Celebrate the Women of Agriculture

By Katie Thomas Glick and Sarah Thomas

The following was written by my sister, Katie and I and was featured in our local newspaper.

Many things change over the course of a year and even a decade; kids grow taller, the wise gain more wrinkles, we celebrate new life and praise lives as they depart this earth. However, some things never change, like the core values of agriculture. It’s been the same for centuries. As our first President, George Washington, once said, “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man”.

Sure there have been significant changes and positive strides in the way we raise our animals, produce a crop and care for our land but the values are the same. Farmers produce more with less land, less water, and less environmental impact. But the core premise of agriculture has been a mainstay and tradition forever–work hard with integrity, provide for your family, grow a good crop and trust God knows what he is doing (especially with the weather).

Farmers work hard with their worn hands and calluses that stay with them for a lifetime. They rise before the sun and many times don’t come home until the moon is high in the sky. As kids, we liked to sleep in but our dad would come in and say, “girls, you’re burnin’ daylight”. He, as a farmer, was always ready to get up and take on the day. Working hard and long hours has always been a part of farming.

As farm girls one thing we have learned is that on the 8th day God created the farmer, but on the 9th he created the farm girl, the farm wife and the farm mom. While our mom didn’t grow up on a farm, the values she taught us alongside our dad were the same–work hard with integrity, provide for your family, grow a good crop and trust God knows what he is doing. As a young girl she wanted to own a piece of farmland just as much as our dad, and she eventually got the chance to do so.

This month we dedicate and celebrate not only the farmer but the women on the farm. We know they may not be the face of the farm or at the forefront of decisions or farm chores. However, they do need to be appreciated for raising the farm kids, caring for the farmer, doing chores when needed, caring for a baby calf in her house, running errands in town, and feeding the family. She is the woman who realizes her floors will never be clean and the laundry will never end. She needs to be thanked for working with her children on their 4-H projects last minute, running kids to club meetings, and for buying their 4-H showing outfits while she watches them work hard with the integrity she taught them.

As we celebrate Agriculture Appreciation Month this March and National Ag Day on March 15th, we encourage you to learn something new about agriculture or reach out to those working in agriculture. And as you are eating each meal, thank a farmer and pray for the farm women who also sacrificed to bring food to your table.

Mom, KT and Sarah

Katie and I with our mom, Mary Lou in the mountains of Colorado at my sister’s wedding.

To My Valentine…

I promise this is not going to be one of those posts confessing how much I hate Valentine’s Day. I am single. Does this mean I hate Valentine’s Day? If you asked me this question on Monday I would have shouted, “HATE IT!” But, for some reason I have had a change of heart (no pun intended here). As I started thinking about this holiday where people pour out their love, I thought well goodness I have a lot of love to pour too…

I have a love for:

1. Homemade salsa. Favorite snack EVER!!!!!!!!

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2. Cowboy boots. I love every single pair for a different reason. And I will continue to add to my collection.

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3. Stationary. I should not be unsupervised in this section at T.J. Maxx.

4. Children’s books. So much so, that I hope to write my own down the road.

5. Sitting on my front porch. Rain or shine.

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6. Indiana. My flyover state is pretty great.

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7. Westerns. Yep, my favorite actor is John Wayne.

8. Speaking of John…Wooden definitely makes my list. The coach, man, teacher, that I gain many of my “words to live by.”

9. The wonderful ladies in my life. Each one is so special to me.

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10. Campfires. I don’t even care if it makes my hair smell. Give me a fire under the stars and it’s my perfect night.

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11. Beef. I have to have this protein in my diet.

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12. The man who raised me and who continues to help shape the person I am. He always looked after me. Now he does it from a higher view.

He's always looked after me. Now he does from a higher view.

My Father and I

13. Speaking of higher views, my dad has some help sitting next to my heavenly Father. Thank you both for doing your jobs so well.

14. And of course I cannot forget about Farmers. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be able to love half the things on my list.

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There it is, my love poured out for you. So who is my valentine? Well it’s everything on the list above and so much more. To sum it up, my valentine is me and the things that remind me to love this life.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I love that you are reading my blog.

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings!

For the past two months my weekends have been consumed with weddings. I attended these weddings as a bridesmaid, a friend, and a sister. Each one was so beautiful in its own way and I had such a good time at all of them!

I was a bridesmaid in my dear friend, Courtney’s wedding. While I did have my bridesmaid duties at this wedding, I also didn’t know many people so I got to spend pretty much the whole night on the dance floor. It was a blast and both of their families made feel like one of their own. After the wedding and honeymoon my dear friend joined her husband, Kevin in North Carolina. I miss her so much but thank goodness for SnapChat!! Courtney and I send snaps throughout our days to keep each other informed of what life looks like these days. I can’t wait to go visit them!!

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The next weekend I celebrated my sister, Katie’s marriage. She and Brett got hitched out in Colorado with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Just close family was in attendance and it was the most intimate and emotional wedding I’ve ever been to. After the ceremony I told Katie and Brett that I loved that they chose to have the ceremony there in the mountains because we were closer to heaven, we were closer to our dads. But, the weekend in September was a time to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family. It was on my sister’s new family’s farm under the most beautiful fall sky between the cornfields.

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I had a little break from weddings the weekend after that. I headed up to Boilermaker country for homecoming festivities and when I say festivities I mean Harry’s. That’s the only place my sister and friends went and of course we had a blast.

The first weekend of October my sister and I headed west to Kansas. My blonde sister friend, Lindsay married a Kansas boy back in August in Indiana. That October weekend was a celebration of their marriage on Cody’s family’s ranch. My sister and I had a great time road trippin’, talking about our lives, agriculture, our beliefs, our outlook on the future and jamming out to our favorite songs. We also learned our lesson to stop and fill up our gas tank before getting off the turnpike. That was probably the most nervous I have ever seen my sister. So, now we know that there are no gas stations between the turnpike and Council Grove, Kansas. Speaking of Council Grove, Kansas, such a neat town that I can’t wait to visit again! And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Lindsay and Cody!20131024-173552.jpg

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The weekend after the Kansas road trip my other blonde sister friend, Amy married my best friend Liz’s big brother Marc. I remember when these two started dating back when I was in elementary school. It was such a joy to see these two tie the knot, finally. Amy has done my hair and makeup for every school dance I have attended, spent many a nights with me in my mom’s basement, been there for me through all the laughter and tears my life has brought me. She is without a doubt my sister and has become my mentor as I start my teaching career. Amy and Marc are both pretty much family and I couldn’t be more happy for them as they start a new life chapter.

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Speaking of new life chapters, I have started a new one as well. I have a teaching job. While it is only temporary (I am teaching for someone while they are on maternity leave) it is a job and more experience. I am so grateful for this opportunity and hope that it will lead to something else.

Now that I am on fall break I’ve had time for myself again. Wednesday night one of my favorite bands was in state. The Josh Abbott Band is from Texas and I am so glad they came to Indiana! I got to meet them and of course I thanked them for coming to Indiana about twenty-five times…embarrassing! But it was a great show and a great night with some of my favorite people.

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I know that it’s been a bit since I posted last, but to sum it up I’ve been busy.

Thanks for reading and catching up on my life. Have you been busy like me?

A Familiar Face That Became a Friend

This weekend I get to stand next to my dear friend, Courtney as she says, “I do.” to the man of her dreams.

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I remember the first time I saw Courtney. It was the first semester of my freshman year of college in history class. You know that class that no one talks to each other because you don’t want to be there. Well, Courtney and I never spoke two words to each other that semester. It wasn’t until the next semester in an English class that we finally talked. I found out she was an Elementary Education major like me. We sat next to each other that whole semester and had classes together our sophomore year too. But I’d say we didn’t really become friends until our junior year, when we started taking courses that actually pertained to our major. I walked into that first class junior year happy to see a familiar face. Courtney’s face. And the rest is pretty much history. I don’t think I could have made it through my college years without her. From sitting next to each other in those boring college classes, to late night texts about assignments and encouraging each other to stay focused. To being each other Valentine’s day dates, shopping sprees, dance lessons (trying to teach me to dance) to listening and humoring me when I get on my soap box about agriculture stuff. From celebrating our accomplishments, life events, crying and laughing with each other through it all, we became dear friends. Courtney is a beautiful person inside and out and I am so blessed to call her one of my best friends.

To sum it up, happy wedding weekend Court! Thank you for being that familiar face and friend I’ve always needed. I love you and cannot wait to see where our lives and friendship lead us next!

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Indiana State Fair Greatness

Our state fair is a great state fair! Don’t miss it, don’t even be late!

It’s the year of the popcorn at our great Indiana State Fair! While this post is a bit late (opening day was back on Aug. 2nd), I sure hope you don’t miss it! You’ve got this weekend to get on out to the Indiana State Fairgrounds to enjoy the year of popcorn and the new Glass Barn exhibit.

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The Glass Barn is new to the Indiana State Fair and it is a great addition to the fairgrounds in telling the story of Indiana agriculture. While visiting you can learn about the history of farm technology, see the journey of an Indiana soybean, and play interactive games in the uFarm section of the barn.
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There are three different family farms featured in the barn. You can learn about them in the WeGrow section. Depending on what time you visit you can see and listen to one of the farmers while they are on their farm (amazing how technology can connect us)!

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You can learn about different food products consumers eat (that’s YOU) in the uEat section, as well as all the other popular consumer products.

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Sometime during your visit be sure to grab a friend or family member and get your picture taken in the PictureU section. There are four different backgrounds you can choose from. All are so fun!

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If you have already visited the Indiana State Fair I hope you enjoyed yourself and visited the Glass Barn, ate a bag of popcorn and learned something new about Indiana agriculture. If you have not, I suggest you go visit before it’s over because it really is great!

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Photo Friday: Down the Road

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Last night I had a conversation about agriculture with a concerned consumer. She asked me what kind of soybeans my family raised. I asked her if she was wondering what brand my family used. She said, “Yes, do you use that Monsanto company because I watched that movie Food Inc.” Right away I knew where she wanted this conversation to go.
I said, “That movie is very biased. They used some very graphic images. You know not every farm is like that.” Then I decided to give her the facts. I told her that 98% of U.S. farms are family owned and operated. I explained to her that those farmers treat their livestock humanly and that my family is part of that 98%.
She told me that she understood what I was saying and that not all farmers are bad. I was glad to hear that she got it but later I found out that she stopped eating meat for three months after watching Food Inc. because the images were so horrifying for her. Now that I think about it I don’t blame her. I’ve seen the movie but I’ve also seen the reality.
I was so glad that we got to have this conversation. I did get a little frustrated and defensive because it kills me when people think farmers do bad things. I know that there are some bad ones out there and that factory farms do exists but I also know that there are good farmers and family owned and operated farms. That’s why it’s so important to have conversations like the one above. The bridge between consumer and producer should be crossed every day so that consumers know the facts and can appreciate where their goods come from.
I know I can only do so much and people can take what I have to say and form their own opinions. I will work hard to continue having good conversations about agriculture because that’s just one way I can thank farmers. And hopefully down the road that consumer I had a conversation with will thank one too.

Photo Friday: The Facts

• Indiana ranks 5th nationally in the production of corn; producing 960 million bushels in 2007.

• Indiana ranks 4th in the production of soybeans with 211 million bushels produced in 2007.

• Indiana is the 2nd largest producer of popcorn in the nation.

• Indiana ranks 2nd in tomatoes for processing 249,000 tons.

• Indiana ranks 4th in peppermint producing 293,000 lbs. and 5th in spearmint producing 81,000 pounds.

• Indiana ranks 2nd in the number of layer chickens. The state is also 3rd in the nation for total number of eggs.

• Indiana produces more ducks than any other state in the nation.

• Indiana ranks 2nd in the production of both regular and fat free ice cream.

Resource: Ag in the Classroom

 
Here are some other great websites where you can find facts about Indiana agriculture:

Indiana Farmers Feed US

Indiana’s Family of Farmers

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Photo Friday: National Ag Day March 19th

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This year National Agriculture Day is on Tuesday, March 19th. What is National Ag Day? “National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.”

For those of you in the agriculture industry I encourage you to share your story on Ag Day. Share with others why you are agriculture proud. Share with others why we need farmers like YOU. I ask those of you who are not in the agriculture industry to stop and listen, ask questions and give thanks to the farmer. I believe every day is Ag Day because every day we are consuming products farmers have worked so hard to produce for us. And every day is Ag Day to the farmer because it is their life.

To sum it up, I ask all of you to observe and celebrate National Agriculture Day with me on Tuesday, March 19th. I also encourage you to remember and give thanks that every day is really Ag Day.

Photo Friday: Seasons of the Farmer

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Seasons of the Farmer by Sarah Thomas

The time has come for new life to begin.
It’s springtime around here!
The Farmer is busy working ground and
Planting seed in his fields.
Cows are calving and some need tending to.
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

Rain is a good thing during these hot summer months.
The Farmer needs his crops to grow.
The weeds not so much, so it’s his job to keep them under control.
It seems like the cutting hay season will never end,
But the Farmer will be glad he has that source of feed for his stock come winter.
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

It’s harvest time in this farming community.
Farmers are traveling from field to field working to get the crop in.
Cows are calving and some need tending to.
Equipment breaks down in the fields and needs fixin’.
Days are growing shorter but
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

Winter seems to come so quickly.
Time to buy new equipment and fix the old.
Time to feed the stock because they depend on the farmer.
Time to buy seed and meet with the accountant.
Time to plan for another year.
The Farmer’s job is never ending.

Photo Friday: March is Ag Appreciation Month in Indiana

Today is the first day of March. It seems 2013 is fading away too quickly!! March has been declared Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana. March is a very appropriate month to appreciate all those in the Ag industry. At this time farmers are busy preparing to begin the new planting season. There are also many newborns that are joining farm families. Farmers are working hard to make sure these new little ones have everything they need to survive this crazy Indiana weather. Personally, I think every month is Ag Appreciation Month. Farmers never have a month or day off from their job. Their job that consists of providing you and me with the most affordable and abundant food, fuel, and fiber that we cannot live without. So, to sum it up, appreciate farmers every single day.

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Be sure to visit Sarah Sums It Up this month as I give tributes to the American Farmer and share my story of why I am Agriculture Proud.