Support Our Farmers

To The Editor:
I always felt a little silly pushing for agriculture and trying to make my family and friends understand just what it takes to produce food in modern-day America. Farmers still get up early and still come home late; their families adapt, without grudges, to time without them.
Those same farmers, who sacrifice day in and day out are often and wrongly criticized by well-fed people who have never stepped foot on a working farm — criticized by people who have the time to be critical because they aren’t busy pulling weeds in their vegetable gardens or losing sleep over the loss of an animal.
I have spent my adulthood advocating for people who work so hard in a demanding industry and are unappreciated. Maybe unappreciated is now past tense. Could we be so lucky? Are our farmers appreciated now? Are concerns over food and shortages finally going to make people appreciate American agriculture?
As people panic over this worldwide pandemic, friends take heart. I know some of the most honest, intelligent, hard-working, capable, and adaptable — let me say it again, adaptable — people. They are our farmers, and they are planning and finding ways to keep their neighbors fed.
In our small towns and our rural communities, the ones who are often criticized as being poor and uneducated, people still know how to sow seeds, grow and tend plants and animals, and how to work hard and how to preserve food. Now is the time for our rural communities to shine.
Too often Americans have not supported local farms and the way of life in rural America. For example, last year out-of- state lawyers tried to shut down the hog industry in North Carolina. What is the effect of closing the hog industry on the state economy and our food supply? Would people rather eat food processed in countries without safety regulations?
In the interest of creating suburbia, people have complained about generational farms and wanted to close them down because of an incorrect social media post or a misconstrued news article. Some have even succeeded, and some farms have been shuttered. We should support local farmers; know and appreciate that our food comes from our country and respect those who provide it for us. If local farms are not supported and pushed out; we will be dependent upon food processed in other countries without the same regulations and from people we don’t know.
Now more than ever, if we learn anything from this pandemic, please learn that our farmers are one of our greatest assets and a mighty group. They can and they will feed us. They can and they will teach us how to live off the land and respect a seed in the ground, an animal at the trough, and a lifestyle so many families abandoned long ago. We can rest assured knowing we are blessed with the best farmers in the world.
If you don’t know your local farmers, now would be a good time to support them and introduce yourself.
Michelle Shooter
503 Godfrey Street
Rowland NC 28383