This Week’s Column: Farmers Don’t Need a Martyr Complex

The Sacrifice of Isaac

Caravaggio's "The Sacrifice of Isaac"

Given that it’s Holy Week, I’ve been thinking a great deal about sacrifice. In the context of my Judeo-Christian worldview, Easter is very important for a number of reasons, but the symbolism of spring and renewal are important to all of us in agriculture for obvious reasons.

In conversation this week, I was spurred to ponder an unfortunate metaphor. Thanks to some “agvocates” working on our behalf in social media, farmers and ranchers are getting a Jesus complex.

Before you turn the page in a huff, allow me to explain the metaphor. The Jesus story is well known: God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to earth in human form to live, and ultimately die, among His children. The point of the sacrifice, we’re taught in the New Testament, was to take the place of the Old Testament blood sacrifice (think Abraham and Isaac, for example) and establish a new covenant between God and His people.

Taken literally, Christ died to save the world.

How, you may be pondering, does this apply to modern agriculture? It applies, in part, thanks to Facebook and Twitter. (How’s that for a plot twist?)

Thanks to social media sites, farmers are more capable than ever of sharing their own story directly with consumers, friends and neighbors. The natural outgrowth of social media’s power to connect people outside traditional media is a proliferation of social media “experts,” “gurus,” and “consultants” working to teach us all how to harness the power of this new silver bullet to save agriculture as we know it.

Read the rest of this week’s column at Feedstuffs.

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About Andy Vance

Grains and Biofuels Editor at Feedstuffs, the weekly newspaper for agribusiness, and resident blogger at BeefProducer.com. If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, I may be the most dangerous man I know...

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