Tuesday, January 18, 2011


At the American Farm Bureau meeting I learned something - FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America, doesn't call itself that anymore. On their site they say it's because: "The official name of the organization was changed ... to "The National FFA Organization" to reflect the growing diversity of agriculture."

I understand changing a name to make something more inclusive. But it was suggested that they changed the name because of the negative connotations involved with the word 'farmer.'

Do you think there's a negative connotation? I think that when people think of the word farmer, they think of a rube. A guy wearing overalls, chewing on a piece of straw, barely scraping out a living. (I'm basing this mostly on comic strips.)

I, of course, never thought of my dad in that light. But even when Kris was going to tell his Caterpillar coworkers he was quitting to buy a farm, I suggested he tell them he was going to be a rancher. He wondered why, and I said because it sounded cooler. (He didn't take my suggestion.)

Now, four years into the operation, I love telling people we're dairy farmers. People get such a kick out of it.

For instance ... we were at a wedding. A college friend said, "Kris! Tell Teddy what you do!" He said, "I'm a dairy farmer." They acted delighted and asked tons of questions. We asked him his job and he said, "I'm an investment banker in New York City. I'm incredibly boring." (Not true, but funny.)

We were at the hospital, getting ready to have a baby. An attending physician asked what we did, and as always, there was a flurry of follow-up questions. And again, comparisons to pregnant cows.

A friend of ours likes introducing us as dairy farmers at parties. It always makes for good conversation. Lots of questions, and we always invite people over. And they often come!

So, if people use the word farmer, producer, or ... cow raisers, we're all doing the same thing. It doesn't matter what you call it, or what you're wearing while you do it.

Though Kris really does like his new coveralls.

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