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Farming With Purpose: My Everyday Mission

“Once in your life, you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher. But every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.”
This loose translation of a quote from Brenda Schoepp means a lot to me. It comes up often, and for good reason. Farming is the backbone of society. Food does not suddenly appear on our plates or in our grocery stores. We often down acknowledge the importance of farming with a purpose.

To me, farming with a purpose means making conscious decisions, with both short- and long-term goals, that address the real challenges facing the farming and food production industries. Decisions made today can solve tomorrow’s problems.

Contributing to the success of the next generation of farmers is my North Star. My father made his living in the agriculture business, my oldest brother was a farmer, and my grandparents migrated to California during the Dust Bowl in search of a more sustainable agricultural environment. Agriculture runs in my blood. Regenerative agriculture is a personal issue and a professional challenge. It is my personal mission to help growers and consumers build a more sustainable future through regenerative agriculture.

Stewards Of The Land

The farmer is the ultimate steward of the land. It’s important to understand that farmers put more back into the land than they take out despite what some skeptics say. Science-based decision-making frames every aspect of a farmer’s utilization of land. Tillage reduction, automation, drip irrigation and precision delivery of nutrients, soil sampling, and usage of cover crops are common practices throughout the United States’ farmlands. Farmland is a limited resource that continues to dwindle. It’s up to farmers to invest in the land available to us, making it as productive as possible as we face growing demands from an ever-increasing population.

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Supporting Agriculture’s Next Generation

Farmers today are seeking purpose from their work like never before. I have spoken with many younger farmers and agriculture students of the last decade. I continue to be astounded by their commitment to providing a positive impact and their desire to make conscious decisions to reduce their environmental footprint. They are asking, and being asked, tough questions. More than any other generation of agriculture professionals, they can see the long-term benefits of the decisions they make today.

This next generation of farmers work with a purpose. As my role as a company leader, I strive to empower and motivate our employees to feel the same pride and fulfillment. At Netafim, regardless of your role in the company, you contribute to the mission of farming with purpose. As professionals in agriculture, it’s important that we take the time to step back and be proud of the work we’re doing. We should strive to advocate for sustainability and regenerative farming practices as we advance in our careers.

Emerging technologies in our field are driving a new wave of interest, even for those who don’t have a background or family tie to farming. At Netafim USA, the use of automation, aerial imagery, and climate control are commonplace. In addition to conventional farming practices, we are actively engaged in emerging technologies including protected and urban agriculture. These farm technologies are attracting engineers, architects, and scientists who are ready to apply their technical backgrounds and skills to the cause.

Appreciating What We Have, In Order To Save It

Imagine a lack of choice when shopping at the grocery store; only one brand of cheese or your least favorite coffee. Our supermarkets offer the safest, most affordable variety and quality.

We often forget what’s important until they’re gone. We were reminded of this during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 when supermarket shelves were emptied as consumers panicked and stocked up due to an abundance of caution. We should remember what happened next. The US’ food supply chain kept the course. Within one to two weeks, supermarkets were stocked to near capacity.

My hope is that fully packed produce aisles will always be the norm, but we aren’t just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. The hope is that produce aisles will always beeMy passion will continue to be tied to the promotion and adoption of sustainable agriculture practices -- from the number of acres irrigated with drip irrigation, to each new water conservation advocate that endeavors to make a difference in their own community. At the end of the day, farming with a purpose means leaving the world a better place than you found it.