How Agriculture Teaches Youth to Speak Up

How Agriculture Teaches Youth to Speak UpWherever I go, I am always proud to share that I was fortunate to grow up on a dairy farm, where my parents and brothers continue to farm in rural Ontario. While there was a time when farm kids probably shied away from telling people they lived on a farm (because it didn't seem cool at the time), farm youth don't realize the important life lessons and skills that are being ingrained in them that will benefit them later in life.

It appears that there is now a trend in agriculture where farm kids are finally EXCITED to tell people where they come from and what they do. As they should be! This is exciting to see and I'm glad that fellow rural farm kids are embracing the lifestyle and are proud to tell people about it.

Like these excited agricultural youth,  I too am always happy to always share my upbringing with people. One of the (many) skills I am most grateful for that farm life taught me was the ability to SPEAK UP, which helped me to hone in on public speaking skills which I am happy to now help others with.

 5 ways agriculture teaches youth to speak up in a positive way:

  1. Ag youth learn at a young age to be passionate about something and fight for a cause but also deal with difficult and hard-to-understand life lessons at a young age. They are exposed to certain lessons that perhaps non-rural youth don't get to exposed too early in life. Lessons that play out most commonly are understanding why animals are sent to slaughter; why some animals die at birth; and the importance of farm safety. Scenarios like this are inevitable in life and are understood well by rural youth.
  2. Because farming and people involved in agriculture represent only 2% of Canada's population, being a minority and explaining what farmers do to the majority, is something youth learn to do quite well and quite often.
  3. Agriculture has many amazing youth development programs that help train young leaders to speak up, share their opinion, and hone their public speaking skills. These programs are something I have noticed that non-agricultural sectors don't have for the next generation. Agriculture equips young leaders with the voice, the tools, and the know-how to go out into the world and make a difference, far better than many other industries.
  4. There is a true sense of pride and passion that farm youth have that I notice non-rural youth don't have or maybe, it just isn't quite the same level of passion. Farm kids and young leaders in agriculture WANT to share information with people. I think this relates back to farm youth wanting people to understand just what they and their families do to help feed the world (a pretty big and important task!)
  5. Agricultural youth have a community of supporters behind them that want to see them succeed. Its like having an entire group of mentors behind you to support you and you didn't need to ask for their help in the first place. The industry is there for them regardless.

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I am happy to attribute my skills as a speaker to the agricultural industry. The industry taught me to SPEAK UP and SPEAK WELL. I took (and still take) every chance I have to tell people from urban or rural settings just how farmers do what they do to help feed the world.. and I tell them with utmost pride knowing that my family and fellow farmers take the most sincere pride in doing they they do.

Without even realizing it at the time, those small life moments on the farm were helping to prepare me and strengthen my skills that I use outside of agriculture each and everyday, in such a profound way. And for that, I am eternally grateful for how agriculture taught me to speak up and find my passionate voice.

If your from an agricultural upbringing, how do you feel agriculture taught you to speak up? If your not from agriculture, how have you learned to speak up and speak well and what tips could you share?

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