Ozarks Farm & Neighbor has a little news of its own to celebrate.
OFN was presented with first place for General Excellence Newspaper at the 18th annual Ag Media Summit, which was held July 23-27 in St. Louis, Mo. OFN competed against some larger publications for the honor and we are excited to share the news with you. It is the second year in a row we have won the award.
It’s an honor to be recognized by others in the industry for your efforts, and we would like to thank our writers for their contributions to the Ozarks Farm & Neighbor and to our readers, who continue to make us the most read agriculture publication in the Ozarks.
On one of our recent rainy days, I watched a couple of those extreme yard makeover shows.
I found myself wanting to go and stakeout one of our area home improvement stores, hoping that someone would walk up to me and say, “Would you like a crew to come to your house and give you your dream yard?” We really don’t want or need much in the way of landscaping at the Crawford Ranch, but if they could put in those bushes around the deck that we have been putting off, replace a couple of knockout roses, trim some trees, do a little weed eating and put in some new corner posts and braces in a couple of spots, I would be happy.
At one home, which appeared to be located in a nice subdivision in Southern California, the yard was so overgrown that the children who lived in the neighborhood were not allowed to come over and play with the children of the homeowner. Neighbors were also a little upset about the mess, saying it was an eyesore. The recent rains in parts of the Ozarks has made the lawn of the Crawford Ranch a little shabby, much to the dismay of my “the yard has to be mowed at least twice a week, if not more” husband, but we had nothing on these folks.
The solution for the overgrown yard? A herd of hungry goats. Yes, the TV production crew hired a goat producer to come in and eat down the mess. The homeowners were amazed with the goats.
Using goats to rid areas of weeds and tall grass is nothing new for many of us in the Ozarks, but it was a lesson on agriculture for the family, as well as for those watching the show. It showed the positive impacts that animal agriculture can have, even for city folks. Orchards and vineyards have used sheep and goats for many years to help control weeds and grass in an effort to reduce labor inputs, and there have been areas where sheep and goats have been brought in to munch out fire lines in an effort to control wildfires.
It was refreshing to see animal agriculture shown in a positive light. No one cried foul because the goats had collars or were being transported around in a trailer from one destination to the other. The TV show showed that the farm animals were well cared for and were there to do a job.
I don’t know if the show’s ratings grab a large audience every week, but if it made even one person rethink their feelings about farming and farmers, it was a success. Unfortunately, animal agriculture needs more than a home improvement show to show its importance, but the odds of that happening are stacked against us. Groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Liberation Front and others continue to bombard television, billboards and the Internet with misleading, inflammatory photos and videos, making farmers defend themselves for having animals as part of their farming operation.
What can we do to improve the odds? We can start in our own front yards, showing anyone who bothers to look that our animals are cared for, they are healthy and that they do serve a purpose, be it milk, meat, working the farm or keeping weeds under control.
Maybe one day those folks who are anti-animal agriculture will actually open their eyes and see farmers for who they really are – animal lovers.