AmericanFarm.com

Classic features wave of ‘agvocasy’ (Editorial)

(Aug. 4, 2015) Boiled down to its essence, the annual Maryland Commodity Classic is a celebration of agriculture.
From the morning tours of current grain and soybean research, to an afternoon business meeting called to order by the reigning president of the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, through a list of agriculturally prominent speakers to a crab, chicken and roast pork feast, the day at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park is in itself a bounteous agricultural buffet.
The 17th annual edition of the Classic was greeted by a day masquerading as early fall, sparkling blue skies and morning temperatures in the 60s.
That was credited with attracting a huge crowd — estimated as approaching 400 — but that honor surely was shared by the guest appearance of the Peterson Farm Brothers who hit the instant-fame button two years ago with their parody music video, “I’m Farming and I Grow It.”
Dr. Craig A. Beyrouty was there. On Nov. 1, he will become the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland.
Reportedly the unanimous choice of the university’s search committee, Dr. Beyrouty quickly assured his large audience that he is in their corner, having learned his business in a four-decade career in leadership in land grant universities.
His on-the-job passion is to impart “an undestanding of the culture of agriculture,” and to that end, he hopes to increase enrollment in the ag college at the university from about 1,200 to 1,600 students.
Those students, he said, would help define a “plan of succession” in the ag industry whose farmers, on average, continue to age and too often not enough younger farmers come along to take their place.
No doubt the recognition of the four MGPA scholarship winners for 2015, all of whom are committed to a career in agriculture, and the fame of the Peterson brothers who followed him to the stage, earned his hearty applause.
The message which the brothers brought from Kansas was the farm community’s responsibility to educate the non-farming, consuming public about agriculture.
It’s called “agvocasy” and it was to that purpose that the brothers decided to make their first video. They are farmers and they grow it and now they are telling the world about it.
Listening to them, we wondered if there was a way to get the Maryland Commodity Classic on the road, to take it — or even selected parts of it — beyond the farm gate, so to speak, and share that annual celebration with the vast “general public.”
Certainly, Dr. Beyrouty’s comments, or at least portions of them, were worthy of exposure on youtube.com.
Certainly someone out there could film highlights of the meeting.
It’s time, we believe, to take the message and the agricultural celebration of the Maryland Commodity Classic beyond the gates of the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park
Just remember, we are farmers and we grow it.