I traveled to Sarasota, Florida a couple of months ago to assist in promoting the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Fund at Mattison’s Scholarship Dinner. During this visit, I enjoyed speaking to all those that attended the wonderful dinner held at Mattison’s. I enjoyed entertaining questions about Niman Ranch and my family’s seventh-generation farm during the social hour. Questions ranged from why my family supports Niman Ranch to how the scholarship fund has impacted my life to the process of raising our pigs.
While speaking with the guests, I introduced myself as a “production agriculturalist” instead of a farmer. I chose this introduction to make those attending think about the difference. Since this was a formal dinner, I was dressed up and DID NOT look like what might be considered the “typical farmer. When answering the question of “why a production agriculturalist”, it would be something like this: When you think of a farmer, you might think an older guy with a receding hairline in overalls and a piece of straw hanging from his lip. A farmer and production agriculturalist are the same things, but it makes you think of this way of life a little different. Farmers are more than just keepers of cows, sows, and plows. We have to be a jack of all trades: untrained but experienced meteorologists, veterinarians, doctors, mechanics, teachers and students, managers and leaders. In addition, Niman Ranch farmers are also environmentalists, stewards of the land and care about the products we are bringing to our customer’s forks.
Although this answer may not be what they were expecting, it did help them think about farmers from another perspective. During the dinner, I told stories about the scholarship fund, farming and more. I greatly enjoyed this opportunity to promote my family’s farm, Niman Ranch and our Next Generation scholarship fund. Through these conversations, I promoted my biggest passion in the world – family farming! I am so thankful for Mattison’s continued support of Niman Ranch and our way of raising animals. It is humbling to know that people from all over the country want to learn more about their food and where it comes from and THEN support this way of life by helping young people who want to stay on the farm or work in the “field”.