altI recently caught an old sitcom where one of the main charters was “outed” in a newspaper article.

A highly-successful lawyer, the character was outed for growing up on a farm, being a president of his local young farmers club and raising the grand champion hog at the county fair.

He worked to put himself through college and law school, was a champion for the “little” guy and poured himself into his job and family, but he was embarrassed by his childhood spent on a family farm. He didn’t want his high-society friends to know his youth was spent walking cotton fields and milking cows.

The sitcom character finally admitted the foundation of his success was because of the small farm. His acknowledgment of his childhood made his parents very, very proud.

Farming is a noble profession, a profession to be proud of. Unfortunately, some would rather forget where their roots are planted. In many circles, it’s not “cool” to be a farmer.

I hear the derogatory comments about farmers from animal rights groups, I read the reports blaming farmers for the destruction of the planet, and I see the false information regarding agricultural practices, yet I stand proud of my roots.

Farmers can be proud of many things. They have a work ethic like no other, and can often predict the weather better than some meteorologists.

Farmers see an animal’s life from the beginning to the end, and work hard during the time in between to ensure the animal’s life is happy and healthy. Farmers take a simple seed, plant it in the earth and nurture it until the seed becomes a strong plant.

Many outside our industry may disagree with me, but the backbone of any civilization is agriculture. Man can survive without computers, cell phones, TVs, cars, electricity and indoor plumbing, but man cannot survive without food.

I’m proud to have a background in agriculture. I’m proud to have shown the reserve champion hog at my county fair (my younger brother’s hogs always beat mine), and I am proud to have been a member of FFA and 4-H. I’m proud of the lessons learned on a farm, and that my parents were my first teachers. In my career, I’ve written thousands of stories and taken countless pictures, winning several awards along the way, but I am proudest of the stories I’ve done here at OFN. I’m proud to have a part in telling the stories of farmers from right here in the Ozarks.

As the next generation finds their path through life, it may be a path that leads them away from the farm, but I hope they never forget where they come from. I hope they’re proud to share where and how they grew up. I hope they are proud to be farmers.


Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


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