I often lose my luggage and come up against real challenges when traveling to rural areas. Yet, I never see agriculture in a negative light because I know her people. Nor has agriculture ever given me any chance for sorrow, for it has been good to me. With the grace and protection of God, my travels have taken me across Canada more than a dozen times and I have had the honour of visiting hundreds of farms. These kitchen table, board room and back-40 meetings privilege me to the lives of those who grow our food, feed our animals and manage our environment in Canada. They are the foundation of our nation and the true reason for our prosperity. And it is the men and women of agriculture who build not only outstanding communities, they grow outstanding people. Who would not have a preference of a young man or woman with an agricultural background on their team?
Pride shows itself in many forms. The soft pet of the family dog, a roar around the field in a new tractor, the kiss to a baby’s cheek, a sweeping gesture over land, a bountiful garden, a beautiful quilt, a new software program or technology, a community leadership program, a faithful employee or a child who came back home to invest in and live on the farm. A bedraggled traveler such as me is witness to these stories and to this pride in every corner of our nation. Is that not amazing?
Is it not amazing that communities can build first-class facilities with seemingly no budget? Is it not amazing that every farm table can be fully dressed in a heartbeat even when the fridge appears empty? Is it not amazing that after years of setbacks, farms continue to thrive and is it not amazing that our strongest leaders, best professionals and advocates for social change and most creative artists all came from rural Canada?
It is staggering to think of the contribution that rural people make to urban wealth and security. To say that farmers are the foundation of a nation perhaps sells them short. They are the nation — for every civilization evolves around one thing — the production of food. I get to see farmers do just that from coast to coast. It doesn’t get more exciting than that!
I am often asked how I remain so passionate about agriculture. It is tough, demanding, exhausting and complicated, especially when you are farming and on the road with your family back at home. The answer is simple. With or without luggage — I am always surrounded by caring, intelligent, respectful, creative, talented, hard-working, sincere people. I am always surrounded by farmers — they are my reward and that makes every mile a memory.