Lee Haynes is being honored as a Future of American Agriculture Champion of Change.
I am a commercial egg farmer from North Alabama.
As a farmer, I have a unique perspective on the plate of eggs many of us enjoy at breakfast time.
Over the last several decades the average age of U.S. farmers has increased and in turn, year by year, the number of farms has decreased. Today, just two percent of U.S. citizens are farmers. With such a small proportion of the population connected personally to a farm or ranch, a disconnect has grown between farmers and consumers. Most consumers are not aware of the great work, research, and care that are put into agricultural products and food.
As a farmer, I am passionate about bringing these two communities together. Our communities, neighbors, and customers should all know the hard work, and strong science behind the practices that we use to produce food for the country!
Several years ago, I got involved with our local county young farmers group. Through them, I had an opportunity to host a TV morning show segment about where your breakfast food comes from. Once customers experienced how hard we worked, the skill needed, and the care we put into everything we do on the farm - we had people calling our farm wanting to know where our products could be purchased.
To every farmer that I know, the products they produce are more than just a way to earn a living. Farmers derive a great sense of pride from what they do and it is a way of life to them. There are no set hours in production agriculture and at times, many farmers work around the clock. Over the last several years there have been many improvements in agriculture technology. These improvements have made farming more efficient and better for the environment. Farmers are true stewards of land and care for it and its sustainability more than anything else. The great efficiency of U.S. farmers allows our country to enjoy the lowest food cost in world.
Farmers’ great sense of pride in what they do results in great quality food and products produced. Farmers go to tremendous lengths to ensure the foods they produce are safe and of the utmost quality. In animal agriculture, the health and safety of animals are top priorities for farmers. Farmers work day in and out with these animals and have great care and respect for them.
I take every opportunity presented to promote not only my farm but agriculture in general. This is vital for the health of agriculture and the sustainability of its future. I challenge all farmers to speak out, and let people know of the great work that you do. I also ask consumers to connect with their agricultural community – to learn about the science and share in the experience of American agriculture. If you do, you will see that farming practices used today are efficient, science-based and proven practices to ensure you top-quality, safe foods and products.
Lee Haynes is a commercial egg farmer from North Alabama. Lee holds a key management role at Nature’s Best Egg Company where he and his father market their own eggs.