My name is Clem Neely, and I am 23 year old first year student at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. However I am not new to the K-State scene, I graduated last May with my Bachelors of Science degree in Animal Sciences and Industry and I have been a diehard wildcat fan long before that. K-State has been a big tradition in my family for three generations.
Another tradition that is deeply rooted in my family is agriculture. In the late 1860’s my great-great-grandfather purchased his first piece of land in Neosho County, Kansas. My family still resides in that same area of Southeast Kansas and I am very proud of my family’s agricultural heritage. I often reflect on the challenges and hardships that my family and other farm families faced throughout all those years. I sometimes wish I could just have a one day to visit with my ancestors about the droughts, the floods, the Great Depression and how they decided which of one of the eleven kids got to take the first bath on Saturday night.
Today, we involved with agriculture are confronted with numerous hurdles, many of which have no apparently clear solution on how to get over them. Market based questions arise like, “What is the proper role of the government in agriculture? How do we compete in today’s global market place?” Also questions that strike a more personal note come forward, “How do we bridge the information gap between consumer and producer? How do we counter attacks from extremist environment and animal rights agendas?”
American agriculture has seen a lot of change and progress since the first plow broke soil. Even though different challenges have come and gone since that time, there are a couple of variables that remain constant. The first is that it was not easy in the beginning, it is not easy now and nor will it ever be easy. The second constant is that change will always be on the horizon, for better or for worse.
I suppose my point would be this, we are not the first to be faced with adversity and we will definitely not be the last. Many have succeeded before us and now it is our time to try to succeed.
Thanks for your time and GO STATE!