Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Learning the Secret Handshake

As I sat at my second Farmer Image training session (no, I did NOT flunk the first, I just saw an opportunity to talk to adults and hit the shoe department at Von Maur without the kids, so I jumped!), I felt like the last kid on the playground to be chosen for kickball.

I did not fit in.

I was one of the last to introduce myself, and as I listened to the others sharing their acreage total, master's degrees in crop/animal/weed science, what state board they were president of (be it pork, beef, corn, whatever), as well as their experience with livestock, I realized that I was not in my comfort zone at all. I was the most under-qualified, non agricultural person on the panel that day. I was sitting in the middle of a fraternity house, the fraternity that is agriculture, and did not know the handshake.


My heart was racing as the introductions continued down the line, nearing me. Leaning on my ol' friends, sarcasm and humor, I introduced myself, honestly, proclaiming that I was indeed supposed to be there, even though none of my education was going to help me.

However, this was not entirely true. Although I did not have on a pair of cowboy boots (thank you for reinforcing stereotypes, gentlemen), nor did I have anything emblazoned with any reference to seed corn, chemicals, or equipment, when we were practicing talking to the general public about the good agriculture was doing for the economy, environment, etc., I was able to actually participate!

While I wasn't able to give the scientific reason why we apply our fungicide by aerial application (aka crop duster planes), I was able to interject that no one in my family has a third eye because of it.

So, I might not have sounded the most polished, but one step at a time.

Anyway, my point here today is that I do not have a BS in Crop Sciences, nor did I participate in FFA in high school, nor do I even have the slightest clue how to turn on, let alone drive a tractor, even one as small as a lawnmower (due to an unfortunate run-in with a culvert and our push mower in fourth grade, I am no longer able to mow anyone's lawn...or so my dad says), but that does not make me less credible. The on the job training I am receiving by simply being a farm wife is helping me polish up my information set that I can share, as well as my communication skills to try to become a voice in agriculture that can be heard above the craziness of what is put out by the media.

Even though I am wiggling my way into the agricultural world, one meeting, blog post, and step at a time, I'm going to find myself a card-carrying member of this ag fraternity some day...and then, maybe I can learn that dang secret handshake!


  1. I bet you fit in better than you think! You had a lot of excellent contributions last time, and I think if absolutely nothing else, you were an example to the rest of someone who is finding a way to share ag's message without knowing how many aphids constitute a treatment threshold (or whatever :). Because sometimes it's not about those minutiae, it's about being a voice that appeals to people who don't understand us. Rock on. ;) HSpangler

  2. You go girl!
    Suburban 'Mrs Mum' is probably far more inclined to listen to what you have to say, than any old boot-wearin' cowboy.
    All the best.

  3. I think you are doing a fantastic job! My resume may have a big agriculture degree on it, and I have a great job in agriculture, but I feel out of place too sometimes. I'm a single girl who grew up living and breathing agriculture, however now lives in town, but lives for the weekends I get to be back on the farm.

    I am not a mommy blogger or farm wife so somehow I have less credibility on what people should feed their families. I guess we just have to keep on plowing through.

  4. Love that 2nd to last paragraph...I ran into a tree in 6th grade and haven't mowed since, either. :)

  5. When mowing I miss the culverts, the trees, the big things. It's the little things like bike parts from a child that has been reinventing his bike wheel or a brick from the sistern fill that has somehow snuck over to peek out from under the deck. The THUD, the WHIR, then the silence make you go uhoh..time for another mower.

    I never wanted to live on a farm, marry a farmer, or spend anymore time than I did as a chlid living in an old farmhouse, but it seems to be in the cards. I wouldn't trade my farmboy for anything in the world!