I read a lot of farm publications, mostly online, to see what’s happening in agriculture, follow issues and trends, see what’s happening politically in Washington and the state capitals and generally to understand the news environment of this big complex industry we call agriculture.
Every so often, I’ll find a story that isn’t about any of these “big news” things but nonetheless tells the story of agriculture better than anything else.
Like the story of the FFA Tractor Drive in Indiana. Now, there’s nothing especially newsworthy about a tractor drive. But this story included a photo of four generations of an Indiana family gathered in front of an orange Allis-Chalmers tractor, and I checked to see if they might be Monsanto customers. They are.
The family included Bill Canary, his son Charlie, Charlie’s son John, and John’s one-year-old son Charles. Charlie’s wife Becky, John’s wife Amanda and John’s sister Emily completed the picture.
Not pictured was Paul Canary, who died more than 10 years ago. Paul was named a master farmer in 1970, nominated by his farming peers.
All together, the Canary’s have been farming in Indiana for more than half a century.
That article and photo tell a story, possibly the story, of American agriculture.
It’s the story of agriculture past, present and future.
It’s the story of family, and the values of family that have shaped and continue to shape this industry we’re all working in. Bill’s retired, Charlie and John farm together, and there’s the hope that the farm will be there one day when little Charles grows up.
It’s about change and coping with change – and that’s change big and small. Charlie, Becky, John and Amanda all have part-time jobs outside the farm. And that orange color on the Allis-Chalmers is, after several decades of popularity and recognition, being phased out.
The Canarys help feed the rest of us, and a lot of other people outside the United States, too. They do because they love farming
And that photo is a good reminder to those of us who help farmers be more productive who it is we’re working for.