10 December 2017

“Consumers just don’t understand us. We must do a better job of telling city people what we do and why we do it on farms and ranches to produce the necessities of life.” It is something I hear at every meeting of agriculture groups I attend, and I think we are making progress, but way too slowly.

But last week I attended an agricultural meeting with a different goal that I found interesting. The meeting took place in Phoenix, Arizona
and the purpose was to educate farmers producing a wide span of agricultural products about challenges their neighbors were facing.

Here’s the story. Three years ago, Mark Killian, the Director of Agriculture in the state of Arizona decided to begin the Arizona Ag Roundtable. Last week in a one-day meeting, 300 agricultural producers and agribusiness suppliers in the state, came together to hear about the challenges faced by other producers in the state.

There were representatives and speakers in attendance from nearly all fields of agriculture . . . dairy, cotton, cattle, hogs, produce, alfalfa, poultry and eggs, horticulture, and specialty crops. They spent the day listening to the challenges faced by other producers and found that while many of their problems were common, not all of them were. For example, border crossing of cattle between Mexico and the United States, or the invasive species problems were specific to certain producers, while labor , trade and the farm bill were concerns of everybody in the room. I learned a lot at the meeting.

As I listened to the discussion and questions, I think a lot of people in the room did, too. And I thought , what a great idea and why don’t more states conduct similar programs. I know Ag Director Mark Killian would be happy to share information with you on putting an annual program of this type together in your state.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.