By: Maddie Miller
I am from a small town. My dad’s a large animal veterinarian and my mom is an elementary school teacher. I have had some amazing experiences in my hometown, and some not so amazing ones. With all of that being said, some of the most genuine people I have ever met have been formed by the surrounding area’s agricultural focus.
At Drake University people have this idea that they too are from a small town. People from the suburbs of Chicago would tell me that their high school graduating class was so small, it only had 250 or so students. I laughed at them.
Today our class group went to visit the United States Department of Agriculture. Our class is from a variety of locations, but even with that, I thought my upbringing and going on calls with my dad when I was little made me an informed member of society when it came to all that the USDA does. I was wrong.
The USDA helps to set crop prices, makes foreign trade agreements, administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, regulates disease both domestically and internationally, offers farm loans to military veterans, and so much more. To make all of those tasks happen, the USDA works with people in the fields of science, economy, engineering, marketing, production, international politics, and so on. These people all represent a different perspective on issues that directly affect the survival and safety of US citizens. The amount of coordination this department does is incredibly overlooked.
One of the other important aspects of their job is working to foster a positive image of the agricultural community. The marketing of the image is not left solely to the USDA, but is something that the various individuals involved can contribute to. Take for instance, the Land O’Lakes’ video that highlights the work that farmers put in when producing the various products that our nation demands from agriculture.
Branding yourself, whether that be in politics or agriculture, is all part of living in the society that we do. Emily Grimm, one of the recent recent Drake alumnae who spoke to our class this evening, suggested that reputation is a valuable commodity, and once ruined, it isn’t something that you can easily get back.
The USDA works as a prime example of just how much can go into crafting an image, specifically for such an impactful and diverse portion of the government.
Today I learned that I am still not informed enough on many of the things that happen in our government, but I know that I am incredibly grateful for the amount of hard work that goes into protecting my health and safety, along with the rest of the nation.