Should You Thank a Farmer?

Guest blogger, Jessica Peters, is a 5th generation dairy farmer in northwest Pennsylvania.

Autumn is upon us and with it everything just gets busier. Kids go back to school while pumpkin spice oozes out of every restaurant, café, and department store. Then all of a sudden, it’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and before you know it, that one radio station that becomes all Christmas music around the holidays is back and you can’t believe it’s December.

Time just seems to move faster, which no one loves, but one thing I do love about this time of year is the food. Every family has food traditions around the holidays. Personally, it’s not Christmas until I’ve eaten my Grandma Posy’s buckeye peanut butter balls. Gratefulness is another theme of the holiday season and, typically, we’re not just grateful for the food, but for our family, our friends and our blessings.

Being appreciated is something no one gets enough of in this society, especially farmers. But honestly, as a dairy farmer, I don’t really need to be thanked. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate each one I get, but the ‘thank you’ isn’t what I really want. What I really want is the trust and respect that other professionals are given.

When you get sick and the doctor diagnoses you with pneumonia then prescribes you antibiotics, do you second guess them? What about when your car is making a weird noise? Do you stand next to the mechanic googling the information on your phone and giving him advice about how to do his job? Or your banker? Insurance agent? People tend to blindly trust people who have dedicated their lives to their professions, right? Well, what about us? What about farmers?

Farmers spend most of their lives farming. If they do have jobs off the farm, it’s often only to help fund their true passion and calling, the farm. I’ve known people who have given everything they have to their farm, yet because we don’t work in an office wearing suits and makeup we aren’t considered professionals?

Though I love it, I don’t need to be thanked for what I do. I just want you to trust me. Trust that I have my animal’s best interest in my heart. Trust that I’m working hard to preserve and even better the environment because not only does my business depend on it, but I want to be able to pass it along to the next generation. I want you to trust that I care about the product I produce, because at the end of an 18-hour day, the fact that all that work ends in nutritious, delicious milk that people all over the world can enjoy, is what keeps me moving.

Trust that I, just like you, have a family that I love and that I care about the food they eat, including the dairy foods we enjoy. A farmer isn’t unlike you; we want to be respected for the work we do and for you to trust us to do it. Just because we don’t wear suits (or smell as good as you J), doesn’t mean we aren’t experts, too.

So, I appreciate your thanks, and please keep them coming, but a little ‘I trust you’ wouldn’t hurt either. And, as always, remember to ask a farmer not Google!