Why I Created Thank A Farmer Day

Posted by Rhonda Ross

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tags: Dairy Farmers

Have you thanked a farmer lately? If you're like 98 percent of our nation living in a city, you won't come in contact with a farmer or their family. It’s easy for us to thank our local teacher, doctor or policeman for their services, but farmers are a group of people we rarely even think about.

I started Thank A Farmer® more than six years ago, in response to hearing about farm kids being bullied in their schools by their town peers. When you're a farm kid, your life is different than those of kids living in towns and cities. Most farm kids help their parents on the farm, unlike the majority of kids who don't go to work with their parents. A farm kid's home is the place where their parents work and they pitch in to help.

My family has farmed in this country for more than six generations, but I was the first one that grew up in a big city, and I have lived in cities all my life. I learned from my visits to my grandparents' farm what farming and farm life was all about. The most important thing I knew from growing up in cities is that my neighbors and city friends knew nothing about farmers or the importance of their work. We all just go to the store and buy the food, clothing and other items with little thought of where they come from.

Thank A Farmer® was created to teach all children, especially urban kids, the importance of our farmers in our daily lives. I relate the products that kids use every day from food, sports equipment, clothing and even their household items back to the farm. I've written two interactive children's books and travel nationwide doing educational programs on the importance of our farmers. The amazing part is not only that kids are learning a new respect for farming, but so are their parents.

On Nov. 20, 2009, 17 state governors declared Thank A Farmer Day® in their respective states. Unfortunately, these declarations were only recognized within the agriculture community and very few people even heard about it. Our mission is to have every state declare Thank A Farmer Day® and be recognized by ALL children, not just within the agriculture community. To do this, we are developing a special program for school children that will teach them the importance of our farmers. They first need to know why our farmers are so important before they thank them!

So I will ask you today to think about what your life would be like without a farmer. Can you provide all your food, clothing and shelter without them? If not, tell your children and your loved ones November 20th is Thank A Farmer Day®, and give thanks to those families making your life easier!

Rhonda Ross

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