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Stronger together: Divisiveness gets us nowhere

Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom still resonates today. Farmers are stronger together.

Editor’s note—Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

That’s the topic of this guest blog. I am truly blessed to work with what I think are the best and most thoughtful group of writers and editors in the agricultural world. I’ve stepped aside from time to time to give their voices a venue in this blog. Now is such a time.

Those of us who live in other regions might think of Maryland as the last place to find a fourth-generation farm. But that’s where Farm Progress writer Shelby Watson-Hampton farms with her family. Her words speak across the lines that divide us and encourage us to be stronger together.

If any of you are like me, you’ve probably been walking around with a knot of emotions in your gut these past few weeks, wondering where we go from here and how we make the future better.

For the purpose of this column, I am going to assume none of us have been living under a rock and that we’ve all seen the news. We all know our country’s history; we see the problems; we know in our gut what is true, and what is difficult and what is right, so I’m not going to rehash that here. 

I’m just going to say again, as many have said in agriculture on other topics before: We as farmers are stronger together. Divisiveness gets us nowhere. 

READ: We are all in this together

We need every farmer of every background, race, culture, religion, ethnicity, gender and orientation to be able to work together to feed this world, locally and globally. 

And if one group in the herd is hurting, we are all hurting. 

No person, or industry, is an island.

The Bible tells us in Luke 15 of the parable of the lost sheep. It’s applicable here as well. 

To summarize: There are 100 sheep, but one goes missing.  Jesus leaves the 99 to go find the one.

The 99 could say “But...what about us? Don’t we matter”?

Of course the 99 still matter, but they’re not the ones in danger. The one is. 

Related: Want to improve your future ranch? Do these 5 things

The Bible also says “Love one another…” in John 13:34 That seems pretty clear to me. Not easy of course, but clear. 

However, we all know as farmers that life isn’t easy, but it can be good. Good things worth having come with the hard work you have to put in to get them. 

Real understanding, real peace and real collaboration are worth having; at the kitchen table, on the farm, in our industry, in our towns, in our world. 

This hard work is worth it. 

Let’s get our hands dirty, together.

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