Grant County Extension Connection

Episode 6: The future of agriculture with Sarah Gardner

February 18, 2020 Jessica Swapp Season 1 Episode 6
Grant County Extension Connection
Episode 6: The future of agriculture with Sarah Gardner
Show Notes Transcript

Sarah is a home grown Grant County 4-H and Cliff FFA member. She has done some outstanding things in her young life. She has been very successful this year in FFA. We talk about the future of agriculture, being in 4-H, FFA and Sarah gives us her speech as well as the FFA creed. 


Song Credit Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... Music provided by FreeMusic109 https://youtube.com/FreeMusic109 Music : MNC Music No Copyright Channel all free music to use in your videos http://linkshrink.net/7ZBb8V ✔️ Music No Copyright 🎵 

Jessica:

Welcome to the Extension Connection podcast. The Grant County Cooperative Extension Service is here to help connect you with research based information about economic development, energy and water, farm and ranch, yard and garden, natural resources, health and well being, and our very popular youth development program 4-H. I'm your host, Jessica Swapp, the 4-H and agriculture agent here in Grant County, New Mexico. We are part of New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science and we are here to serve you. So let's get started. Welcome back to the podcast today. Today I have Sarah Gardner here with me. She's a local youth. So welcome to my podcast.

Sarah:

Thank you.

Jessica:

Sarah is an outstanding young lady. Um, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, Sarah?

Sarah:

I am from Silver City. I was born and raised here. I am in Grant County 4-H and in Cliff FFA. I compete in different judging events. In 4-H I judged livestock and FFA as well as public speaking and creed.

Jessica:

Wow. That's a lot of a , a lot of public speaking stuff there. A lot of , uh , especially livestock judging. Very cool. Um, what grade are you in?

Sarah:

I'm in the eighth grade at Cliff High School.

Jessica:

Okay. What do you want to be when you grow up or what are you thinking of being?

Sarah:

I haven't quite decided what I want to be. I've thought about being an Ag teacher, but I've also considered working for the Forest Service.

Jessica:

Wow. So something in ag?

Sarah:

definitely.

Jessica:

Something in ag... So I have to tell you that New Mexico State University has an ag school. If you're looking at getting any kind of training , um, to be in the agricultural industry, you can always go to New Mexico State, that's where I went. I also went to Texas A&M University, which is another really good ag school , um, that I highly recommend. So you recently just competed , um , in the FFA district and state contests .I have here that you were first place at district in creed and speech , is that correct?

Sarah:

Yes ma'am.

Jessica:

And you were, and how did you do at the state contest?

Sarah:

At state I gave my speech and was sixth. I also gave the creed and was in the top 10. My opening and closing team received third place.

Jessica:

Wow. So very cool. You guys were really successful from here then. And who's your, your ag teacher? My advisor is Mr. Walter. Oh, we know Russell, we love Russell. Um, and you're also the Grant County 4-H Council President?

Sarah:

Yes ma'am.

Jessica:

Wow. So you've got quite a resume here.

Sarah:

Yea.

Jessica:

Um , and what does that mean when you're the, the council president?

Sarah:

So I run meetings and help with different County events. Um, I try to lead the County as best as I can and help my team do the same.

Jessica:

Very awesome. So you and your other officers are basically in charge of running , um , a lot of the 4-H kind of decisions and programming and things like that, right?

Sarah:

Yes.

Jessica:

And with that, you guys do , um, parliamentary procedure and your meetings, is that right?

Sarah:

Yes.

Jessica:

So what was the title of your speech?

Sarah:

The title of my speech was who's your hero?

Jessica:

Who's your hero...Very nice. And who is your hero?

Sarah:

The American farmer is my hero.

Jessica:

Really? Well, I'm going to put you on the spot here, Ms. Sarah . Um, would you like to go ahead and give us your speech?

Sarah:

Absolutely.

Jessica:

All right. Take it away.

Sarah:

In 1991, Paul Overstreet released the song Hero's. The third verse of this song says, cause heroes come in every shape and size, making special sacrifices for others in her life. No one gives them medals. The world don't know their names, but in someone's eyes they're heroes just the same. In our towns, the States and all over our country, we have heroes with the rising population and aging farmer in America. I ask who will the heroes in the future that continue farming be? Not everyone is a producer, but everyone is a consumer. Experts predict that by 2050 our population will exceed 9 billion people. In order for farmers to supply the demand, they will have to produce more than they have in the last 500 years combined. Our American farmers are very efficient and have been able to produce enough to make up for the shortage of farmers, but there is still an issue. The average age of the American farmer is 58 and those with less than five years of experience is 47 there are new farmers coming in, but when I say new, I do not mean young. The average age of the new farmer is 46 by 2050 the 58 year olds will be 89 and the 47 year old will be 78 the aging farmer is a great concern and agriculturists are aware of the issue. Howeve r, they do not have a clear solution to fix the issue. As Americans, we have taken for granted the efficiency of our farmers. In 1940 one farmer could feed only 19 people. Today, each farmer feed himself as well as 166 others in the U.S. and abroad. Over 200 years ago, 90% of the population was farming and today only 2% is. However, only 1% claim farming as their occupation. A report from the USDA says technological developments in agriculture had been influential in driving changes in the farm sector. Innovations have enabled continuing output growth without adding much to inputs. As a result, even as the amount of land and labor used in farming declined total farm output more than doubled between 1948 and 2015. I believe with the help of growing technology, farmers will only continue to prosper. That is until they are gone. It is necessary that young people begin to farm and continue to do so. In the future. I will now address who the heroes that continue to farm will be. According to the USDA , 98% of America's farms and ranches are family owned and operated and are responsible for 87% of farm production. The other 13% is industrial raised. Most of these farms have been farmed by the same families for generations expressing the importance of farming to younger generations. So in 2050, those farms are still being operated is very important, but as a community and a country, we need to do our part. According to the American farm Bureau, American's throw away, 25% of the food they bring home each month. If American's stop or at least minimize the amount of food they throw away when there are more people, there will be more food. The American farmer is my hero. Where would we be without his tireless sacrifice? Hunger isn't a reality here in the U.S. and that's all thanks to my hero. However, there may come a day when we find our grocery store shelves empty, our fields fallow and our bellies wanting for nutrition. As the world population grows, we must wake up to this reality. We must work together to find new ways to grow our food supply. And discover new heroes who might not yet know how to wear their capes, heroes like FFA and 4-H members could save, women in agriculture, could end world hunger or maybe even our urban neighbors hold the key. Let's work together and encourage these heroes to step into the hero spotlight and take their place in the hero universe.

Jessica:

That was awesome. So I want to just put this out there. To all of you that are listening and thinking, wow, this girl's really got it together. She really does. Cause I just want to tell you, she didn't read anything. She literally just said that off the top of her head. Um, I think that's amazing. And, and you also have the, the creed memorized as well.

Sarah:

Yes ma'am.

Jessica:

And are you able to do that off the top of your head right now?

Sarah:

Yes.

Jessica:

Oh, let's hear it!

Sarah:

The FFA creed by E.M. Tiffany , I believe in the future of agriculture with a faith born not of words but of deeds, achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years. I believe that to live and work on a good farm or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits is pleasant as well as challenging for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny. I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly with such knowledge and skill as I can secure and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil. I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so-for others as well as myself and less need for charity and more of it when needed and being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me. I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community, which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task. Thank you.

Jessica:

Wow. Wow. You just said that off the top of your head. Like it's just, you know, just second nature to you. That's pretty awesome. So how did you get these skills? How did you get all these public speaking skills?

Sarah:

Well, I think where I first found that I enjoyed public speaking and I was good at it was whenever I started judging livestock, whenever I started giving reasons, I realized that public speaking really isn't as bad as they say it is and I'm really not that scared of it. So then I joined FFA and I decided that I was going to write my first speech. I was in seventh grade and I wrote a speech on ranching. I'm from a ranching family and I talked about my experiences and my passion for the industry. And then the next year I decided that I wanted to get even more involved in public speaking. So I wrote another speech as well as participating in the FFA creed.

Jessica:

Wow. Um, and then did I hear in your speech that um, in the next five years, agriculture producers are going to have to produce more food than they have in the past 500 years combined? Do I have that right?

Sarah:

Yes.

Jessica:

Wow. That's a lot. The past 500 years. Oh my gosh. So how do you think that the, the ag industry is going to do that? How are we going to do that?

Sarah:

Well, the ag industry is constantly finding new ways to improve their growth as far as cattle farming and everything in between. But I find one of the worst like fears for agriculturists is who is going to do that?

Jessica:

It's a big problem.

Sarah:

It is. They, there are plenty of people that are discovering these new ways to farm and ranch and growing technology is always changing. But in America today, people are realizing that they can go to college and they can get a degree, they can go out into the world and they could find a job and make a much larger profit with a much easier day than a farmer or rancher. And I don't believe it's only the young generations that are contributing to this problem. I believe that people in my parents' generations and older are realizing, you know, I can sell this farm for half a million dollars and I can leave this money to my kids to help their kids and everybody else in my family. So I think as young agriculturists as 4-H and FFA members, we need to express the importance of these people to continue farming and keep their families legacy. Cause even though farming is not a nine to five job, we have to have it without agriculture. We won't have food and we won't have anything because in ag class we have learned that there is not a single job in the world that is not associated with agriculture in some way, shape or form. People can list off the most random careers. There are, agriculture is still involved.

Jessica:

That is the absolute truth. And if you're listening to this podcast here locally in the Grant County area , um, you know, the local FFA and 4-H program here , um, are absolutely exceptional. I would encourage you to get your , uh , kids or grandkids involved as much as you possibly can. If you're, if you're listening to Sarah and you're saying, wow, you know, I, I would like for my kiddo to really be able to come out of their shell and , and gain some of these skills that she already has at a very young age. Um, again, I would just encourage you to please get in touch with your local 4-H or FFA teacher, u m, and u h, and get your kids involved. U m, if you're listening to this anywhere else, same thing goes for you. Reach out to your local extension agent, u m, and those ag teachers and, and get those kids involved in something. They're very good programs and Sarah's definitely a very good example of that. So thank you for being on the podcast. Sarah is an absolutely amazing young lady and she got her start in the 4-H and the local FFA programs. Um, and if listening to her speak didn't , uh, didn't convince you maybe a few numbers I'm going to give you . Um, there's proven results for more than 10 years 4-H partnered with Tufts university to study the effectiveness of the 4-H youth development program. And what they found in a nutshell was that 4-Hers are four times more likely to give back to their communities, they're two times more likely to make healthier choices. They're two times more likely to participate in STEM activities and also the NMSU cooperative extension service also found that students that , uh, competed in livestock judging that they built up their self confidence, they improve their public speaking , um, they also honed in their decision making skills. So there's so many different things that these kids gain from being in these programs. Um, so please reach out and you , you're gonna want to get your kids involved. Thanks everyone for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, don't forget to hit the subscribe button on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Google play, or whatever app you're using to listen to this podcast. Want more information? You can visit us at our website, grantextension.nmsu.edu follow us on Facebook at NMSU, Grant County, CES, Snapchat at Grant County NM 4-H, shoot us an email at [email protected] or give us a call, (575) 388-1559. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.

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Song Credit Hooky with Sloane by Bird Creek Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/... Music provided by FreeMusic109 https://youtube.com/FreeMusic109 Music : MNC Music No Copyright Channel all free music to use in your videos http://linkshrink.net/7ZBb8V ✔️ Music No Copyright 🎵