On Tuesday night Harvest Land was a sponsor of the 2018 Wayne County Rural Urban Banquet. This is a treasured tradition in the area, where people who dwell within the city limits share a meal and fellowship with those who make a living out on a country mile. For decades this event has brought farmers, business owners, elected officials and rural route residents to the table. It is a very popular event in east central Indiana.
This year was special in that the keynote speaker was Zippy Duvall, President of the National Farm Bureau Federation. Zippy is a third-generation farmer from Georgia. In addition to a 400-head beef cow herd for which he grows his own hay, Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, also grow more than 750,000 broilers per year. Have you ever eaten at Chick-fil-A? Chances are you enjoyed one of his birds.
Zippy delivered a fantastic address regarding the current state of government affairs in Washington and the issues on the table that will matter in agriculture, and in turn affect the food on tables in homes and restaurants. Though a large majority of the evening crowd may feel a disconnection to agriculture, the truth is that it affects nearly every aspect of their life, including food, clothing, energy and more.
Many are familiar with the fact that only 2% of Americans farm today. Decades ago nearly every American family tended a garden because they had to; they depended on it year-around for fresh and canned produce. Today, most who have a garden do so because they enjoy the work and art of growing food for their family to enjoy. Gardens are no longer mandatory for feeding a family (much like 20 hens, a dairy cow, a beef steer, a hog, etc. also were) because the two-percent grow enough for food the rest of us.
The 2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do other things.
Other things, such as a chef who prepares a meal for new, exhausted parents who haven’t left the house in more than three weeks.
Other things, such as the 911 dispatcher who calmly answers the phone and talks to a terrified stranger on the other end of the line.
Other things, such as the child protective services employee who removes a child from an unimaginable home situation.
Other things, such as the librarian who encourages a child to put down an iPad and pick up a book, opening up a whole new world.
Other things, such as the generator installer who worked all night so a doctor’s office had restored power by the time the doors opened at 7:30 AM.
Other things, such as the fraud prevention officer at the bank who watches account information so that money within savings accounts stay there.
Other things, such as the fire fighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running out.
Other things, such as the loan officer who finds the way to loan a few bucks to a newlywed couple trying to buy their first home.
Other things, such as the tow truck driver who doesn’t sleep when snow falls, roads freeze or potholes get the best of another highway traveler.
2% of Americans farm, which gives 98% of Americans the freedom to do so many other, important things.
While 2% and 98% seem awfully off balance, if you consider the many admirable things others do outside of agriculture, you’ll realize that the work tends to balance. Harvest Land is grateful to be a part of events, such as the Rural Urban Banquet, that allow us to come together for an evening and remember that.