Tag Archives: American Agri-Women

2013 Overview and Book of the Year

I’ve already mentioned that 2013 was a “down year.” I didn’t make it near my goal of 50 books. I did join two sites   last year to help me keep track of what I read online. Pocket is a great reading list, where you can add articles you want to read from a browser button or app add-on, then go to your queue, after reading them  mark them finished. This really simplified my to-read list of article links. Often times I prefer the easy read layout of pocket to the original site anyway. Pocket connects to a site called Degreed. “Degreed is a community of college students, professionals, and lifelong learners dedicated to advancing their education. When you join Degreed, you get tools to help you track, organize, share, and validate everything you learn.” When I finish an article in Pocket it gets tracked by Degreed. According to the site I’ve read 407 articles since I signed up.

The Rating System:

Loved It – 8

Liked It A lot – 8

Liked It – 6

It Was Okay – 5

Kinda Bad – 1

Bad – 1

It Stunk – 0

Total = 29

So now we come to the choosing of the 2013 Book of the Year. The books in the running this year are Nobody’s Princess, The Try: Reclaiming the American Dream, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, Our Daily Bread; The Essential Norman Borlaug, The Land of Elyon #1: The Dark Hills Divide, Divergent (Divergent Series), The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, and Guardians of Ga’Hoole #1: The Capture.

This is a great list of books, and I think you should read them all. Two of them really stand out to me as important books because of my connection to agriculture. In fact we are all connected to agriculture. Our farmers grow our food, fiber, fuel, flowers, and forests. In our culture I see many people who are lost on the understanding of how modern agriculture works to do all that. Our Daily Bread and The Last Hunger Season will help you get a better picture of why our modern agriculture system developed, and maybe help you appreciate it a little more.

It’s because feeding the world is so important that Norman Borlaug is one of my hero’s. He was honored this year on March 25th, 2014, National Ag day and the anniversary of his 100th birthday (#Borlaug100) with a statue on Capital Hill in Washington DC. How can you not appreciate a man who save 1 billion live from starvation? That’s why Our Daily Bread is my choice for 2013 Book of the Year.

This video was put together to honor him during #Borlaug100


 “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murakami

American Agri-Women Book Chat

This year I helped started a new book club for American Agri-Women a group of women from across the country in farming, ranching, forestry and agri-business.

Our website states: American Agri-Women is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women with over fifty state, commodity and agribusiness affiliate organizations throughout the country. It is an all-volunteer organization, working to advocate for agriculture since 1974.

My experience its that its more of a large sorority than a coalition. Every time I go to a national event I get encouraged, energized and jazzed up to keep talking about agriculture. I wanted to extend that feeling a little; combining my experience with social media and my love of books I came up with the idea for a book club.

Our inaugural book was The Try by Jim Owens, a 2012 convention speaker. We had a Facebook chat  discussing the book  on Jan 11th, 2013 at 6:00 pm PST. The goal is to have about one book every three months, for a total of four books a year.

What is it that separates the doers, leaders, and success stories among us from the dreamers, also-rans, and wannabes? To bestselling author James P. Owen, it’s all about having The Try— the quality of giving 110 percent to the task or challenge at hand.

The try was a great motivational book, and I would highly recommend it. The next book was a biography of one of my farm hero’s Norman Borlaug. Our Daily Bread, The Essential Norman Borlaug” is the selection for the next AAW book club book. We discussed Our Daily Bread, The Essential Norman Borlaug March 1st on our Facebook page.

Having received the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal, Norman Borlaug ranks beside Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. But few people know his name. Our Daily Bread shows why Borlaug should also be a household name. It is the story of how one man saved billions from certain hunger. And it shows how we too got our daily bread.

The description of the book calls it the first “Cereal Thriller.” It’s a fast, easy and mind opening read. Not only is it about Norman Borlaug, but about the evolution of farming. Again a great book, and the author Noel Vietmeyer will be a speaker at the upcoming American Agri-Women Fly-In to Washington DC.

The book touched again and again on Norman’s passion to help bring simple farmers out of poverty and in turn help hungry nations feed themselves. That theme lead us to our current book The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurow.

The book documents what can be done when an organization works with a profoundly poor group of subsistence farmers in Kenya, to educate them on new farming methods and help them get started, with small loans to buy seed and fertilizer.

Africa’s smallholder farmers, most of whom are women, know misery. They toil in a time warp, living and working essentially as their forebears did a century ago. With tired seeds, meager soil nutrition, primitive storage facilities, wretched roads, and no capital or credit, they harvest less than one-quarter the yields of Western farmers. The romantic ideal of African farmers––rural villagers in touch with nature, tending bucolic fields––is in reality a horror scene of malnourished children, backbreaking manual work, and profound hopelessness. Growing food is their driving preoccupation, and still they don’t have enough to feed their families throughout the year.

Join us for a discussion of the book Friday June 7th at 6pm (PST.) You don’t have to be part of our organization, or a woman, or even involved in Agriculture; everyone is invited to join. In fact you don’t even have to read the book since most of our discussion will about world hunger. The chat will be held on our Facebook page. It’s easy to participate, just login and go to www.facebook.com/AgriWomen. We’ll post numbered discussion questions to the page and the conversation will take place in the comments. We’ll let you know when there is a new question.