Word on Wheat: Inspired to Take A Broader View

May 15, 2009 Bookmark and Share

David Schemm, NAWG Domestic and Trade Policy Committee Vice Chairman

Many of us have either grown up in 4-H or have kids that are in it now. After years of reciting the pledge, you have it memorized even if you don’t want to:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.

Several years ago, I received the Young Farmer Award from Monsanto, and went to Albuquerque, N.M., for the NAWG national meetings.

Before that trip, I had been involved with my club and my community through local boards and school activities. After I went to New Mexico, I realized that a leader can’t just be focused on his immediate surroundings, but must expand his vision to his country and his world.

Many people go through life focused on getting the work done associated with their job and only involved in life that surrounds their family. I even know people in my local community who have not been more than 100 miles away from their homes. Seeing others at NAWG who wanted to reach beyond their own community inspired me to do the same.

Soon after, I became actively involved in the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. While I have found out it’s not always easy to manage the demands put on my time when I am working closely with an ag group like KAWG, it is a decision I have never regretted, and it’s a decision I encourage others to make. There are sacrifices that my family and I have made, but the rewards have been worth it.

Working with KAWG has allowed a small-town, western Kansas boy to expand the world he knows to the entire country. It has opened my eyes to realize that even if I do a good job raising my crop and marketing it, profitability is not a guaranteed thing. Government trade policies, farm programs, insurance programs, environmental regulations – they all can affect my operation, for better or for worse.

I plan on continuing to expand my vision of the world through my service on the NAWG Board of Directors. I am very thankful for the encouraging words I’ve received from past leaders of both my state organization and the national organization, urging me to pursue leadership positions.

In fact, one of my goals on the Board is to let my work inspire someone in our industry to reach beyond their own community and to take the ‘Wheat Pledge’ like I have.

– Schemm is a wheat producer from Sharon Springs, Kan.