Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Mariah Ann Messink, 2019 National Ms. Agriculture USA receives many questions when advocating for the agriculture industry at public events. One of her favorite questions is, "Why is it important to promote agriculture and how does your experience as a Miss Agriculture USA queen help you to promote the industry?" Mariah has been able to elaborate on her answer to this question below.
Agriculture has always been and will continue to be the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all other industries. It is important to promote agriculture as a food, textile, and by product consumer, person, and leader. Those individuals who possess a strong knowledge base and background in agriculture must utilize their experiences to advocate for the industry. Agriculture continues to be the mother of all industries, providing each person with food to nourish their body, textiles to clothe them, building materials to shelter them, and byproducts to live life with ease and convenience.
In our world today there is a plethora of information that circulates quickly, having the ability to go viral in seconds. There lies the increasing modernized need for the promotion of agriculture. With the development of digital media anyone can become an influencer by posting facts or fiction with the click of a single button, it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. What happens when a social media post including photos, video, or voice recordings are available to the entire world and left up to individual interpretation? Many consumers are quick to make judgments according to the hype or shock factor of media. The importance of ag promotion is sparked by the misconceptions consumers are baited by everyday. It is our responsibility as advocates for agriculture to promote the industry not by fighting back, but by setting an example with the purpose of education and awareness.
Our Nation takes pride in providing the safest food supply in the world to the American people and those countries receiving our exports. Though this is well known, speculation stirs, questioning the long term effects of genetically modified organisms, pesticides, and the ethical treatment of animals. It is our mission as those passionate about agriculture to promote facts with care, poise, and grace. It is our hope to educate the public so we may not be pressured by consumer opinion and misconception to change our best practices. Our best practices ensure our ability to feed our growing population safely and efficiently.
Many agriculture producers hold degrees of higher education and certifications of specified trade recognizing their dedication and accomplishment in their respective field. Those in the agriculture industry take great pride in their risk management and ethical practices. They are not looking to make a dollar at the expense of safety or health. These producers value agriculture as not only their passion, but their livelihood. They make daily sacrifices to save livestock and crops, securing the long standing positive reputation of the American food supply.
While serving as a Miss Agriculture USA queen I have been able to promote agriculture more successfully in a public setting. As a lifelong 4-H participant, youth agriculture organization advisor, and active community member I advocated through my volunteerism, attendance, and leadership. As a Miss Agriculture USA queen I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself. I am more frequently approached because of the conversation my crown and sash spark. As the sparkles and written word of the tools in my advocacy arsenal bring approach-ability and wonder, I am able to present my platform with great pride and ease. The crown and sash do not just provide a platform from which to serve, but pride, confidence, and comradery. I know that I am one of many agvocates striving to educate the public with kindness. As an agriculture queen I have begun to stand a little taller, sit up a little straighter, and walk with greater purpose. With my sister queens behind me there is no fear in front of me that I cannot face.