Thank a Farmer

November 18, 2010 | 9:11 am

As Thanksgiving approaches, I reflect more about the things I should be grateful for. In my daughter’s third grade class they are preparing a Thanksgiving play that portrays the Thanksgiving feast and the gratitude the Indians and pilgrims displayed on that day.  When the pilgrims and Indians sat together for the first Thanksgiving feast, their entire livelihood was centered on producing the food, fiber and fuel they needed to survive. No doubt, much labor went into growing, harvesting and preparing the feast that we honor each year.

Today our food is grown, harvested and prepared as well, the difference being that we pay the farmers to do the work for us. You see, every time we eat, we are consuming the hard work of the American farmer. They toil over the land, producing a safe and abundant food supply for us.

I often cut coupons and rant and rave about my grocery bill. Instead, I should look at the big picture. In America, we spend less than 10% of our income on food (leaving more for me to spoil my kids with). We are incredibly fortunate to have farmers markets and grocery stores that are easily accessible and affordable.

I get frustrated when farmers are portrayed as uneducated and unsophisticated, especially when I know they are true professionals, many with college degrees. They protect and preserve the land as that is their livelihood and their families’ future. The media use scare tactics and will lead you to believe that our food is not safe and that farmers are not being responsible. This is absolutely false. Farmers use sound science, sophisticated technology, and are trained and certified to apply the herbicides, insecticides and nutrients they need to produce our food.

This is a picture of my dad and two of my daughters. He is a farmer and proud of it. I have seen him work the land, sun-up to sun-down, and bring in the harvest. He is much like every farmer, hardworking, loyal and proud. It’s reassuring to me to know that this is the kind of person feeding America.

To the American farmer, I thank you for your labor, expertise and dedication to your profession. I’m grateful for the bountiful, safe and nutritious food you produce.  May you continue to prosper!