Have you seen the hashtag #StillFarming? I first noticed it this past spring when grocery store shelves were empty and quarantine orders were at their height. In a May 27 article from American Farm Bureau Federation, President Zippy Duvall said: “Farmers are still on the job doing their part to keep our food supply secure. In March, we launched #StillFarming as a way to join together in telling the stories of how work on the farm has not stopped. And word has gotten out: #StillFarming has reached more than 67 million people.”
I’ve been part of numerous ag social media rally cries — and have come to the conclusion it’s time to change our focus and strategy for two reasons:
1. Talking among fellow farmers, thanking ourselves and publicizing we’re still farming is not moving the needle when it comes to connecting with consumers and gaining their trust of modern farming practices and technology. I have a deep respect for farmers and ranchers, and appreciate the efforts to recognize them, but there’s so much work to do to advance consumer support.
2. I also respect those working in other essential industries. From the sale barn employees and animal health professionals to factory workers packaging, canning and freezing food and truckers on the road — I think we should recognize them too. How about the loggers, paper mills and those who play a role in the paper towel and toilet paper industry? They deserve a hashtag and campaign to express our appreciation.
When the temperatures plummeted this past week across the Upper Midwest, I bet a few furnaces didn’t fire up. Who receives the urgent call for help? The heating and air folks. Entering a stranger’s home isn’t always easy. Yet everyone from emergency service workers to appliance repairman do it every day. Let’s create our own rally cries for the people around us. It doesn’t have to be a social media hashtag but how can we say thank you to bring awareness to all who continue to dedicate themselves to work and service through the pandemic?
To the teachers, staff, cooks, janitors, administration and school boards, thank you for #StillEducating while following COVID-19 precautions to build up our next generation in a pandemic. Your work doesn’t make headlines, but it’s touching millions. And the impact you’re making on that one child might change the world.
To the often-ridiculed public health workers, you’re #StillTesting, #StillContactTracing and continuing to slow the spread of coronavirus, while reminding us of numerous preventive care measures we should follow. Every health care worker, yes all of you, your vacations didn’t happen this year. You work longer or more frequent shifts, and no amount of education and training could prepare you for the pandemic 2020 delivered. You care for others in a way I cannot comprehend. Thank you.
To the elected officials and public workers now juggling masking, social distancing and COVID-19 surges while preparing for Election Day right around the corner, thank you for #StillServing and continuing to provide us essential services. To those working in water, sewer, garbage and road maintenance, we see and appreciate your tireless effort.
To food pantry volunteers, homeless shelter workers, gas station attendants and small-town grocery store and big box store shelf stockers, thank you for quietly showing up every day for people you do not know. You’re trying to pay your own bills and probably aren’t thanked often enough.
Don’t wait for the pandemic to end to share your thanks. Rather than engage in name-calling and politics, shout your appreciation.
We need all of you to continue working to get through this difficult and trying time. You’re #StillWorking and #StillShowingUp for your business, employer, community, state, country and world.
Let’s encourage one another this week. Rather than being stuck in our silo, thank someone outside your circle for their work that benefits you and your loved ones.
Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.