L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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Quality is a Good Thing

Now that my growing season has come to end, I find myself engaged in agriculture in different ways.  I am just now returning from Pennsylvania where I had an opportunity to spend time with a group of individuals with limited exposure to agriculture and farming.  Quite honestly there was a wide-spread and a less than flattering opinion of farmers in the room.  As a former urbanite I was well­ aware of this tendency, but now that I am a full convert I was not amused but offended.  Then I realized we farmers only have ourselves to thank.  I spent the better part of my time engaging people as they asked hundreds of questions about everything from organics to the farm bill.  At the end a few individuals found it necessary to apologize for their early assumptions. Ag America we need to wake up, step up and speak up.  But our message needs to speak a new language… one of quality, innovation, and excellence.

We need to post fewer pictures of cute baby farm animals and 4H pets on Facebook and spend a little more time engaged in discussion on what matters – TO OUR CONSUMERS.  I was the only “farm expert” in the room and my credibility on the farm bill, food safety, and the abilities of the American farmer went unchallenged.  For many I was better than an expert because I was standing right in front of them speaking THEIR language.For many I was better than an expert because I was standing right in front of them speaking THEIR language. 

I was the first person they had EVER heard speak of agriculture using terms THEY UNDERSTOOD.  I learned they care a whole lot LESS about my multi-generational family farm and a whole lot MORE about the fact that our farm held itself accountable to strong financial standards and worried about things like profitability, labor management, and quality control. They were relived!!!

It is time farmers start speaking of our profession as a professional…someone engaged in their occupation and holding themselves accountable to a set of standards… standards of excellence and accountability.  And yet, we are the least likely to talk about ourselves in that way.  Why is that?

 I know far too many farmers to not KNOW that deeply embedded in our DNA is a huge commitment to these types of standards. The very best of us know all about quality, safety, profitability because we live and breathe it every day… so why not talk about it in a way that conveys a message that farming was not the occupation chosen because it was the only thing left after failing at something else?  Why not talk about your moments of excellence and your lessons learned in a way that conveys a message of, “I love what I do, I wake up each morning grateful for one more day… we are so committed to quality and safety that we go above and beyond the industry standards.  Now before you question whether I mean you… I DO.  You are my brother, husband uncle, grandfather, grandmother, mother and friend and I have seen some GREAT stuff.  Own it, celebrate it, and share it. 

A cautionary note …the desire to connect to agriculture is VERY much alive and well.  I cannot tell you how many people made a point to tell me how they owned an acre or two or eight or 100.  They were proud and wanted me to appreciate what they were able to acquire for themselves… as one put it, “If you don’t own land… you don’t own anything that matters.”  These were the words of a former CEO of an AEROSPACE engineering firm.  I talked to others who shared their knowledge of their local farms and even their personal efforts to raise their own garden.   They are sharing their efforts to try and be more like YOU.  THAT my farmer friend is the highest form of flattery.  Own it, celebrate it, and share it. 

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Fall Has Arrived

So tomorrow is Veg Fest in Lincoln, Ne and I am VERY excited.  I have been told to expect a lot of people so as I prepare, I am making some change that I hope will simplify tomorrow.  I am pre-weighing things like onions, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and greens to avoid using my scale.  I am not sure how to price my sweet potatoes but we will figure it out by 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.  J

This week was a little calmer and the girls have enjoyed more time at home.  They were able to enjoy the last few warm days we may likely see for some time with a romp on the trampoline.  We also had time to discover that Mamma Kitty has been hiding a few things from us.. four fat and sassy baby kitties that surprisingly enough are not too terribly wild.  This time the kittens have been hidden REALLY well so with a little luck they will make it.  Reba our red heeler who is a bit rough on kittens even seems to be willing to leave these kittens be.  The girls are thrilled.  This year has been a rough one for baby kitties on our farm. 

If you have not been to Veg Fest, maybe you can check it out tomorrow from 2:00 to 5:30 at Holmes Road Lake Park.  I am not familiar with that part of Lincoln, so before I go to bed I need to spend a little time with MapQuest.  I finally upgraded to a Smart Phone and I have been told there is a turn by turn feature.  I will have to check it out before I leave. 

Despite nearly two months preparation for Veg Fest sadly my snap peas are not ready, and I fear tonight’s wintery blast will end their season along with a lot of BOK Choy that I simply do not have room for.  This has been a rough one to say the least.  Despite that I will have a huge selection of squash, greens, watermelon, pumpkins, birdhouse gourds, my last 8 bars of soap and A LOT MORE.  I hope you will come by and see me.  I will be in D6…. IF THAT HELPS.  Tomorrow you will not find me behind our Husker Red family sedan… I borrowed my father-in-law’s truck!!!!  I have A LOT of stuff… all of it needs good homes.

My thoughts of gratitude are focused on the looks on my girl’s faces when the baby kitties were discovered.  My girls have prayed nightly for a baby cousin who is going through a very rough time and for some new baby kitties.  We are still praying for our cousin, but we were so thankful last night that the other prayer had been answered.   We were so thankful that we decided to pray for our cousin two times.  Not too long ago Livie asked me why we pray for other people, I think this made it easier to understand. 

 

I need to confess.  I did something this week I really wish I hadn’t.  The details are not necessary, but to say that I allowed hurt feelings to cloud my better judgment is probably the most accurate summary I can offer.  I have been there and done that many times in my life and I am sure many of you can relate.  The “shoulda,”” woulda,”” coulda”  will be deviling me for quite some time.  I am still working on some unresolved anger with that particular and tonight I need to focus on this weakness as I pray. 

I need to confess.  I did something this week I really wish I hadn’t.  The details are not necessary, but to say that I allowed hurt feelings to cloud my better judgment is probably the most accurate summary I can offer.  I have been there and done that many times in my life and I am sure many of you can relate.  The “shoulda,”” woulda,”” coulda”  will be deviling me for quite some time.  I am still working on some unresolved anger with that particular and tonight I need to focus on this weakness as I pray.  

Have a fresh and fabulous Saturday and I hope to see you at VEG FEST!!!!

 
 
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