Brotherhood is defined as the belief that all people should act with warmth and equality toward one another, regardless of differences in race, creed, nationality, etc. As FFA members, we are all united by the blue corduroy jacket. We are united regardless of what state or chapter we are from. We all share a passion for agriculture and agriculture education. However, we are united to a much larger group of people. This is a group of people that share the same interests and values as us. This group of people feeds the world, and without them we wouldn’t have the luxuries that we have grown accustomed to. This group of people is rarely thanked for the countless hours, immeasurable amounts of sweat and tears, and all the hard work they put in day in and day out. These individuals are known as the American farmer.

As many of you know, last week our team had the opportunity to travel to Iowa to learn about production agriculture and what it takes to feed the world. We traveled all over the state of Iowa going on various tours of different family owned and ran businesses. One of our first stops was to Stine Seed Company. At Stine Seed they devote their careers to being the leading innovators in corn and soybean hybridization to create new plants that will increase yields and survive better in the field. We learned about the process every new hybrid must go through before it can be released on the market, and got to take a look at the 20,000 acre test plot where they test new hybrids. Next, we went to Kinze Manufacturing where we learned the history of starting in a small garage to taking the journey to be one of the leading innovators in grain cart and row planter manufacturing. We had the opportunity to visit Brenneman Pork, where we learned about large scale swine production and had the opportunity to assist in the sows giving birth to a litter of piglets. When we traveled to JBS packing facility, we learned how the pigs are processed and had the unique opportunity to see every step of the process. Finally, we wrapped our trip up with a tour of Mr. Dennis Geinger’s farm where he farms 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, hogs, and cattle. We also got to have a little play time and drive the large machinery, which was a first for many of us. Throughout all of our experiences though, I began to realize one very important aspect. No matter where we went or what we did, we were greeted with open arms. It didn’t matter that we were from Florida. It didn’t matter that many of us did not have experience in production agriculture. The only thing that mattered was that we all have a passion for advocating for agriculture and standing up for the American farmer and that we wanted to learn. Nothing else was important. And through our passion and willingness to learn, we were united with people that we will likely never see again. We share a brotherhood with people that live thousands of miles away.

I challenge each of you that read this to take a stand now. Become more involved with local producers, ask them questions and learn from them, and finally help them spread the message of how important the American farmer is.

Forever blue,

Austin Polk
Area II State Vice President

All rights reserved. Florida FFA Association.