People never cease to amaze me! I was told today that we didn't need farmers!! So I am guessing that person doesn't need to eat either.As organizers of Ag Day say:
We know that food and fiber doesn't just arrive at the grocery or clothing store or magically appear on the dinner table or in our closet. There's an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption.
As the Ag Week hashtags and Facebook posts have been showing up on my social media feed this week, I've been thinking more about the importance of rural communities - actually being a community.
- Each American farmer feeds about 165 people. Agriculture is America's No. 1 export.
- New technology means farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before.
This week, a community matriarch and business owner in our small town died after a long illness. One of her grandsons posted a thank you for the expressions of sympathy given to their family - everything from cards to prayers to meals.
And, on the other end of the spectrum, two of our community's veterinarians had their first baby. He lived only two hours. A Meal Train is filling up quickly, and a fund to help them pay for medical and funeral expenses has already exceeded the original goal.
Helping out a neighbor is second nature to rural communities. It's demonstrated over and over and over again. Those are just two of latest examples. It wouldn't take me long to come up with a dozen.
But those trials can strengthen us and our resolve, too. It's kind of like a Flint Hills pasture in the spring. It won't be long before "smoke signals" will drift into the Kansas skies from controlled burns on Kansas pasture lands, especially in the Flint Hills.
We think of fire as a destructive thing, and it certainly can be. But it can also be a vehicle of rebirth. One spring, I stopped at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve south of Council Grove - a detour as I came home from a convention. I could see the remnants of a prairie fire in the charred grasses and scorched branches.
But from the charred earth was green regrowth and vibrant prairie flowers lifting toward a vibrant blue sky.
It seems counter intuitive. Why would fire - which seems such a destructive force - bring this new life?
Yet as ranchers light fires to clear the dead grass and small brush, it makes way for a new carpet of green just weeks later.
And the cycle of life begins again. The Flint Hills are part of the tallgrass prairie, which stretches from Canada to Texas. Ranchers have a saying: Take care of the grass and it will take care of you. Burning pastures has been part of caring for the prairie even back to the days of the Indians. It's an age-old partnership with cattle, birds, wildflowers and the grasslands.