Stories need to be told. You heard me say a few days ago in this post. I truly believe it, our stories need to be told. When I speak to large groups part of my message is encouraging people to share their stories because if they don’t someday those stories will be gone. Well after many conversations (some with others and some in my own head) I have decided that I am going to take the opportunity to share stories for people that may not have the means or platform to do it. I want to tell of their successes, tragedies, funny stories and how they truly lived farm, ranch, rural, and ag life. I want to tell the stories that I wish I had written down about my grandparents and their parents.
Do you know a farmer, rancher, or person involved in agriculture that you think would love to give a gift of their story for all of us to enjoy? I say gift because it truly is a gift to those that will be reading the stories. It will be a gift to the next generation and will be a gift to the people that lived the story. It will be a way for them to know their legacy to continue to live on. I want to talk to people of all ages, genders, and states! I want to tell your story.
Will you allow me the pleasure of telling your story through pictures and words? It would be my pleasure.
Complete this form to recommend yourself or another farmer, rancher, or person in agriculture.
From the Gravel Road-
Please direct any questions you may have to Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Stand for what is right. Even if it means standing alone." — Suzy Kassem
By now many of you have asked if Ellen DeGeneres replied to my social media video shout out to her. No, unfortunately, I haven't gotten a response. You see, I put together a short video, inviting Ellen to come to North Iowa to see the Rudd Haunted House and to come visit our farm. Why would I do that? Well, Ellen chose to use her large platform as a celebrity to encourage all to "eat less meat". You can google her plea that she shared on social media. Her message included that eating less meat was better for the environment, our bodies, and the animals.
As you might guess, I have a large collection of facts that I could fire back with. In fact, I waited a few days trying to decide how I might react to this video she shared. As the days passed on after she had shared the video, I realized I was upset that Ellen had done this, but she hadn't said: "Don't eat meat." She said, "Eat less meat." Do I believe deep in my heart the hidden message she was sharing was "Don't eat meat." Darn right I do, but as the days went on I realized I wasn't as upset with Ellen as I was with the people going crazy on social media speaking negatively about farmers and ranchers and the fact that they were making blanket statements about an occupation that they have probably never witnessed first hand. Most of the keyboard warriors responding are using false facts to make their incorrect claims. Now, that made me mad.
Tell your story.
It made me mad and it just added fuel to a fire that I have burning in my soul to tell our story. I believe we each have a story and that our story needs to be told. For instance, our little farm family works hard to provide food to local families. In fact, this summer alone, we have filled the freezers of 30 families with beef, pork, and chicken that we literally pour blood, sweat, and tears into. We poured ourselves into those animals whether it was a polar vortex or whether it was 100 degrees out. We have also produced a hay crop for our own animals to eat this winter and produced enough to sell to other farmers and animal enthusiasts to feed their stock. I lost track of how many families benefited from our two sweet corn plots, but I know for a fact that our family will be able to go to our freezer to enjoy several meals that will include that taste of summer that, unless frozen, only comes around for a few weeks each year.
I feel strongly that everyone needs to tell their story, whatever it is. If we don't tell our version of our stories someone else will, just like the fake news and fake facts that are getting spewed by those that are against farmers and ranchers. Just like Ellen did in 2008 when she said this of animals produced for meat: They are all in pain, they are all treated badly. They are all diseased and they are all pumped with antibiotics. It’s a very disturbing reality. And it happens every minute of the day.”
In pain and treated badly? I have an iPhone full of photographs that I take on the daily that will tell you otherwise about how animals are treated on our farm so making blanket statements like that is just plain wrong.
Here is what happens every day at our house, animals are fed before humans eat breakfast or supper. Animals receive the same antibiotic care that our children would receive if they had a fever and an infection. If animals are in pain and we can't fix it a veterinarian is called just as if one of our children would go to a doctor if they were in pain that we couldn't control.
To those of you reading this and to Ellen if it ever gets to her. This is your invitation to come see our farm, hear our story, and to make your own judgment based on first-hand facts rather than fake news or the comments of a keyboard warrior. If you don't want to come visit and get some sh*t on your shoes or scared out of you at our little local haunted house that is perfectly fine with me. Just remember if you are going to use your celebrity platform like a manure spreader to spread it we are sure going to use our platform, to share our stories and the truth about it.