Kick The Farmer Stigma

It’s been about a year and a half since I started studying agriculture, and every day I get to learn something new. I’m surrounded by amazing people and resources wherever I go – sometimes I get lost in my Twitter feed because the incredible things I get to learn! (Check out #farm365 or #OACRedDirtDairy on Twitter and Instagram for two really cool experiences.) Since I started ag, however, I’ve gotten this question countless times:

“What are you gonna do when you graduate? Have a farm?”

After which, of course, I get the whole spiel about wasting my money, why do I need to go to school to have a farm, can’t I just start farming now and save my time, etc. To everyone – past and present – that has asked or will ask me the above question: It’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Farmers are not stupid. They’re not dumb and poor, and they do not pollute mindlessly. These ideas of the typical farmer are what’s holding agriculture back in the mind of the general public. I think this is where most of the above questions stem from – why would I need to go to school when I’m just going to be another dummy dragging my heels through the mud?  Even if I was to start my own farm after school, there’s more to it than just buying a few animals and laying down straw. I’m choosing to study agriculture because I’m learning how to efficiently start a business – how to be environmentally conscious, economically impactful, and make the most out of my education.

I want to go to teacher’s college after my undergrad, but not to be a teacher. At least, not in the classroom. I really want to get into curriculum development, especially where agriculture is concerned. I want to be able to teach people what being a farmer is truly about, and have this idea spread in classrooms across the country. Shaking the stigma of the “dumb farmer” is incredibly important, and vital if we want to make an impact. We need to show the country that Canadian farmers are smart, efficient, connected people within their industry. My food comes from an amazing person, someone that I may have studied with or connected with on Twitter.

Instead of the dumb and dirty farmer that exists in the minds of people today, I know the real farmer. Spend 20 minutes on social media, and you’ll get to know them, as well.

Emma — The Suburban Aggie

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