Amanda Radke: A Cowgirl’s Perspective 4-9-12 |

Amanda Radke: A Cowgirl’s Perspective 4-9-12

All too often, the entertainment industry portrays farmers and ranchers in a hokey way – cowgirls in pigtails and ranchers in bib overalls. Straw hanging from our mouths, characters in country music or films are often churning butter from the cow standing on its hind legs chatting about the problems with the rooster crowing. Cheesy? Yes. Destructive to our industry? Absolutely. It’s called the “Disney effect,” and humanizes livestock as pals for the farmers.

No wonder consumers are confused about where their food comes from! It’s no surprise many feel guilty about the meat they eat, and they can quickly determine that farmers and ranchers are evil, greedy villains, not family-owned businesses that serve as caregivers to the land and the animals, while providing safe foods for the world.

However, once in awhile, something comes along in the entertainment industry that paints an accurate picture of who we are in animal agriculture. Think Hollywood’s rendition of “Temple Grandin,” for example.

If you haven’t heard the song, “American Farmer,” by country music artist, Steve Azar, you’re in for a real treat. The lyrics celebrate every day agriculturalists – describing the hard work and the gamble it takes to have a career in food production. Every time I hear the song, I get goosebumps, and knowing the song was created for a great cause makes the tune twice as sweet.

Azar, who is known for his songs, “I Don’t Have To Be Me ‘Til Monday” and “Waiting On Joe,” partnered up with Swenson Investments and Commodities in Sioux Falls, S.D., to help promote the future of farming and ranching. Azar wrote and produced the song, “American Farmer,” and Swenson has made 2,000 limited edition CD singles of the song, which are now available for $5.00 – 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the South Dakota FFA Foundation.

Although not a national campaign, I believe every rancher in every state should support this cause, as it goes directly to the future of American agriculture – our young leaders in the FFA. For those of you who ever put on that blue corduroy jacket, you know the power this program can have in a young person’s life. For me, I learned many skills, such as team-building by competing with my peers in the nursery landscape and food judging competitions. I learned professional development, competing at nationals in public speaking, job interview and extemporaneous speaking. I learned about the importance of community and networking, with many life-long friendships built and strengthened through FFA.

Most importantly, I learned that agriculture is my passion. And, the song, “American Farmer” truly portrays that passion for me. Turn up the radio and listen for the tune; you’ll love it!

Copies can be purchased at the state’s FFA Convention on April 15-17 in Brookings, S.D. The single is also for sale at the KXRB Radio studios in Sioux Falls, S.D. Or, simply visit to make your purchase.

What a cool way to support the future agriculturalits locally, regionally, nationally and around the world! Imagine how far this song could go in reaching people – educating consumers about who we really are! The song is an inspirational message that perfectly describes who we are as farmers and ranchers. I encourage everyone to check out the single, make that purchase and support the future of our nation’s food supply!

Have you heard the song? What did you think about it?

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Estimated crop water use


The estimated crop water use for Nebraska Panhandle crops for the previous week and the upcoming week is shown in this table. It is based on data gathered by and calculations made by Nebraska Extension…

See more