much better our lives and operations could

be that we forget how good they already are. Try not to get caught up in chasing the

next best thing. Instead, focus on what makes you great right now. Spend time in

the moment. Be present. It will allow you to enjoy life and experience happiness.

 

5. “Always pass on what you have learned.” – Yoda

One skillful person is strong, but many skilful people together can accomplish

greatness. The knowledge and wisdom you have gained first hand as a farmer holds

great power – don’t let it end with you. Passing on your knowledge is one of the

greatest gifts you could ever give, to your family, the next generation and humanity.

 

6. “If no mistake you have made, losing you are. A different game you should

play.” – Yoda

If you’re too afraid to take risks and make mistakes, it’s very difficult to learn

anything. Farming is filled with risk, you will absolutely make mistakes along the

way. It’s okay. Mistakes help us to learn. Challenges push us to become better.

When Your Workers Are Family…

Why Do Farmers Farm?

 

Alberta farmers feel like they’re in a fight for their farming lives. At the moment, the issue is Bill 6 – the “EnhancedProtection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act”,  intended to protect the basic rights of farm and ranch workers. But many rural Albertans are concerned about what this legislation will mean for the average family farm.  We’ve seen a lot of you voicing your concerns, signing the petition, and coming together as a community, deeply concerned for the future of this industry.

The bill applies legislation to ALL farm workers. It is highly unlikely that any farmers in this province believe that their workers don’t deserve protection or support. That is not what the backlash is all about. 90% of farms are family owned and the fact is that the majority of farm workers in Alberta are either family members, friends or neighbours. We are an industry that lives and breathes a culture of collaboration and support – where you step in where you are needed without thought for compensation or return.

The proposed Act will apply legislation to farming operations without recognizing the economic and social impacts it will have. One of the many young farmers we’ve seen voicing their heartfelt concern on Facebook is Daniel Schneider, who’s blog post has gone viral (with over 3,400 shares to date!), and the way he puts it is very representative of many of the blogs and status updates we’ve seen these last few days.

“it’s a bill that has the best of intentions, it is intended to prevent injury or death on farms. By all rights it sounds like the logical solution . . . Here’s the problem. We don’t want those rights, and we never asked for them . . . . Those affected by this bill were not consulted or given a voice on the matter.”

You can read Daniel’s full blog post here: http://tinyurl.com/oz964df

If this proposed bill was a project or initiative being proposed by a non-profit group and seeking government support, it would not meet the criteria for demonstrating collaborative efforts. Farmers must be part of this important conversation.

A series of town hall meetings are being held to present information and hear concerns and opinions. A collaborative process however,means working together to address the issue, educating each other and building trust, taking action and evaluating the outcomes. It will be important that the government process demonstrates the same guiding principles for collaboration that is expected of other organizations. It is our hope thatBill 6, rather than being rushed into legislation, would be taken under meaningful and careful scrutiny in a manner that involves Alberta’s family farmers and takes their concerns to heart.

Go Ahead, Be Hard On Your Beliefs

FarmOn Einstein Quote

 

“We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.” – Tim Minchin

What we believe is important – really important, for that matter. Because our beliefs naturally guide us to make decisions and take actions that carve our path and influence the direction we take. And while our beliefs play a big role in shaping us, it’s critical that we take the time to truly examine our beliefs and reconsider some of our assumptions. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

In the agriculture industry, there are many different beliefs about the “right” way to do things. We operate on information overload, as each side of a heated topic bombards us with staunch proof and steadfast statistics to back up their unwavering beliefs. Often, people passionately argue their belief from habit or defense of their livelihood, rather than taking a step back to actually examine if their beliefs still hold truth when all of the information is carefully weighed.

But here is the awesome thing about truth: it can handle questioning. It isn’t offended by poking and prodding. I think, at times, we are afraid of questioning because we fear that it will damage all that we have built to be true based on our belief. However, that’s the beautiful thing about questioning, it pushes us towards answers. Because questions can’t change what is true, but they can inspire understanding that leads to either a confirmation or a change in our beliefs based on logic and fact.

As farmers, we must be careful not to segregate ourselves based on belief. The way you choose to farm is NOT the only thing that defines you. You don’t have to follow traditional practices to prove you honour agriculture’s past. You don’t need to farm organically to care about the Earth and understand the need for sustainability. You can love and respect animals while still raising them for food. Too often we become so entrenched in our beliefs that we can’t see the big picture: that when it comes to food, we’re all in this together!

If we are honest with ourselves, and truly question our beliefs based on the quest for truth, we must admit that there are sustainability issues with some of the ways we produce food and that every type of farming will play an important role in the solution. Sparking change that will ensure the health and future of our planet for generations to come will require a new way of doing things and the ability to set aside pride, fear, and the need to be “right”. Instead, we must move forward with great intention based on what we now know, rather than what we have always believed. The need for innovative collaboration and unity within the brotherhood of farming has never been greater. Each of you will play an important role in that which will be a defining moment, a “tipping point” for food production as we know it. So be brave in questioning your beliefs. Understand that just wanting something to be true cannot make it so. Be comfortable knowing that it’s okay to change course if need be. What you do as a farmer is essential, how you do it is ever evolving based on new knowledge. And that, friends, is as it should be.

Two For All

 

Two for All Blog Photo

 

Just 2%.

The percentage of our North American population that works every day to provide the rest with one of our most basic needs to sustain life – food.

Our global food system is the single most powerful force unleashed on the planet today, yet a rapidly swelling population means we have to find ways to double our food production. Our footprint is large as the food system continues its significant and complex effects on our environment, our economy, and our rural social fabric.

 

So Where Do We Begin?

Farmer’s are an easy target as they grow the food. Increasingly society is demanding sustainable agricultural practices yet have little understanding of the impact they themselves have on the food system.   Farming practices develop to meet the demands of the system. Consumer’s expectations for cheap food, huge variety, desire for convenience and not having to grow their own food has been the number one driver in the creation of this food system impacting our world.

Sustainable agriculture means the efficient production of safe, high quality products in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, farm workers and local communities and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species. There are some challenges as we move to a sustainable food system.

 

Economic Sustainability

The economic realities of farming make it extremely difficult to attract young farmers as we lose them to higher paying careers. It would seem that an aging farmer population provides a window of opportunity for young farmers however, each generation is in a state of continual refinancing for the same property to ensure the outgoing generation has enough money to retire. The cost of the land and the equipment is so astronomical that even those who want to farm don’t have the means to. Input costs have soared, while profits have not, forcing many farmers to take second jobs so they can feed their own families. On average, farmers today receive, on average, 16 cents of every food dollar, and that’s BEFORE expenses. In other words, a farmer’s work has become more humanitarian in nature as making a living solely from farming becomes more and more difficult.

Now we are asking farmers to fix what’s wrong and save our planet and resources by employing sustainable practices that can make a difference. The simple fact of the matter is that we cannot put all of the burden and expense on the shoulders of the 2%, who are already being crushed by the weight and demands of the whole as they are barely staying afloat. One misstep, one wrong choice or the implementation of one ineffective practice can mean disaster and the risk of collapsing their entire operation, essentially gambling their family’s future and home. We cannot ask so much without offering to assist and support those who hold the land in their hands to become economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

 

What Can We Do To Help?

FarmOn has committed to bringing context to the story by bringing together the best and the brightest to share knowledge, generate new thinking and inspire bold solutions. We owe it to ourselves, our farmers and our planet to check in and become an active part of the solution for a food system we all had a hand in creating. We can do better. Because we must do better.

You too can support our mission.

 

An Open Letter to Activists

Dear Activists;

Your message is clear. You don’t like livestock production, and you don’t much like the farmer/producer either.

You think we don’t care, we hide the truth and have no interest in caring for the earth with sustainable practices. You use words that are much more direct and even vulgar but essentially, you are committed to ‘outing’ us for our insensitive, ‘produce at all costs’ ways.

Throughout history, we have witnessed some amazing activism, from the civil rights movement to the suffragette movement and many more. The leaders of these movements understood that rallying people together as one, through steadfast commitment to benefitting the lives of their fellow man and through inspiring others is how change came about. Activism that employs moral aggression to strike out harshly and repeatedly to hurt those who don’t share your views is unlikely to achieve what you are looking for. The tactic of using public shaming, harassment and intimidation to try and dominate those who oppose your view accomplishes little. In history, we have seen oppressing leaders who have used these very tactics to carry out some of the most atrocious acts in human history. It is not the kind of culture that benefits humanity in any way.

We understand passion. Passion is that strong and barely controllable emotion that is put into action with as much heart, mind, body and soul as is possible. We get it.

We are passionate, too. We believe that sharing our stories and encouraging dialogue creates an opportunity to learn more about other’s perspectives and passions. It is when points of view become confused with ‘absolute truth’ that communications break down.

Yesterday – Earth Day – was a day we had chosen for all farmers to share their stories with the hash tag#FarmVoices, so others could learn more about their perspectives and passions. It was their turn. We know that one of the most sincere forms of respect is to listen – there is as much wisdom in listening as there is in speaking.

Each year we lose more and more family farms. It has become harder to farm. Harder because there are fewer farmers to support each other, harder because so many have off farm jobs, harder to make economic sense of the business of farming and harder to find time to explore new technologies and information they need. Often the only way to connect with each other is online.

We have no doubt that there have been instances where animals could have been cared for in a better way. However, best practices come as a result of people sharing and demonstrating better outcomes, which happens when they connect with each other.

We assume you eat to sustain your bodies, and must be aware that farmers grow your food, too. You believe that all living beings deserve to be treated with respect. We believe that farmers deserve that respect as well.

We hope you take the time to listen and watch some of the stories, to seek to understand and to allow space for dialogue. In turn, we promise to use our time and our passion to connect, promote best practices and support ALL of agriculture in whatever way we can.

FarmOn Team

 

Farmer vs. Farmer: The War We Never Saw Coming

Stand for farmers (with logo)

The Farmer Wars are here and we’ve gotta say, they ain’t pretty! As more companies continue to use the great food debate as a marketing gimmick, often with controversy being their main goal, the agriculture industry has rounded up the troops and launched a counter attack at…each other. Wait…what???

Let’s be honest, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been witness to, or maybe even part of one of these battles. A knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out, no holds barred, good old fashioned mud slinging; farmer vs. farmer style. And if you’re like us, you’ve probably shook your head and thought “What the hell? Why are we fighting the wrong fight?”

Why do we continue to let companies like Chipotle pit farmers against one another? We have a bad habit in agriculture of allowing outside forces to divide us, and our first instinct is to tear fellow farmers apart in an attempt to prove that our way is the right way. Again, why? In the end, we are no further ahead, we feel crappy for the way we’ve treated a brother or sister in farming, and while we are busy fighting one another, we’re allowing others to sneak up the middle and tell a biased, tainted and self-serving story of farming, that has only proved to confuse our customers three ways to Sunday!

Companies like Chipotle know exactly the effect they are creating with sensationalized marketing ploys, and they succeed beautifully. Social media is all over it. Twitter is abuzz. And the comment forums are ripe with low blows and outrageous judgments. And now, they sit back and let the controversy fester, watching their campaign gain inertia thanks to the heated farmer wars taking place all around them. Well played Chipotle…well played.

But here’s a proposition. How about instead of fighting one another, we join together for the betterment of our industry and livelihood? It takes all kinds of farmers. That’s the great thing about a vast industry catering to consumers who are looking for different things: there is room for ALL. Period. We don’t need to criticize and shame each other, and here’s why: because YOU are the best farmer for your operation. You know what works best for your farm business and the reason you operate the way you do. And if you’re farming from a place of integrity, you’re doing it right.

#FARMVOICES is a day for joining together to celebrate both our differences as farmers and our commonalities. It’s a chance to put our foot down and say no more. No longer will we allow others to tell our farm story. We know the REAL story of farming, and nobody but us have earned the right to tell it! We’ve got this.

So this Earth Day, let’s take back control and stop tearing each other apart. We owe it to one another, but more importantly, to ourselves, to stop buying into the notion that there is only one way t ofarm. We think it’s time.

 

The FarmOn Team

We Love Farmers

Farming is more than a job. It’s a way of life. At farmon.com we seriously love farmers. So if you’re a farmer, or you know a farmer, share the love.

When you think about farmers and the work that they do, you may wonder, are they crazy? But farming is more than a job, it’s a way a life. It’s a labour of love that tugs at our being. Many of us were born to this calling with deeply planted rural roots, while other they must be adventure seekers. Because le’ts be honest, who would willingly trust their fate to mother-nature?

Risk is what sets us apart and we’ve seen the reward. We spend time cultivating a bounty fit to feed the world because this is our land and we were stewards of it long before being green was a cause. We rise with the sun, even though it inevitably beats us to bed, and we know we’re better people for it. But we play like champs, all the while knowing morning comes fast and we’ll get up and do it all over again. And even though we understand the hardships, we can’t imagine our lives any different.

Farming is freedom.

It’s life. I guess when you think about it, yeah it is crazy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.