My great-grandpa LeRoy Wienk was an only child. Leroy and his new wife, my great-grandma Francis, purchased a farm near Lake Preston, SD, and raised cattle and children. Their son, my grandpa Arnold, started Wienk Charolais and, along with my grandma Carol, raised five daughters. Four of the five sisters are still involved in the cattle business. Today, the Wienk family has expanded to more than 80 people! I would call that a legacy!
As I make payments on the pasture ground my husband and I have purchased, I’m looking forward to making a legacy of my own. My hope is that our family’s cattle business will grow and thrive through future generations, and that my future children and grandchildren will have a deep love and appreciation for family and farming.
Family values are strengthened through the hard work and responsibilities required of cattle ranching. According to the 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture, 97% of farms are family-owned and operated. These farm and ranch families do more than raise crops and cattle; they raise children.
And, this is what we have in common with our consumers. We need to share our family stories, just as much as we need to share our production stories.
Senior Associate Editor Jamie Purfeerst writes about the importance of sharing our stories via social media in our June issue. Check out the article, “Social Media Is A Critical Part Of Industry’s Management.”
“Social media represents a new platform that farmers and ranchers can use to bridge the urban-rural divide. It’s not a fad. It’s not just teenagers playing ‘Farmville’ or people tweeting about what they ate for lunch. It’s a game-changer,” explains Sarah Hubbart, communications director for Animal Agriculture Alliance.
A perfect example of using social media to share the agriculture story is a video put together by three Kansas farm kids, who have created a parody of a popular pop music song. Check out the video, “I’m Farming And I Grow It,” and let me know what you think!
At the end of the day, we all have family legacy stories we can share with our consumers, and we can utilize social media to accomplish this.
What’s your family ranch legacy? Share your story in the comments section below.