When my wife, Bonnie, and I are at home with the grandkids, we enjoy farming together. Then, when the farm work is done, we enjoy sitting down to watch a Disney movie. The stories follow a classic pattern of good overcoming evil. It’s amazing how that “spoonful of sugar,” in the form of an entertaining story, helps the “medicine go down” and teach a lesson about life. Even in the Bible, Jesus uses memorable stories, parables, to minister to his disciples and help them understand the Word of God. A simple story can have a great impact. It’s human nature to relate to what’s happening to another person—to put ourselves in that other person’s shoes and wonder how we would feel if the events happened to us.
In agriculture, we often feel that the general public doesn’t relate to us and the challenges we face. But it’s partly our fault. We’re quick to talk about issues, but not so eager to explain how those issues really affect us, our farms and our farm families.
Maybe you have a great story to tell about how farm programs saved your farm from a weather disaster. I recently met a blueberry farmer who said he would be out of business—and his employees would be out of work—if it wasn’t for crop insurance. I’ll be sharing his story with members of Congress as we work on the farm bill over the next few months. Maybe you have a story about how using modern farming technology is helping you to be more sustainable by conserving natural resources while also being more profitable. Maybe you have a less positive story to tell about the burden of government regulations or how tax policies threaten your ability to keep your farm in the family.
I hope you will help us bring those or other issues to life by sharing your story. The American Farm Bureau has created a Web page where you can Share Your Story on tax issues, regulations, water issues or anything else you’d like to share. If we need to follow up and get more of the story, we’ll use the contact information you provide.
I know it’s scary to put yourself “out there.” Farmers and ranchers tend to be private people. But if we don’t make our issues real, we will lose to other interests that don’t hesitate to pull every heartstring or play on the public’s fears. To have an impact on issues, we must explain the impact of those issues. We must share our story.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.