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30 August 2015 - Volunteers, I Thank You!

I know it happens in urban America, but since I cover activities in rural America - agriculture and agribusiness, I’m much more aware of it happening in the rural communities. What is it? Volunteer ism - people volunteering their time to support something they believe in, wanting to make it even better and more attractive.

I am aware of that every time I go to a county fair, a state fair, an antique farm equipment show, a Farm Progress Show, a Husker Harvest Days, a Sun Belt Expo and the myriad other shows I attend throughout the year. I’m aware that these events and activities wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for volunteers donating their time and talent.

So, today I salute volunteers like those I found in my visit to Lubbock, Texas last week to speak at the annual fund-raising dinner of the Bayer Museum of Agriculture. There were 1,100 people at that fund raiser; they raised thousands of dollars to further the education program, along with a magnificent display showing how American farmers and ranchers worked and lived a century ago.

I have seen many displays of old farm equipment in my day, but I must say the Bayer Museum is the most impressive agricultural museum I have seen and here is my reason for saying that. Not only is it a very attractive display (in an air-conditioned building) of the equipment that was used decades ago to produce food, fiber and energy, but it also conducts an excellent education program using modern technology and interactive displays to help young people, particularly, learn where we have been in food production, where we are today and where we need to go in the future to feed the growing world.

It wouldn’t happen if there weren’t volunteers to do most of the work.The Bayer Museum of Agriculture operates with only two paid staff members, an active Board of Directors who are very generous with their time and money, and hundreds of unpaid volunteers who give of their time to stage events like last week’s fund-raising dinner. The next time you are in Lubbock, Texas, located in the center of the largest contiguous land area in the world that produces cotton, allow some time to visit the museum.

Again, to all of you who volunteer to support the county fairs, the state fairs, the farm equipment shows, the commodity festivals, the museums, and all of the other activities in rural America, I say thank you very much! You are preserving and building institutions that we truly need, institutions that relate the story of AGRICULTURE, the most basic industry on the planet; the hard work involved and what it means to the health and well-being of America and the world.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.