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Everyone Needs Some Recognition for Their Work

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The 6th World Congress for Conservation Agriculture is June 22-27 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I will be speaking about my interest in and opinions about conservation agriculture. In advance of that date I have decided to release a series of blogs outlining my position. I think that the agriculture community has a central role to play in advancing conservation agriculture worldwide in a way that supports science and those who produce the food for 7.2 billion mouths. It is my hope that we can come together at the Congress to begin to strategize toward re-educating the public toward a more sustainable future in agriculture. My first topic is recognition.

Everyone needs some recognition and appreciation for their work. You can read about this concept in any management basics textbook. If employers don’t show appreciation and recognition for employee’s efforts they will likely become unhappy working there. Most surveys indicate that appreciation is more important than wages. Imagine how our modern hard-working, risk-taking farmers feel when they read and hear so much negative media about modern agriculture?

When food is discussed in the media you mostly hear misinformation about pesticides and organic this and organic that. Everything you read and hear feels like a slap in the face to anyone involved in modern agriculture. Today’s no-till farmers not only feed us with extreme efficiency, they do it while protecting the environment and improving their soil for future generations. The improvements that have been adopted by farmers in the last 25 years are staggering. Yet nothing is heard about this in the media. If lack of recognition causes unhappiness in the workplace , imagine how farmers feel when they read the papers and watch the news.

The Farm Journal March 2014 issue contains a special features page that has survey results from farmers and agribusiness executives by Nate Birt. The title of the story is “Tempered Optimism”. One question is: What keeps you up at night when you think about the future of U.S. agriculture? 40% answered “Misinformation/lack of understanding of [agriculture] by the public”. 40% of farmers are losing sleep over not being understood, appreciated or even recognized for their hard work. I find this so sad when the opposite should be true. If it wasn’t for farmers using modern agriculture to feed over 7 billion people the world would be in chaos, suffering from things like starvation, famine, malnutrition, ill health and potentially war and conflict.

Pioneering scientists, such as Norman Borlaug, founder of the Green Revolution and developer of semi-dwarf, high yield and disease-resistant varieties of wheat, are people who should be household names in the mainstream. The misinformed public currently want us to go back to farming “naturally” like over a century ago. I would like these same people to go back to showing appreciation and giving thanks for having an abundance of affordable safe food to eat like our ancestors did, rather than taking it for granted and pointing fingers.

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