Gratitude should be observed everyday, but sometimes we lose focus on what matters most in our lives and the many blessings we have received. Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to do that at least once a year, and this year, thanks to several ag tweeps on Twitter, I am going a step further and participating in #foodthanks. For more information, I recommend checking out http://foodthanks.com/.
First of all, I am particularly thankful for the individual farmers who wake up long before I do, work outside regardless of the conditions, rarely take a day off (let alone a vacation) and care for the animals and land in order for me to enjoy the wholesome fruits of their labor. I am thankful for the farm families who sacrifice time, energy and off-the-farm incomes, in some cases, to support the operation. I am thankful for the amazing agricultural community at large that looks after its own during unexpected crises or accidents.
I am thankful for veterinarians caring for production animals of all shapes and sizes. I am thankful for the researchers who continue to find more efficient tools for farmers to use in order to protect and increase the sustainability of agricultural production. I am thankful for the cooperative extension agents that work to provide beneficial information to farmers.
I am thankful to cattle dealers who literally risk life and limb when handling cattle and moving them from point A to point B. I am thankful for the truck drivers who transport products safely and quickly across the country. I am thankful for those in the processing and retail industries that follow established rules and protocol to ensure food safety and quality is maintained to the highest standard possible. I'm thankful that we have a freedom to make a variety of dietary choices and we can feel safe because of our country's standards and regulations.
Finally, this year I am especially thankful for those agvocates who have inspired me to make the best possible use of social media. I look forward to continuing to learn about those tools and resources and make advocating for agriculture part of my daily routine.