It's National FFA Week.
We are an agricultural community, and what’s good for the farm economy is what’s good for the Main Street economy.
This isn’t news.
Especially not to those of us who live in Rock County or even grew up here.
And lately, agriculture has been a rapidly changing industry, in terms of technology, farm practices, global economy and other aspects.
The temptation, then, can be to focus so much on the present — catching up with the latest and working to keep our heads above water — that we forget to notice who’s watching.
And who’s going to take our place behind the wheel in the combine or feed truck.
It’s the kid in the hand-me-down coveralls scooping out the bunks or sweeping out the bin.
These youngsters are watching. And they’re wondering if this is the life for them.
Today’s role models in farming don’t have it easy. It’s hard to stay positive when markets are collapsing and Mother Nature is destroying their hard work.
But one organization is working to inspire our farm kids — FFA.
And there’s a chapter in nearly every rural school. Thank goodness.
According to its motto, “The primary goal of the FFA is to make a positive difference in the lives of its members by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.”
This week is National FFA Week, and the back page of the Star Herald this week honors the program that began in 1928. Ironically, it originated from a time when kids were losing interest and leaving the farm.
There have been many hard times, and good ones, too, since then, but it doesn’t hurt to remind our young future farmers why their work is so important.
And that, dear readers, takes a village. It takes a community of supportive teachers, business mentors, neighbors and other nurturing adults.
Thanks to our FFA advisers in our local high school chapters. It’s not easy to wrangle a large group of restless students who have a diverse set of goals under the heading of “farming.” Your job isn’t easy but it’s more important than ever before.
Thanks to our Rock County farmers for all your hard work and for modeling positive attitudes when tough times are anything but positive.
And above all, thanks to our future farmers. We’re counting on you to learn more and be better and more business-savvy than your dads are … in order to continue feeding America.