By: John Sorbello
NYFB Foundation Board of Directors
Considering hosting a farm tour or open house? New York Farm Bureau’s Foundation for Agricultural Education has amassed a wide array of tools to help you successfully engage your non-farm neighbors.
Farmers often talk about stewardship, and rightly so. We’re proud of all that we do in terms of protecting our natural resources. Conserving soil and water, along with wildlife habitat, top the list of achievements today’s agriculturist can point to that benefit everyone, whether they realize it, or not.
Also, under the heading of stewardship, the dedication of those involved in animal agriculture is something to be commended. Proper nutrition, animal comfort, and humane treatment are paramount on today’s livestock operation.
For many years, it seemed fairly simple. We tended to our farms with an un-equaled dedication, some would even say a passion for what we did on a daily basis. Even though many of our neighbors weren’t farmers, they understood who we were and what we did. Most importantly, they trusted us to be responsible, professional stewards. But, as a great songwriter once wrote, the times, they are-a-changing! From questions on environmental issues, to livestock care, crop inputs, or how farm labor, consumers are more interested than ever in how we operate our farms.
Keenly aware of cultural changes taking place which could potentially impact how we farm, many producers are taking a proactive approach, opening up their farms for tours and other events. Still others are engaging the public by speaking at civic group gatherings or visiting local schools to discuss farming methods. Kudos to all who are stepping up to the challenge, engaging in this type of “societal” stewardship!
One of the main reasons I support the Foundation is because it has developed so many tools to help farmers effectively reach out and communicate with their non-farm neighbors. From booklets on farm tour tips, to materials for classroom visit preparation, Ag Master Kiosks, and more, the list of items available to help promote agriculture and educate the general public is extensive!
I strongly encourage anyone interested in the promotion of agriculture to check out nyfbfoundation.org. You’ll be amazed at what they have to offer. I also encourage all Farm Bureau members to help support the Foundation. You too can do your part to help sow the seeds of understanding! Now, more than ever, we need to tell our story!