Veterans Day is upon us once again and this is a time for us all to think about those that have and are serving our country and those that have given their lives so that we can continue to live the American dream. This may be only one day that many honor those that have or are serving our country, but it shouldn’t be just one day.
There are thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen putting their lives at stake to ensure our freedoms and they should be thanked every day and in every one of our prayers. They spend days, months, and years of their lives away from their families and yes this is their choice, but that is a sacrifice in itself that many take for granted. Military service men and women don’t serve in the military because of the great pay, great benefits or easy lifestyle. It’s quite the contrary. Those that serve in the military, from my experience, have never considered those as factors in their decision to join or remain in the military. Believing in the American way of life and the American dream, setting the example for all to follow, and taking pride for doing something that many in this country would never consider doing are ideals that I know of why many join the service. Those in the military have extremely strong values, such as Honor, Courage, and Commitment. For us in the U.S. Navy these are not just words, but they are a way of life and are reflected in everything we do. Each of the branches of the service have their own values, but they are all similar and in the end, the commonality is a dedication to duty and country.
Some may ask what if any connection there is between the U.S. military and U.S. agriculture. I not only served in the U.S. Navy, but I also come from an agricultural background. Much like those in the Navy, those in my farm community also had strong values and a strong faith. The same values that are extolled in the Navy are very much a part of that farm life I grew up on. Perhaps that is why you see so many young farm men and women join the military. It is comforting to belong to a team and a culture that share your same values and beliefs.
Whether a farmer or a military service member, you are committed to serving your country. Providing the food and feed supply that keeps the nation independent of basic food/feed imports adds to our national security issues. Many nations around the world import a majority of the food they consume. While in the U.S. we do import some food/feed ingredients, overall though, we are a food exporting nation and our producers are increasing trying to meet the global food and feed needs. Farmers and the U.S. military are the backbone of American national security. Having both of these industries, agriculture and defense, as a strong part of our economy puts the U.S. at a very strong strategic advantage over many countries around the world.
The U.S. farmer and service member have a partnership that they may not be aware of, but it is one that is vital to the United States’ leadership role around the world. I don’t expect the values or beliefs of either to change and as more nations need “nation building” assistance both the U.S. farmer will be there to feed that nation’s people and to educate them on how to produce their own food, but the U.S. service men and women will be there to protect them and ensure that they have the same opportunity to grow and live a life free from threats and oppression. So on this Thursday and any day of the year, if you see a farmer or a service member thank them for what they are doing to make this country and you as a citizen safe and secure and also thank them for their sacrifices. It is the least we can do.
CEO Illinois Soybean Association
You can also visit Craig on the ISA Facebook page.