It’s hard to think about the New Year or New Year’s Eve without the song “Auld Lang Syne” coming to mind. The song title roughly translates to “for old times’ sake,” and its lyrics speak of reminiscing about past events and preserving friendships.
The last week of December seems like an appropriate time to reflect upon blog posts that I have written and think about what the future holds. It’s hard to believe that my first weekly guest blog post for “Musings of a Pig Farmer” was published February 7, 2012. I’ve written more than 250 posts over the course of five years!
While enjoying some time off work for Christmas, I looked through the “Musings” archives. I really wanted to put together a Top 10 list that I could share with you today, but I got sidetracked and started reminiscing.
My weekly blog really got started because CNN visited Des Moines on Jan. 2, 2012, to cover the Iowa Caucus. I was invited to be part of a panel during a taping of CNN’s “Starting Point” with Soledad O’Brien. (Click here to read a related post entitled, “Social Media is New Party Line during Iowa Caucus.”) The panel discussion turned to how Iowa farmers use the Internet, and CNN introduced me as “a real Iowa farmer who blogged” like I was an apparition!
It was rare combination at that time for farmers to be bloggers. I remember telling Shannon Latham how “CNN got it wrong,” and then she convinced me to start my own blog and make it reality. I want to thank Shannon for encouraging me to share my story online. I think she only censored me a couple times. With some of the things going on during the last five years – from HSUS and school lunch rules to the Farm Bill – I think that’s pretty good!
I also want to thank Latham Hi-Tech Seeds for allowing me to share some aspects of my life and maybe make a point or two that either helped others understand farming better or prompted some farmers to action when regulations impact their livelihoods. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my passions through this blog.
One of the organizations that I’m most passionate about is Ag in the Classroom, which helps kids learn what really happens on our farms. This organization is so important because key messages also reach their parents. As more people become even further removed from the farm, it’s so important for people to understand where their food comes from.
Ag literacy is more important than ever because public perception seems to turn into regulation! I hope I have convinced some of you to engage with our elected officials – once you’ve done your research. Passing information simply gleaned from the internet or from activist groups will do more harm than just sticking your head in the sand. Listening must be a two-way street.
As much as I enjoy writing this blog weekly, I must admit that it’s time to make a change. Having a seven-hour drive to the construction site where I’m supervising limits the amount of time I spend in front of a computer, as well as the amount of time I have available to volunteer in my community. I’m serving on four boards and several committees plus my church consistory. However, I miss speaking to audiences that I visited through the National Pork Board’s speaker bureau, and I miss attending local chamber meetings and social media clubs.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to prioritize my passions. Family and faith must always come first. That’s why I’m taking a closer look at how I’m spending my free time. Although I’ll no longer be writing a weekly blog post, I’ll remain active on Facebook. Keep following my Musings of a Pig Farmer page on Facebook as there might be something posted to discuss. As always, I promise to listen to understand and not to merely reply!