If you know me you know I’m a huge fan of some Oklahoma/Texas red dirt music. Last week Aaron Watson released a new album called the Underdog. Aside from it being a GREAT album, the title made me think about the modern day “Underdog”. Some of my AgBlog friends decided to do a group blog on the “underdog” and what it means to each of us (see links at the end of this post).
I don’t know about you but I’ve always been a fan of “The Underdog”. I’m always that guy rooting for the low man on the totem pole. I think a lot of it has to do with my tenure at Oklahoma State. Having lived in Oklahoma where OSU is constantly in competition with OU for media attention and positive press and my school gets pushed aside really crawls under my skin. OSU has never been the “bandwagon” school in the state so positive attention even when our sports teams are doing well seems to always shift to OU. But is my beloved Oklahoma State really an underdog? Maybe it’s just a premise I have in my head. This got me thinking, what may be an underdog to me may not be to others.
There are many folks out there with the same passion toward the agriculture industry I have. We’re proud of what we do and proud of our industry. This pride often times instigates the building of walls around our passions in fear of someone coming in a dampening our pride. If I said I wasn’t guilty of this I’d be lying to you and myself. It’s almost a natural instinct I think, to protect our livelihood, passions and in some cases the things we love.
When evaluating the premise of an underdog my first thought went to farmers and ranchers. Sure, I don’t feel they get the appreciation they deserve however I’ve come to ascertain that my thinking was a little off. Are farmers and ranchers really an underdog? Is the agriculture industry an underdog?
After thinking about it the answer is No; farmers and ranchers aren’t the underdog, nor is the agriculture industry. The agriculture industry is actually one of the most premier industries on the market. Sure we deal with negative media and constant flak from anti-agriculture organizations however, this doesn’t make us the low man on the totem pole. Unfortunately because the majority of consumers have been displaced from the agriculture industry by at least three generations they could be considered our underdog.
Agriculture’s customers are continuously faced with marketing trends, diet fads, and labels with virtually no knowledge of where their food comes from or how it’s produced. This may not seem like a very big deal but we aren’t talking a simple ballgame, this is the agriculture industry. This is the industry consumers are relying on to shelter, clothe and nourish their bodies. The underdog in this case is driving the agriculture industry in the direction they see fit through demand.
I leave you with this challenge; let’s break down the walls we often times build and help our underdog rise up. If our underdog is driving our industry, shouldn’t we (agrarians, farmers, ranchers and food industry professionals) be the ones to provide them with experience, education and answers? The answer is yes! It’s up to us to make this happen. Get out and start developing educational conversations so we can help our underdog out.
In the meantime rock out to Aaron Watson’s new track “The Underdog” and check out some of these other great “Underdog” posts.