In how many industries do people help their competitors during a rough patch? When do they haul supplies to the guy down the road who, through circumstances beyond his control, doesn't have enough of his own?
If you have been raised in, lived in or worked in agriculture, you know the culture of agriculture differentiates the industry from others. You can travel your county, state, region, country, continent or the globe to witness the culture of agriculture. It includes looking after one another. It includes caring for others, land and livestock ahead of yourself. It includes a willingness to open your home, farm or ranch to guests for a visit. When hard times or tragedy strike, the culture of agriculture rallies in a way you don't experience as often in more populated and urban areas or in other industries.
The culture of agriculture is the fabric of who we are.
Agriculture is a way a life, a choice by most to continue on. Even those who have left their agricultural roots often portray the culture of agriculture through their values and lives.
In the course of our reporting, Agweek sees firsthand how the culture of agriculture is different and needs to be protected as a way of life. Whether it involves a blizzard hitting in the early fall, wildfire damage or drought-stricken areas, we have seen the people who make up the culture of agriculture rally for one another, most often strangers helping strangers. As often as not, the people in our stories would prefer their work to speak for itself. They don't want to make headlines. We seek out the stories of the culture of agriculture to cover the important aspects of the industry we report on, respect and appreciate.
What we want is for this culture of agriculture to continue — teach and lead the next generation in this way of life or it will be gone.
In the midst of low prices and less than ideal weather patterns, whether it is not enough rain or too much rain, negativity can take hold of our attitudes. The neighbor in need might have a newer combine than you. The neighbor in need may have gone on a vacation last year when you didn't. The neighbor in need may not be a neighbor at all but a rancher three states away in dire need of hay to keep his ranch going.
If we only look out for ourselves or let jealousy seep into our lives over giving back to those in need, the culture of agriculture will die.
The late President Theodore Roosevelt first said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Roosevelt was a former North Dakota cowboy and rancher, and his statement exudes what the culture of agriculture is.
The culture of agriculture is diverse. It takes all of us doing our part. Your part may seem small to you. It may never make headlines, but you are a part of the culture of agriculture. We tip our hats to you. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. You're making a difference.