April 15, 2013

Reflection on Husker Food Connection

*Guest post by Amanda Vodvarka, Corn and Soy Collegiate Mentor

Sometimes it is hard for those of us with an agricultural background to realize just how distantly disconnected a large majority of today’s population is away from the farm and agriculture in general. While working at the Husker Food Connection at the University of Nebraska’s City Union, I realized and witnessed just how uneducated so many people are about agriculture, even here in Nebraska.

Walking around our tents just on the North side of the City campus Union, I couldn’t help but look at students’ faces and overhear some of their conversations. One of the conversations I overheard was from three girls that were walking by our tent with a four day old Holstein calf. As they were walking by I overheard one of the girls say, “Oh look at the cute goat!” It was at this moment, while I was in disbelief that the Holstein calf had just been called a goat, that I truly realized just how far apart producers and our consumers are apart.

Once I started my shift at 10 that morning, I was put to work running the cow milking contest and explaining to other fellow students how to milk a cow. After awhile I was asked to help serve food by handing out buns for other students and our sponsors for the Husker Food Connection Event. While waiting for people to come and eat, I was given the chance to talk to one of the sponsors for Husker Food Connection.

During our conversation, it hit me just how important of a job it is for us younger generation and all people in agriculture to share their story of what they do, how they do it and how it affects the consumer. I also learned that educating the public about agriculture is the least that we can do for all of people over the years who have given their service, time, and passion. Towards the end of the event my next task was to hand out free ear tag key chains and sunglasses. When I was handing out the ear tag key chains I would explain to people that ear tags are used for identification for livestock like cattle and pigs. I further explained that the ear tags serve the same purpose as name tags for us humans.

The ending of my shift four hours later, brought me happiness and satisfaction that we had made a dent in being able to inform the public about the importance of agriculture. Today, agriculture is misunderstood and attacked by numerous people who are miles and years apart from the farm and agriculture. It is people like those who lent their time at the Husker Food Connection, who will pave the pathway for the future of agriculture. Passionate people my age and older who support agriculture by telling others who do not have experience or knowledge, what we do and how we do our jobs in agriculture.

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