This spring has certainly brought a new normal to our lives that, in many ways, feels like anything but normal. Similar to many of you, I too have been adjusting to working, eating, sleeping and just being at home 24/7. This time at home has left me extra time to reflect and consider who and what I am truly grateful for. First and foremost, I am grateful for my family and our phone calls and video conferences that keep us connected from a distance. Coming in at a close second, are our state’s farmers and processors.
Even in these uncertain times, you can be sure Wisconsin farmers are still farming. Farm families across our state continue to care for livestock, tend to daily chores, and plan for the upcoming planting season. While many may be forced to slow down this springtime, our farmers are gearing up for busy months. Planting season means long hours in the field, often trying to finish getting seeds into the ground before the rain comes. I can fondly recall many nights eating supper in the tractor with dad as we planted one field and then the next.
Planters will be filled with everything from corn and soybeans to carrots and green bean seeds. Next time you go out for a drive (maybe just to get out of the house), turn your attention to the fields passing by your window and look for a farmer. Try to guess what he or she is planting. Will it be wheat? Potatoes? Or maybe squash? The diversity of crops grown in Wisconsin may not be evident from the view from the road, but know it is there. Wisconsin agriculture’s diversity is one of the industry’s greatest strengths.
With diversity in agricultural commodities also comes diversity in agricultural jobs. Agricultural careers support many industries that include on-farm production, agriculture management and marketing, food science, financial planning and more. Many people in these roles have been working tirelessly, side by side our farmers, to ensure food reaches grocery stores and your dining room tables. While you may have walked into a store in the past month and saw an empty shelf, it is not because there is no food. It just may not have gotten on the shelves yet.
Rest assured, Wisconsin farmers and processors remain committed to your wellbeing. From the farmers in the barn, to the truck drivers on the road, and to the processors in the plant, the passion agriculturists have for feeding their communities is stronger than ever. Rain, snow, COVID-19, or shine, agriculture goes on.
As I wrap up my reflections, I feel privileged to live in a state that produces an abundance of nutritious, high-quality foods. From fruits and vegetables to milk and meat, Wisconsin agriculture is diverse and plentiful. Next time you head to the grocery store, be sure to look for Wisconsin grown and made products, including products from companies that are members of the Something Special from Wisconsin program. When you choose Wisconsin goods, you are supporting family farms, and family-owned companies located in our backyard. And on top of that? Your dollars stay local and keep our Wisconsin communities going.
— Abigail Martin is the 72nd Alice in Dairyland, Wisconsin’s agriculture ambassador who works with media professionals to educate consumers about the importance of agriculture to Wisconsin’s economy and way of life.