As we all sit in our homes having breakfast and planning dinner, we know we can run to the market and pick up what we need. It is a luxury to be able to jump in the car and run to the market for an extra pound of ground beef or a quart of milk.

It is not often that we think of the farmer who did the hard work to provide us with that luxury, even when we go to Farmers’ Markets. It is not often that we think about where the popcorn we eat originates. And we never think about the farmer who woke up before dawn, not to run to the gym before the kids get up, but to fix a broken water line so water will not be wasted on her farm.

farming in kansas with farms on fire

We at home are not stewards of our land the way these farmers are and over the last couple of days with fires blazing across many states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, many have lost everything. Many have given up  and had to call in neighbors for help. 
What I Learned
I have had the privilege and honor, thanks to the Kansas Farm Bureau and Kansas Soybean Checkoff to twice spend time on these farms. The most important lesson I learned is that these farmers and ranchers who have lost everything make up over 90% of farms in the United States; they are family farms and ranches. They are not big corporations backed by millions and millions of dollars. They are you and me, but they are the ones who give us the luxury of running to the store for our food.

They are mothers and fathers and sons and daughters who, in many cases, the land has been passed down through generations. The weight of the well-being of the land is on their shoulders. They must be stewards to the land in environmentally-friendly ways to assure the land will be there for generations to come.

sustainable farming farms on fire in heartland

They are also animal lovers. Yes, their cows end up on our tables, but from the moment that calf is born until it goes to slaughter, it is the rancher who lovingly cares for it. I have been on the ranches and watched a rancher who has great respect for their herd, walk the land to care for a newborn, or just stand and appreciate the beauty of the peaceful herd.

I learned I have a responsibility to share what I have experienced first hand and what I continue to learn.
What You Need to Know

  • Right now we have no Secretary of Agriculture.
  • People have actually died trying to save their cattle.

    farm fires blazing across heartland and affecting cattle

    Photo credit Graham & Sons Cattle.

  • This year has been an extremely warm winter. In fact, this is the first time since the mid 1800’s that Kansas  has had no snow in January and February.
  • These ranchers and farmers are mothers and fathers only wanting the best for their children like we all do.
  • People have not only lost their buildings, their homes, and their livelihoods, but also the animals they so carefully raised and cared for.

    what have the farm fires done to the heartland

    Post fire fields. Photo credit Graham & Sons Cattle.

  • It will take years for them to get back on their feet and back to where they were last week.
  • Click here to see how you can help. 

And if you can’t help in ways suggested in the article, I ask that you help by thanking a farmer or a rancher for allowing us the privilege AND luxury of having food in our markets to put on our tables and feed our families.