I sit here this evening trying to find the right words to a question that I have been asked daily since the launch of #farmvoices: “Who is FarmOn, and why should we care if young farmers farm?” This is challenging to me, not because I couldn’t give you the 30 second speech, but how do you explain to someone who has never stepped foot on a farm why it’s important that the world’s future generations be fed by farmers, when chances are, they will still have full bellies?
2.4 billion extra people to feed, with no more land. This is what the future holds for all of us young farmers…no pressure! To put that into perspective, we will have to increase our current production by 70-100%. I don’t say this expecting some great debate or because I have an answer with the best solution. To be honest, I don’t have one. The reality is just this, people will continue to have babies and we have no more land.
As our industry faces one of the most difficult challenges we have ever been dealt, I believe there are no greater people on this earth to rise to the occasion than our young farmers; no other group on this earth that links us to humanity while carrying the simple wisdom, passion and understanding of the delicacy of Mother Nature; no other group that makes the conscious decision to live every single day producing food for the world, not because the economics make sense, but because doing anything else doesn’t really feel like living at all; and finally, no other group that has cared for the land for generations as a legacy for their children, not as a means of generating profit at all costs.
We don’t pretend to hold the key to a magic solution, but we move forward with great intention. Our goal is simple, but big: to help change the status quo, to move our industry from struggling to survive, to generating exactly what the world needs by creating a thriving industry. In order to do this we must change our conversations, work together to shape a future that not only meets the demands of feeding the planet, but one where young farmers truly move the industry forward as each generation is intended to do.
So this brings me to #farmvoices, a movement that I look at as a beautiful starting point to create the meaningful conversations and relationship building necessary for young farmers to create a strong rapport with each other and our consumers. This is a unique opportunity for farmers around the globe to unite under one common goal: telling the story of farming. Because it doesn’t matter where the movement started or which flag we fly, the passion we all share and the big challenges we face are the same, regardless of borders or language. So consider this my invitation to you, wherever you are, whatever you farm, rally your countrymen together and plan to join your fellow farmers across the entire planet on Earth Day, April 22, as we embark on a journey that could mean deeper understanding and exciting change for our industry. But it can’t stop with Earth Day, the momentum created through #farmvoices must spin into something more, conversations are a perfect lead in to positive action. Together, the possibility of finding solutions to our challenges is far greater than anything we could accomplish in our own silos. I say this with great urgency. The time is now. It’s. Our. Turn.