In many ways, farmers are traditionalists. Most of the old tried and true values and systems seem to work best on the farm, with a hint of modern and technology thrown in. This week on Corn Corps, we will use famous quotes spouting historical wisdom from even more famous Americans as a platform to tell you more about Illinois corn farmers and agriculture.
“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
Definitely times have changed since Mr. Roosevelt first uttered this quote. People seem less interested in gathering together with others in their industry or profession and more interested in sending an email or a text. We’re too busy to participate, too tired to contribute, and too stressed to offer solutions. Our finances are stretched then.
In the farming community, our numbers are dwindling since Roosevelt’s time. Now with fewer than 2 percent of the U.S. population growing food for the world, I would argue that we don’t have the benefit of excuses. Farmers simply can’t shirk away from contributing thinking that someone else will do it. They can’t afford to be too busy and they can’t dream of not participating.
On the other hand, farmers also can’t miss the window of opportunity to get their crops in the ground to attend a meeting. They can’t be late for milking because of a conference call. They can’t skip a sunny day perfect for field work to chat with their Congressman in town.
But they do. More than 4,000 farmers in Illinois belong to the Illinois Corn Growers Association. Every single one of them makes a sacrifice to support the industry in which they are engaged. Even more of them donate meaningful time, leaving their families at home to care for the farm, to determine research initiatives, legislative goals, and educational initiatives to better the agricultural industry in Illinois and the U.S.
By default, they better your lives too. In the farmer’s quest to preserve his land for future generations, the non-farmer receives more wholesome food and a better earth to live on. In the farmer’s quest to make better farm policy, you receive food security unknown by millions around the world. While a farmer thoughtfully researches new markets for his crop, you receive food, fiber and fuel that using renewable resources that often lower your costs and reinvest in your country.
As a non-farmer, you benefit daily from the farmer’s devotion to his industry, his business, his lifestyle. Are you as committed to bettering the world around you as he is?
And if you’re a farmer reading this, are you doing your part?
American apathy abounds. I urge you to get engaged in something, find someone to help, find something to work for. Mr. Roosevelt argues that it is a moral issue; I tend to agree.
ICMB/ICGA Marketing Director
Have you checked out the ICGA Annual Report focused around this Roosevelt quote?