About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Who should speak up for farmers?

As farmers look at the way the world works, its easy to think things need to change. Tennessee farmer Johnny Dodson says farmers need to speak up & be involved. He started with county and state soybean association meetings many years ago and as he became more engaged and involved, the other steps just came into place.

“I believe in becoming involved & making a difference,” Dodson says. “I don’t believe there is anyone else who can present my case, my issues any better than I can. I’m involved in those issues that are important to me. Whether it be legislative or whatever those issues may be, I just believe in being proactive.”

He leads by example for his son John and others. In the case of soybeans, Johnny worked his way up through the ranks of the county, Tennessee state and eventually the national group – the American Soybean Association where a board of farmer peers ultimately made {elected} him president. He’s a member of the National Cotton Council, the National Corn Growers Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Dodson explains, “The agriculture community gets smaller and smaller every year…. There are fewer and fewer farmers… The people who have left the farms… generations are becoming further removed from the farm and I believe everyone in agriculture should become in some way in some of the commodity organizations and livestock organizations that serve their community.”

Johnny says that farmers “are such a small group that we have got to work together to get our message across to others who don’t understand.”

The importance of having farmers involved in meaningful dialog is realized across the ag industry and several initiatives are underway to help provide forums for discussions. Some of the efforts include:

  • The AgChat Foundation is a grass-roots, farmer-driven organization with a mission of empowering farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms. ACF engages in educating and equipping farmers with the skills needed to effectively engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and other social media channels. Learn more at agchat.org.
  • America’s Farmers provides information about the impacts American farmers have on our communities and country by showcasing a few farm families in advertisements, webisodes, etc. The campaign also highlights the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, shares some of the facts about the contributions have to the economy, environment, etc. Learn more at americasfarmers.com.

How are you engaged in speaking up for agriculture?

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