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What Difference Does Three Years Make?

April 2, 2012

Three years ago this week a group of ordinary people thought it would be a good idea to empower those in agriculture to reach out to the public. Since then, I’ve been blessed to take part in conferences in Chicago and Nashville, learning a great deal both times. I’ve learned immensely from friends like Mike Haley, Janice Person, Jeff Fowle, Darin Grimm, Michele Payne Knoper and dozens of more who came on board later. I’ve learned, I hope, to be a little less confrontational and a little more listening.

Many like to focus on differences and on the surface the differences are vast! A beef rancher, another with a background in dairy, one from an urban background and me who raises rabbits and poultry and raised bed gardens! Differences? Oh yea, they’re there. Now how about the similarities? Those are far more binding!

The interest, for example, in sincerely communicating what we do in a way that people who have no idea what we do might find interesting and of use. We’re ordinary people who eat daily, love animals and our families and enjoy a laugh at ourselves and with others. That overshadows the differences.

Remember this movie scene from The Breakfast Club? Students who thought they had nothing in common found much in common, but saw also that people see what they want to see. They judge.

Three years can be a great deal in context, but no time at all if looking down the road at what is left to do. Looking in the rear view mirror doesn’t work well if the road turns…and in many ways it’s been a winding mountain road! When those first discussions were held and the first Twitter #agchat organized, we were about to breed a doe that would have babies in June. One of those babies, doe BC1, not only has a fine litter now but has daughters and granddaughters in our herd. Her granddaughter showed well at the ARBA convention, and she may have daughter and great granddaughter in Wichita this year.

On a bigger note, in the spring horse racing fans (of which I am one) look to the Kentucky Derby. While we look at top horses like Hansen, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Daddy Long Legs and others in the preparation up to the Derby, three years ago those horses were foals, sprinting in the pasture with long naps in between. They’ve grown up, learned their lessons, matured and learned to be a race horse. Three years is a long time to prepare for an event, but it’s a short time in a historical sense.

Tomorrow night marks a special Twitter #agchat chat and whether you’re in agriculture or just eat, we’d welcome your participation. Communication is key, and miscommunication builds walls.

Let’s make it easier. Let’s find those things in common – recognize the differences including of opinions.

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