These words were in my mind as National Ag Day grew closer. I truly believe them and in the future of Agriculture. This young woman who you are about to meet, even more instills my confidence in our future. It is my pleasure to introduce to you Miriam Martin. A young woman who is sharing her passion for agriculture and is guest posting today on National Ag Day.
I grew up in the green hills of north Missouri on a cattle and hog farm. I was lucky enough to get to see the miracle of new life, to play in the dirt, dance in the rain, and to understand first-hand where my food comes from. I went to high school in the small town of Meadville, where my dad was my Agriculture teacher and we lived and breathed basketball. I was very active in our local FFA chapter, served as an area officer, and am now a state FFA officer. I competed in extemporaneous public speaking and livestock judging nationally, through FFA, along with countless local contests from pork speeches to poultry judging, and meats judging to ag sales. My dad being a restless soul, I attended five different schools before I graduated, allowing me to claim that I “know half of North Missouri”. I was encouraged to be a well-rounded, Christian young woman by my parents daily. This meant showing all sorts of animals, pigs being my favorite, being involved in every organization I had time for, from 4-H to FCA and FCCLA to Peer Helpers, and maybe most importantly, teaching Sunday school. Today I attend the University of Missouri where I am majoring in Animal Sciences, and I love every minute of it, well, close. Animal agriculture is my passion and advocating for the industry is an overreaching goal of mine. I work at the Mizzou Meat Market and Meat Lab, I compete on the Mizzou Meats Judging Team, and I just completed my first undergraduate research project within meat science. Sounds like a lot of meat! But I really enjoy where I’m at, I travel all the time, people tell me I’m crazy for missing so much class, but I’m making the most of my time at Mizzou. I actively participate in Collegiate Cattlewomen, Swine Club, Farm Bureau, and Block and Bridle, which has afforded me many new friends, connections, and experiences. I owe my current successes to the fact that I grew up on a farm, where I learned that hard work, integrity, and serving the Lord should be at the essence of everything we pursue.
Growing up on a farm meant getting up before the sun to chore and going to bed long after it had set, being tired at school was a given, especially during calving season and my favorite time of the year; showpig season. My brother and I made up songs about being the pooper scoopers when it was ninety degrees and we were covered in hog crap. The most valuable lesson learned, was that the key to life is all in how you look at it, we knew the joys and discomforts of an agriculture life, and we learned to enjoy the good times and push through the bad. One of my favorite farm memories is from back when I went to half-day kindergarten. We happened to have quadruplet lambs at the time, I would go bottle feed the babies that were not getting enough milk right before I got on the school bus. I would push the bottle through the fence and watch Lucy’s little tale start to wiggle as she filled her tummy with milk, her sister’s names being Freckles and Speckles. Yet Lucy was my favorite because she was the quadruplet that the mom didn’t take, so I thought I was her mom. Little did I know, I was learning dependability and compassion at the age of five.
Naturally my passion is agriculture, it’s the reason that I have become the person that I am today. I love going to Washington, D.C. and telling my story to legislators as much as I enjoyed giving kindergarten tours on my grandpa’s farm. Diverse audiences with different values and backgrounds is what makes “agvocating” and telling my story fun. Connecting the pieces of the puzzle from the farm gate to the consumer plate is what I do. I believe that the American public no longer blindly trusts farmers, they are questioning what we do and where their food comes from. Which gives us an opportunity, a chance to explain what we do, to explain that our animals’ needs come before our own, that it can be negative ten degrees, a blizzard, and if a cow is calving, we are out in it until that baby is warm and dry. It gives us a chance to tell our story because they are asking for it, and listening, and asking questions. My generation is growing up and creating a world that looks nothing like the generation prior. This is exciting, scary, and means that like it or not, change is inevitable.
I can’t tell you what the agriculture community is going to look like twenty years from now, but I do know this. It’s going to be technologically efficient, environmentally conscientious, economically viable, and sustainable. We are going to feed people. It may look nothing like it does today, in fact I can guarantee that it won’t, but it’s up to young people like myself to determine that destiny, to write the next chapter; and I can’t wait. My generation goes, goes, goes, we do everything 100 mph, this includes myself. I’m a futurist and I love dreaming. Yet growing up on a farm also taught me that reality is ultimately where we must reside in order to be effective. Tangible progress and sound science is the answer to being successful in the future.
Where do I fit into this scheme? I believe it’s by doing my best to make a difference in the little things every day, hoping that someday, these little things add up to big things. Today, that means making the most of my time as a state FFA officer. The platform I have been given is something I try to never take for granted, and always be grateful for. The interpersonal communication skills, the teamwork, and the ability to adapt to the situation we are placed in, are the gifts that state FFA office has lent me. My next exciting journey will be to National Ag Day in Washington, D.C. where I will be representing the Missouri FFA Association and the National FFA Organization. I will have a whirlwind three days where I hope to learn lots myself, and take advantage of the opportunity to advocate. Telling my story, hearing others’, and promoting agriculture education are my goals for the trip. I am blessed to be where I am today with a firm foundation and look forward to what lies in store within the agriculture community in the days to come.
Thank you Miriam for sharing your story. Your passion for agriculture is apparent and the life lessons you have learned on the farm only magnify the passion we see. We wish you all the best as you complete your term as a State FFA Officer and your first year at Mizzou.
Look for a follow-up guest post from Miriam as she tells us all about her time in Washington D.C. for National Ag Day.
Blessings to you and the future of agriculture,
Laurie – Country Link