As I get ready for my favorite holiday, the Fourth of July, my mind is on fireworks, cookouts and spending time with family. Even with all the rain we’ve had this week, it still feels like summer.

All of the county fairs, fireworks and festivals this time of year remind me how thankful I am to live in a country where we are free — free to live, work, do what we want to do and, as I’ve been thinking more and more, free to eat and grow what we’d like.

Sometimes it is discouraging to me, as an agricultural enthusiast, to know the extensive rules and regulations that the government sets for farmers. I know they are there to make our food safe and the agriculture industry efficient.

But I also know many farmers who feel like they have no privacy any more, less freedom to run their business the same way they did before.

What it all boils down to is the changing times. Technology is different, and people are different. Between pushes from one side for organic food and against “pink slime” and resistance from producers who have done their jobs successfully for years, the scene simply is different than it was 20 years ago.

But even though things are going to change and legislation is going to follow suite, I have faith that the spirit of freedom in agriculture will persevere.

Unlike most people, I don’t think the small-town farmer will disappear forever, not anytime soon, at least. Where there is determination, there is a way.

With the local food movement increasing in popularity, it gives small farm owners a space to stay small and specialize in what they want. There is plenty of room in our food market for consumers to choose whether they want to buy organic or conventional foods, as well as whether producers want to grow one way or another.

I think that, compared to many countries, we still have a substantial amount of freedom in America. I just hope it stays that way and we always have liberty.

I also should note how thankful I am that there’s freedom to communicate and stand up for what we believe in, as members of the agricultural community. I’m thankful for freedom of the press, the ability to write this blog with all of my opinions and know that it’s OK.

I hope everybody enjoys their holiday weekend. Have fun, stay safe and be thankful. There’s a lot to be happy about.