To be a spectator means you watch an activity without taking part. Even though I become emotionally invested in my sons’ baseball games, I am still only a spectator. I’m not actually taking part in the game.
Questioning the Coach
So many times, I have watched a game from the bleachers and questioned the coach in my head: “Why doesn’t he teach him to swing at a perfect pitch like that?” only to find out later that my son was doing exactly what the coach gave him signs to do. By “taking a pitch” and not swinging, the batter allows his teammate to steal a base and get on second, or at least it works that way in youth baseball.
Leave it to the Expert
The coach has a plan. The coach knows more than I do about baseball. The coach has analyzed the game and all the risks and consequences involved. Good coaches combine their experience and knowledge to create job security and better opportunities for themselves and their players.
Is Farming a Spectator Sport?
With concerns about food safety and the environment being highlighted today, it seems as though farming has become a bit of a spectator sport. From the sidelines, many who are removed from agriculture are wanting farmers to go back to the processes used in the twentieth century because they assume they're safer and better for the environment. Some call for no irrigation so we don’t continue to deplete our water supply. Others suggest that farmers should never, under any circumstances, use pesticides. But in the words of Sam Whitaker: “Everyone would have to grab their hoe and come back to the farm if we revert to the way things were.”
The Faithful Few
Farming practices are continuing to develop, so thankfully the two percent of the population can keep feeding the rest of us. By perfecting the balance of farming and science, agriculture professionals allow us to continue pursuing our interests and creating new ones.
Accountability is a good thing. As Matt Miles said on his recent video, farmers are implementing better practices today than they were several years ago because the public has asked questions and raised concerns.
While this accountability has brought about obvious improvements, as a spectator and one who is not actually taking part in farming, it helps me to remember that the farmer knows more than I do about what is and what isn’t possible in his operation. He has more experience than I do, and his own natural resources are what he’s investing in order to succeed. It’s his livelihood.
Farmers are doing their part
Jim Whitaker has developed a section of his rice farm that is irrigated solely by runoff and rain water so he is not using any water from the underground aquifer. Farmers are quick to tell you that they must follow strict, regulated prescriptions for all fertilizers or chemicals applied to their crops. Any product they use has been thoroughly tested by the FDA and standardized at a level that is set to be conservatively safe for human consumption. This process is very similar to the regulations placed on medications here in America. They keep us safe and healthy.
Trust the System
The experts are qualified for a reason, and we can't all be experts at everything. Whether it’s a farmer or a doctor or a coach or a plumber, they are more experienced and better educated on the subject than I am. They aren’t perfect, but they are professionals who combine their knowledge and experience to benefit all of us.