Save Me From Insanity!

Man, I can’t help but think that lately I have been a total blog-slacker. I keep checking out totally awesome blogs and go “Wow, what the heck have I been doing lately?” And then I remember.

I’ve been totally busy with everything and anything.

I will readily admit to anyone who asks that I keep myself busy and even have a tendency to overbook myself if I’m not careful. This past week has been especially bad as I got into a bad habit of writing things down in random notebooks and forgetting to put them in my planner–oops!

As everyone keeps telling me, though, I need to work on taking a little time out here and there for myself–it would definitely help with my sanity ;). Keeping that in mind, I’m trying very hard to not schedule so many things and to quit booking things from 8 am to 9 pm solid. Granted, between NAMA meetings, presentation team practices, three different group projects, class, work, 4-H Foundation meetings, Block and Bridle, and office hours–it’s gonna be hard! Still, if I don’t I may go crazy (and, trust me, NO ONE wants to see that!).

On another note, the fact that the sun is shining and it’s supposed to be 70 today is doing a lot to boost my attitude. Seriously, how can you NOT be happy on a day like this? ūüôā

My little piece of home!

Wow, in all the conversations I’ve had with fellow agriculturalists and all the blogs I’ve written, I just realized that I have NEVER written a blog about my own farming history and where I come from. ¬†Jeez, how could I have missed that! ¬†Well, here is my remedy to that!

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a 21-year old college student who grew up in a tiny, rural town. ¬†I graduated with 75 people and knew every one of them as they crossed the stage. ¬†I live on five acres and can see farmland as far as the eye can see. ¬†My county is one of the top five agricultural counties in the state and the county that second highest in dairy production in Michigan. ¬†My farm love lies with a different species, however–pigs!

I can’t remember a time when there weren’t pigs at my house. ¬†Starting as my dad’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) when he was a FFA member, raising hogs has always been a part of my life. ¬†Since both of my parents work off the farm, I guess you could call us hobby farmers. ¬†While our numbers have fluctuated over the years, we’ve kept between 6 and 10 sows most recently. ¬†Litters from these sows are raised mostly for show pigs and are purchased by local 4-H and FFA members. ¬†Most of our litters are crossbred, but within recent years we have been breeding some purebred litters for my sister and I to show at the National Junior Summer Spectacular in Louisville, Kentucky.

Apart from our hogs, we also have been involved in raising sheep as a joint project of the Sanilac FFA Chapter, of which my dad is the advisor.  We have 40 ewes that are bred every fall and lamb in the winter for fair lambs.  I showed lambs all through my time in 4-H and still enjoy working with them today.

While I may not be your typical farm girl (trust me, the smell of pigs is not my idea of perfume!), I cannot imagine where I would be without my livestock background. ¬†My work with animals led to a strong involvement in 4-H and FFA, which in turn led to a career path in Agriscience Education and Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. ¬†I love the agricultural industry and all it stands for. ¬†After college, I hope to live in an area where I can raise livestock–if only for my kids to show them at the fair!

Fun Facts about Me:

  • I think pigs are the smartest livestock animal. Seriously, they “do their business” in the same spot in the ¬†pen and won’t over-eat. ¬†Try arguing with that cattle, sheep, and horse people!
  • I’ve actually got a lot to learn when it comes to treating animals (ex: giving injections, artificial insemination). I regret not being more hands-on with that part of raising animals.
  • I LOVE social media! I think it is an awesome way to tell the ag story!

Looking at things differently…

Isn’t it amazing how you can talk to someone and realize that, just maybe, your viewpoint on an issue isn’t the only right one? ¬†I was just talking with a friend about Michael Pollan’s visit to Michigan State and what her opinions and thoughts on the visit were. ¬†While maybe I still hold some of my own opinions, our conversation made me really say, “Huh. I didn’t think about it that way.” ¬†Interestingly enough, that’s what Trent Loos mentioned was the response from a vegetarian when he explained to them the importance of eating meat. ¬†Not seeing things from all different sides is not a unique trait of any one group–we all do it at some point or another!

One of the most poignant questions my friend asked me was, “Have you read The Omnivore’s Dilemna or Food Rules?” ¬†Well…no. ¬†“Have you seen Food, Inc.?” ¬†Well….no. ¬†After hearing those answers, she strongly encouraged me to attend Pollan’s presentation, if only to learn what he thinks and why people follow him. ¬†My answers also made me realize, though, how much I was basing my beliefs on a single interview with Oprah or a few clips here and there from Food, Inc. ¬†Maybe I am the one who hasn’t been very good at being open-minded (something I usually pride myself on being).

Do I still think that Pollan should engage in some sort of dialogue where multiple viewpoints can be heard? ¬†Absolutely. ¬†Should it be an all-out debate? ¬†Probably not. ¬†As my friend pointed out so well, he’s a showman and debating him would be hard (and, honestly, probably rather pointless). ¬†Will I attend his presentation at the Wharton Center? ¬†Probably. ¬†There is a 15 minute question and answer part of the program, but–even if I don’t ask any questions–I will be able to say that, “Yes, I ¬†have heard what Michael Pollan believes.” and “After hearing him and truly listening to his stance, I now believe _______.” ¬†Right now, I can’t say that I have truly listened to his side and, for that, I am just as bad as those who attack agriculture without listening to or talking to a farmer. ¬†As agriculturalists, we must vow to be better than that.