January 31, 2023

Rural Issues: Resolutions for the farm

We are far enough into the new year that most of us had the opportunity to bend, if not break, any resolutions that we made for 2023.

I know a lot of people talk about resolutions, but few of us truly commit to any of them. Jan. 1 is the ultimate tomorrow, as in “I’ll start tomorrow.”

Some resolved to lose weight, save money or quite smoking. Others resolved to be more kind, pray more frequently, be more generous, more patient, or to stop and smell the roses.

I wish everyone well in their efforts to keep those resolutions or get back on track with them if they have stumbled.

I also humbly put forward the following for your consideration for the remaining weeks of 2023:

• Use proper terminology, not slang terms, when speaking about agriculture. It can be confusing and frightening for consumers.

• Be a good steward of the air, water, land, livestock and people involved with your farm or ranch. Do not defend a bad actor on the farm and for heaven’s sake, do not be one.

• Review and update your will if it needs it. If you do not have a will, create one. Remember, last wills must meet the following criteria: you must be of sound mind, you must be acting of your own free will without undue influence or duress from others and the will must be signed and witnessed according to the applicable laws of your state.

• Vote in every election. Do some homework on candidates, whether they are running for county commissioner, state legislature or a federal post.

• Take advantage of any and every opportunity to be the face for agriculture. Not every one of us is a public speaker or feels comfortable taking a leadership role in a county or state ag or commodity organization, but each of us has a role in protecting and promoting the industry. When you hear someone at the grocery store or the local café speak incorrectly about food production, take advantage of the opportunity to strike up a conversation.

• Do not spew hatred and lies about farmers whose methods and products differ from your own. A rising tide carries all boats. A diverse and united agriculture is a strong agriculture.

• Find a mentor and be a mentor. You do not have to be a ripe old age with years of experience to have knowledge to share. I learn something new every single day from members of my staff that are half my age.

Many of you are already in the habit of doing at least a few of the things on this list. If you will resolve to do at least a couple more, it will make a difference for your family, your community, your state, your country and this agriculture industry that we love.

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.