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Appreciating agriculture: Farm Bureau week starts on Sunday

Farm Bureau Week kicks off Sunday to celebrate farmers and ranchers in North Dakota. The North Dakota Farm Bureau said this year they are focusing on the hard-working men and women who, despite being at the mercy of the markets and sometimes even...

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A farmer sprays his crops. fotokostic/iStockphoto.com

Farm Bureau Week kicks off Sunday to celebrate farmers and ranchers in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Farm Bureau said this year they are focusing on the hard-working men and women who, despite being at the mercy of the markets and sometimes even less-than-positive public opinion, still get up every day and do the work that keeps us all clothed, fueled and fed.

Frank Klein, Stark County Farm Bureau president, said that highlighting where people's food and necessities come from builds an appreciation for farmers and ranchers.

"We're trying to make this connection between the urban and the rural," he said. "You know people still think food comes from a grocery store, but how did the food get to the grocery store?"

Jamye Lefor, who farms and ranches in South Heart, said he wishes that people knew how hard the agriculture community works.

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"I think a lot of that has been lost over the years as far as how that all comes about, and I think the farmers and ranchers out there would like to get that story out there," he said. "I think they would like to be appreciated for all of their hard work. It is not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. Calving season is coming up here, and it's going to be a lot of late nights or early mornings, however you want to look at it."

Lefor said that almost everyone in the agriculture business grew up farming and ranching. He said he bought his first angus heifer when he was a junior in high school. Now his children have followed in his footsteps with his son already having his first cow and his daughter's first cow calving this year for the first time.

"If we did it for a paycheck, we probably wouldn't do it. It's a way of life," he said.
Lefor farms on his family's pioneer farm, which has been passed down generation to generation.

While Lefor's children grew up doing chores on the farm, some kids do not understand the farming and ranching lifestyle, but the SCFB is hoping to change that with a little bit of education.

Stark County Farm Bureau is hosting an essay contest on farming for sixth graders in Stark and Billings counties, which board member Delmar Ficek said SCFB has been hosting since the 1980s.

The winners will be selected next week. Teachers make selections from their classes and the board will review them before making decisions on the top three in both counties.

Winners will be receiving monetary prizes and recognition at their schools.

Ficek said the essays have always been focused around how agriculture affects the students' lives, and he's always impressed by the amount of time students put into their work.

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"I'm just amazed at how much research the students do to find out about agriculture, the different things made from crops," he said. "Some of them get very personal about how grandpa has a farm ... some of them are farm kids themselves."

Lefor and Ficek both farm on their families' homesteads from generations ago, which is a commonality amongst farmers Ficek said because land and equipment can be so expensive.

Ficek runs 150 hereford cattle and small grains operation in Dickinson but said he wants people to know that agriculture is not only what you eat.

"No one realizes how agriculture affects everything in our lives from our clothes to our food to the products that we don't think have anything to do with agriculture," he said. "Everything we use in this life is tied back to agriculture."

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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