I'm Thankful To Be a Part of the Ag Industry

Prairie Gleanings

There is no more honest or hard working industry than agriculture.

Published on: November 23, 2011
This week, the Illinois Corn Growers Association honored me with their Excellence in Media Award. First and foremost, thank you to the folks at ICGA. It’s a top-notch group that is doing some tremendous things for Illinois farmers.

Afterward WIXY Classic’s Gale Cunningham asked me a few questions relating to my career for his radio show. It got me thinking back on my career thus far. I know; that’s a dangerous proposition.

I’ll have been with Farm Progress four years this coming spring. It’s the first job I’ve absolutely loved. Farm Progress is a great company full of great people. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This entire industry is full of wonderful people.

When I wrote for newspapers, I would frequently encounter situations where it felt like someone was lying to me, or withholding some of the truth. I’ve rarely, if ever, felt like that when covering the folks in Illinois agriculture. That said, I try to give the Springfield state house a wide berth. It’s much more enjoyable to speak with policy experts such as Growmark’s Chuck Spencer.

Cultivating sources in the ag community has also been a joy. In news writing, you work to build a professional relationship with public figures. In ag, you’re building friendships. Making a farm visit for a story is less like work and more like catching up. The last time I visited Garry Niemeyer, we spent a good half hour chatting about our families before the words “Farm Bill” were even mentioned.

I’m honored that ICGA chose to recognize me at the Commodity Conference. However, I’m more honored just to be a part of this terrific industry. It feels strange to be honored for telling the Illinois farmer’s story. They’re your stories. I’m just the one putting them on paper.

This Thanksgiving, I offer a very heartfelt thank you to the Illinois ag industry. Thank you for welcoming a Missouri boy into your group. Thank you for showing me there is still hope in this country. There are good people out there working hard to do what’s right (and in one of the most corrupt states to boot!).

It's easy to get caught up in all the challenges facing the ag industry. Tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day), take a moment to ponder everything that's right in ag. Nowhere else will you find such hardworking, honest people. And, never forget that you are providing food for people. We've created so many ephemeral, unnecessary jobs in today's economy. We may or may not have a need for social media consultants in 50 years. As long as humans roam this earth, agricultural skills will be in demand.