OUR STORY What our members can teach us By Dustin Mielke Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
eople often ask me what is the best part of my job with Oklahoma Farm Bureau. The answer is simple and easy: our members. We get to work with Oklahoma farmers and ranchers day in and day out. In fact, one of the highlights of my job is getting to crawl into a farm pickup, rearrange the feedbags in the passenger seat and roll the window down with a hand crank as we prepare to roll through a pasture. Throughout the last year as our world drifted between unsure and unclear, we often looked to our members and our rural roots to find guidance. Our farmers and ranchers truly live out a shining example for those of us who found little to depend upon throughout the pandemic. After all, the sun was still shining, the wind was still blowing, and farmers and ranchers kept on producing food. As an industry that rides the highs and lows based on conditions that cannot be controlled, our farm and ranch families know something about the power of steadfast, determined, deliberate effort. In agriculture, we start with a seed or a baby animal. Where we go from there often depends on how much effort, determination and faith we have. Farmers and ranchers do not usually make a habit of sitting around and waiting for things to happen. With tenacity and a work ethic honed through generations, they reach for a shovel, reach for the keys and reach for opportunity. Sure, there is a lot to discourage our farm and ranch families. Throughout the past few years, we have met Farm Bureau members who have faced catastrophic fires, devastating floods
and grueling drought. Each and every one of them, however, has played with the hand dealt to them, found the opportunities in their situation and carried on in the face of adversity. Farmers and ranchers keep trying and striving because they know that while agriculture will never be a get-richquick scheme, it is a rich way of life. And even more than forging forward for themselves, they step up and help their neighbors and communities in times of need. Our rural way of life is not best exemplified in the image of a farmer in a tractor plowing a quarter section of land. It is most vibrantly displayed whenever we see a need and — Dustin Mielke reach out to help someone. If you want to meet nine families who live this way each and every day, simply start reading on the next page. These farm and ranch families – and many other across our state – demonstrate to us all the power of doing the next thing and coming alongside others to succeed together. The lessons I personally learn from working with our members are lessons we can all use throughout this year: take what we are given, set our sights ahead of us and do the next thing.
Farmers and ranchers keep trying and striving because they know that while agriculture will never be a get-rich-quick scheme, it is a rich way of life.
8 — Oklahoma Country