I was just being a silly kid with silly kid thoughts. He was just a farmer because he didn’t wear a suit and tie to work. He was just a farmer because I didn’t think he had an important job like the other kids’ dads. As a kid, I didn’t get it.
That was a long time ago, and my thoughts on the importance of being a farmer have changed dramatically. My dad got to just do the job he loved, every day. My dad got to just help feed people. My dad got to just be a great example of what a proud, hardworking, caring farmer looks like, and I have the honor of calling myself a farmer too.
Fortunately, that opinion of farmers is changing with the non-farming community too. My dad, my family and farmers like us are never just farmers.
I was recently asked to speak at a Science Museum Gala. When I began by saying my family and I are dairy farmers, the audience cheered and applauded. Why is this perception of farming changing? There are many reasons, but you and I can take much of the credit. I know you have heard this many times, “People want to know where their food comes from.” We are being transparent. We are telling our stories.
So how are you celebrating June Dairy Month? How are you opening that window to begin conversations? Here’s a few things my family does to share our story.
What could be a more perfect pairing than cookies and milk? In honor of June Dairy Month, Bremer Farms serves homemade cookies with milk to our church friends after the Sunday services on the first Sunday of June. This has become an annual tradition and a fun way to start conversations about dairy.
It’s the last day of school, and we show our appreciation to our teachers and staff by treating them to an ice cream treat on that final day of the school year. I contact the school principal to arrange a convenient time, and we roll in with coolers full of ice cream. Each June, my family chooses a different school within our hometown.
Soccer, anyone? Our church organizes a youth soccer camp each June, and what better way to quench the thirst of the athletes than providing chocolate milk and yogurt, too.
But sharing our dairy story doesn’t have to cost us any money either.
I love to read, and my family has spent hours and hours at our local library. After contacting our children’s librarian at our public library, I am now an annual guest at Storytime With a Farmer. I bring my bag of farm props along with a few of my favorite cow books – and as I read, I pause frequently to pull another “prop” from my bag to share about our farm. Thanks to our checkoff, everyone goes home with a cow hat and a coloring book, too.
Are you on social media? Me too! My family and I are always posting pictures of the day-to-day goings-on from our farm. Our YouTube channel has over a hundred farm-related children’s storytimes to watch, and many include photos and videos from around our farm too.
I sound like I’m bragging about what we do, and that is definitely not my intention. I hope you can see that it’s easy to open the window to share our dairy story because we love what we do, and there are so many opportunities to do so. After all, we are not just farmers. We are proud, hardworking, caring farmers who still have a few people to remind of that.
- Hastings, Minnesota