It’s an instantaneous reaction for those of us in agriculture. The minute someone says the are a farmer, we immediately begin questioning them about how many cows they have, how many acres they farm and all of the subsequent questions.
But does it really matter if someone has 60 cows or 600 cows? Or, what if they don’t have any cows at all? Trust me, I’m as guilty about doing this as the farmer down the road, but the answers to those questions shouldn’t make a difference as to how we view that person.
As I was judging a recent dairy princess competition, I found that a number of the girls came from farms that recently sold their cows. My family, too, sold our milking cows when I was a senior in high school. Personally, it was very difficult for me to accept this change because I felt that I was defined by living on a dairy farm. I was self-conscious about what others in the industry might think, but I honestly believe that I became a stronger promoter of the dairy industry because of it.
Now, I am excited to see other young promoters showing a similar fervent passion for an industry that they too are a part of, even if they may not have any milking cows at home.
So, instead of making small talk and asking someone how many cows they have, get to know them personally – their values, their dreams and what drives them. After all, aren’t these the things that really matter?