This past week I read a couple of articles that blasted "big corporate" agriculture. It really hit a nerve with me. I guess a lot of it had to with the events of the past week. You see this past week I went to the funeral of a man I really admired.
Don started his journey in agriculture with six sows and a boar. He built that into one of the largest agriculture operations in our county. Yes, it is one of those "corporate" farms so heavily criticized by those who don't really understand and he was the President of that corporation. But Don was truly a great man and I really think those who rail against "corporate" agriculture should know more about his life.
First and foremost, Don was a family man. He married his high school sweetheart and they remained sweethearts for over 50 years (they celebrated that milestone this summer). The fact that he was completely devoted to her was obvious to anyone who knew them.
Then there was his children and grandchildren. All three of his kids are involved in their "corporate" farm. Yes, I guess that would make it a family "corporate" farm. I am confident that one of his greatest sources of pride was the fact that his kids farmed and ranched with him. All three are accomplished, confident professionals playing critical roles in the family business. Most importantly they shared his passion of agriculture. The grandkids were his pride and joy. The slide show at the funeral was mainly pictures of him with them. To spend time with Don was to learn more about what the grandkids were doing.
Final bit of information you should know about Don was his community involvement. He served as a state legislator, school board member and a long time member of the conservation district board of directors. That is right, the president of a "corporate" farm serving on the county conservation district board. Don took great pride in conserving the natural resources on his acres and protecting the environment.
Yes, he was a great man, a pillar in the community and most importantly a family man and yes the president of a "corporate" farm. That is why it upsets me when I hear the media, activists and others use the term corporate farm in a negative sense. The corporate farms I know of are family farms, good neighbors and most importantly, integral parts in the feeding of the world. That is why when I think of modern, corporate agriculture, I think good thoughts and see Don's face.