Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stereotypes of the American Farmer/Rancher

    Although there is an endless amount of stereotypes, one that hits close to home for me is the stereotype that is put on the American farmer and rancher.  Very few people in the United States realize just how large of a role farmers and ranchers play in their everyday lifeSo, when some people say "Those dumb farmers don't even know what they're doing," "Ranchers don't even care about their animals," or "It doesn't take anyone or anything special to be a farmer," I think those people need to think twice about what exactly they are saying.  If it wasn't for our farmers and ranchers, we would be starving, unclothed, low on fuel, and millions of acres of land wouldn't be cared for in such an environmentally friendly manner.
     Our farmers plant, nurture, and harvest all of the crops that provide us with our daily nutrition including all of the small grains that are made into pasta, bread, flour, and even beer.   Along with farmers, our nation's ranchers provide us with various meats and the highest quality beef in the world, along with important by-products including fats and acids that go into everything from our tires to paints; the pharmaceuticals that will help treat everything from diabetes to blood disorders to life-threatening burns; the leather for our furniture, clothing, and sporting goods; and the list goes on.
    As far as being known as "dumb farmers," it's obvious that science and technology have played a huge role in developing these products that help humanity.  In an article published on "The Ohio State Extension" website entitled "Avoid the Common Stereotyping of Farmers," I found a list of skills that today's successful American farmer must possess, and having grown up on a farm, I find it to be completely true.  "A farmer must possess skills in the following professions: welding, accounting, farm law, politician, wildlife officer, veterinarian, construction, finance, animal husbandry, corporate executive, marketing, entomologist, plant pathologist, good neighbor, plumber, electrician, research scientist and an eternal optimist, just to mention a few." (
    Another stereotype that I have heard is about how ranchers don't care about their animals.  People should really think about that statement for a second.  Ranchers work every day come rain or shine to keep their animals healthy, growing, and in the best possible condition.  Ranchers make their yearly salary off from their animals, so they are going to do everything in their power to keep those animals healthy.  Today, a full-grown beef cow is worth close to $1,700.  A rancher's investment in their livestock is long-term, one where they anticipate raising a calf every year, for ten or more years, from that cow.  The only way they can make a living is by taking the best care of that livestock because first, it's the right thing to do, and second, it's their responsibility as a steward of the land and their livestock. (Nancy Jo Bateman, Executive Director of the North Dakota Beef Commission)
    It's self-evident that in today's world, farmers and ranchers are some of the most well-educated, business-minded, environmentally astute, scientifically grounded men and women you will ever rely on DAILY to supply you with FOOD, FIBER, and FUEL!