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July 2, 2020

Honoring the Resilience of American Agriculture this Independence Day

Proud to be an AgAmerican

While Fourth of July plans may look differently for many this year—a shift from large social gatherings to more intimate quality time with friends and family—American farmers and ranchers will be hard at work before the sun comes up to ensure the rest of the nation is fed.

Agriculture has been at the forefront of American history since its inception as a liberated country. In the early 1800s, more than 80 percent of the American labor force worked in agriculture. Today, less than two percent of America’s working population provides for the entire nation, meaning our American farmers have an enormous weight on their shoulders to maintain financial security while sustaining our country and abroad.

The dedication of American farmers and ranchers to a purpose beyond their own self-interest embodies what the American flag represents—hardiness, perseverance, justice, and freedom. In honor of our national day of independence, we would like to express our deepest appreciation for the hardworking individuals who continue to sustain this country.

What it Means to be an AgAmerican

To be an American in agriculture or an AgAmerican, means to understand, appreciate, and respect the essential nature of the American agriculture industry. Our farmers and ranchers are at the heart of AgAmerican pride. They are the unsung heroes of our nation, who shoulder the weight of risks daily for the benefit of the American people.

“Farming’s not an eight-to-five job, it’s not a five-days-a-week job. Cattle eat whether it’s Christmas or the Fourth of July. You have to feed, water, and protect. It takes a lot of perseverance.”

Rita Bezner, A Texas Farmer’s Legacy

This holiday weekend, we invite you to dive into the values that shape the families within the agriculture community and learn what it means to be #AgAmericanProud

6 Values that Define American Agriculture

Few words can truly convey the character of our nation’s farmers and ranchers. However, having had the privilege to capture the stories of family-owned farm operations across the nation and listen to their unique stories of triumph as well as heartbreak, we’ve come to recognize six underlying values shared by the American Farmer.

1.  Grit

Strength of character is measured by the ability to accomplish goals in the face of adversity. American agriculture takes grit to get the job done even in the most trying of times. Unpredictable events—from natural disasters to an unprecedented pandemic—makes grit an undeniable component of the industry.

“You go through all the emotions. Some days you just want to lay down and cry. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. You just have to continue with the plan.”

John Bezner, Life of a Cattle Rancher

2. Resilience

Though similar, resiliency differs from grit in that it represents the ability to bounce back after overcoming obstacles once you’ve persevered in the midst of trials. Both are necessary and deeply embedded in the roots of American agriculture.

“Any business is hard. Most people that are successful get up every morning and go at it, through the good times and the bad.”

Richard Hudson, The American Farmer Series

3. Altruism

The farming way of life is an act of selfless passion, working towards a goal that goes beyond personal ambition. But rather than simply putting the needs of the collective ahead of their own, farmers and ranchers align their personal mission with the needs of the collective. Despite unforeseeable obstacles that arise, they continue to carry on each day for the greater good of society.

“I hope the wider community and country will understand what agriculture and farming is and how much risk is involved. You put up your life savings and are literally betting the farm to make a crop every year with potential for natural disasters and other things completely out of your control.”

Christopher Worsham, A Farmer’s Resilience

4. Stewardship

Land is a farmer’s most precious asset. Family-owned farms value this land as another family member—a member who holds the rich legacy of their generational history within its soil. Being a steward of agricultural land is an enormous responsibility to maintain and enhance the valuable resources within it for future generations.

“Working the land here for that many years…it’s a part of me and I’m a part of it. That’s the way I feel about the land. I can’t say it any other way. I care about what we do to the land and I appreciate what the land gives back to us.”

Brian Bezner, Three Generations of Texas Farmers

5. Dedication

Farming is not an industry where you can leave your work at the office at the end of the day or forget about it on the weekends. It goes beyond a typical job and is ingrained into their way of life. The American Farmer’s dedication to agriculture instills an appreciation for hard work and a deep sense of accomplishment when it comes time to harvest the fruits of their labor. 

“I’ll never forget, my dad came home one day and he had been working in the field. He was filthy and he said, ‘I feel good today, I got to work hard. If you’re going to do it, do it right’.”

Victoria Floyd, Farming For Generations

6. Family

The more you talk to American farmers, the more you realize they cherish quality time with the ones they love above all else. One of the aspects valued the most in the agricultural community is the opportunity to experience life on a farm together. The profound sense of loyalty and fellowship within these family-owned farms as they work towards a common goal is an inspiration in modern American society.

“This lifestyle has taught our kids about hard work and I also think it’s taught them about joy. Really what brings you joy isn’t materialistic things, but being together.”

Britt Wheatley, The American Farmer Series

Proud to be an AgAmerican

Of the more than two million agriculture operations in America, 98 percent of them are family-owned farms. These families make personal sacrifices each day for the good of our society. Without their hard work and dedication, the food security of our nation would be reliant on land beyond our borders, in turn, compromising the very freedom this country was founded on. In order to sustain this way of life, the American people must unite with AgAmerican pride to support our nation’s farmers and ranchers.

 “I hope all Americans have a desire to understand what agriculture means to this country. Farmers and ranchers are heroes. They shoulder and take risks daily for the benefit of others.”

Randy Wheatley, The American Farmer Series

Join us in advocating for the critical role of American agriculture this Fourth of July by sharing the video, “Proud to be an AgAmerican” with your friends and family. Use the hashtag #AgAmericanProud to spread awareness for this essential way of life and share what American agriculture–or what being an American farmer or rancher means to you.

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