The summer Olympics are easily my favorite sporting events to watch. Even if I know nothing about an event, it is still easy for me to root for Team USA. Regardless of how little I actually know about each of the athletes, the letters USA on their uniforms gives me a sense of connection to each competitor down in Rio. With each gold medal, my sense of pride in my country grows, but I seldom take into account the hours of practice and numerous sacrifices that it takes for any Olympian to compete at that level. It is so easy for me to focus on the end product without taking into consideration the years that each athlete has spent pounding on his or her craft.
If I step back and take a look at the world around me, I notice many similarities to the Olympics. This summer I left the family farm to work for a show cattle operation. Although there are many noticeable differences between the two, one thing that they both have in common is striving to produce the best possible beef for the consumers. Just like the athletes who train for the Olympics, farmers and ranchers are constantly striving for excellence in order to have a positive impact on the industry.
The Olympics are full of a variety of events, and sometimes I wonder how some of the events could even be considered sports. However, I occasionally find myself having the same thoughts with agriculture. Growing up on a commercial cattle operation and even showing calves at my county fair, I would have never dreamed of washing as many calves as I have this summer. Many of the ranchers that I grew up around would have just scoffed at the thought of washing and blow-drying their cattle, but as I have experienced over the course of this summer, it is in fact, a part of the agriculture industry, and both parties have very similar end goals.
Although Kansas lacks the beautiful beaches that make Rio so special, the farmers and ranchers, as well as the athletes in the Olympics, do have their similarities. There may not be medals for those who work in agriculture, but we are still faced with the challenge of feeding nearly 10 billion people in just a few decades. In order to fulfill such a demand, it is vital that those who working in each industry of agriculture strive for excellence.
Until next time,