Many Paulsen employees grew up on farms or live on farms today. And while our office is much like other marketing agencies, our water cooler talk is a bit different.

In honor of National Ag Day, we asked a couple of our farmer-staff members what they’d like consumers to know.

1. If you want to know something about farming, ask a farmer.

If you drive past a farm and don’t recognize what you’re seeing, you’re not alone.

“I would encourage consumers to approach farmers with their questions,” says Brittany Lessman, account specialist and farmer. “We’re happy to answer their questions. I’d also want consumers to keep an open mind and trust that farmers are the right folks to ask.”

Account Coordinator Alix Pearson is active in her family’s sheep operation in Hettinger, N.D. “We shear some of our sheep in mid-November,” she says. “That’s because we lamb from the end of November through the beginning of March, and the wool prevents us from seeing if they’re about to give birth, so it’s a necessity.”

“During winter, someone driving by might think the sheep look cold,” Alix says. “But actually, we have a heated, insulated, well-bedded barn that they can enter at any time. And before it even gets dark, we bring them into the barn.”

2. Consider the expertise of your sources.

When you do find information, check to see where it’s coming from. Is the source a scientist? A veterinarian? An agronomist? An animal nutritionist? It might seem obvious, but the experts on farming are farmers and the people that work in the industry.

3. Farmers care about their land and animals.

A farmer’s land or animals is literally his or her livelihood. That’s why stories about farmers misusing land or mistreating animals are often untrue. Today’s farmers have excellent resources for maintaining and improving soil health. Livestock are raised with great care; several years ago Brittany laughed about how her dairy cows’ waterbeds were more comfortable than her own bed.

4. Many farmers are generous and caring.

While farmers often pride themselves on being self-sufficient, people in rural communities have traditionally depended on one another. Paulsen President and farmer Sara Steever has seen this first-hand.

“One of our neighbors who was only in his fifties passed away suddenly,” Sara says. "He had been getting ready for harvest—his equipment was out and ready to go."

“A few weeks after his funeral, on a beautiful fall day, I saw five combines and probably as many grain trucks come to his farm, and they took out his last harvest all in one day. Then everyone shared a big meal and celebrated his life as a farmer.”

“I think that's just so integral to rural communities,” says Sara. “They understand the power of getting together to accomplish something and just stepping up and helping a family when times are hard.”

5. When it comes to food, having multiple choices benefits everyone.

Americans have a huge variety of food options to choose from. Farmers and folks in agriculture generally support this system, because everyone benefits.

“That’s the beauty of our food system,” says Brittany. “Everyone gets to choose what they want because there are so many options.”

Whether your diet is traditional, fusion, organic, vegan, paleo, keto, Mediterranean or any other type, U.S. farmers have your back.

“If everyone ate the same way, we’d have a catastrophe on our hands,” Brittany says. “Farmers and food systems wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand, and it would be damaging—socially, culturally and economically.”

“It would also create monopolies. And that would mean higher food prices across the board, which nobody wants.”

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to talk to farmers if you have the opportunity. They’ll more than likely be delighted to answer your questions and satisfy your curiosity.

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