Monthly Blog - September 2017

Building Trust, Respect & Inclusion in the Family Farm Business

Ready, Set... Time to Say Please and Thank You Again.

September 2017

Build a Longer Table: The Four Legs of the Table

If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”-Unknown

Building Trust, Respect & Inclusion in the Family Farm Business


Dr. Patricia Tice

Author of Agri Manners: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success

Our Civilized Life on the Farm

There are those among us who would argue that our society has become less civilized and less well-mannered. The world seems to be scary sometimes, and witnessing atrocities on the 24-hour news channel could make some of us retreat into our homes and never want to venture out.

But, as human beings, we are hard-wired to be a part of something else outside of our nuclear family. It may be a church or synagogue, or a class you take, or a family reunion or your workplace. It may be the family barn. The verbal and nonverbal feedback we receive from others, helps us to know ourselves better. Whether we realize it or not, we are in constant learning mode, taking in the sights and sounds of the world around us.

For those of us who work in agriculture, building trust, respect and inclusion in the family farm business has never been more important. We are feeding and clothing more people than ever before, and it is important for us to present ourselves to the world in an honorable and courteous way.

The Family Farm Business

Are your children or grandchildren involved in your family business? Are they accepting and respectful of the way in which you have built your family farming business?

If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”-Unknown

The idea of a longer table symbolizes inclusion, acceptance and caring.

The four legs of the table symbolize the four principles of good manners.

The four legs are Trust, Respect, Love and Honor. It takes all four legs of the table to live a principled, well-mannered life. If one of the “legs” is missing or lacking, then our persona will be off-balance, just as a four-legged table with only three legs would be unbalanced.

The surface of the table represents the one human trait that drives all human behavior.

For families involved in agriculture, our table not only symbolizes the four principles of manners, it also symbolizes the dedication to growing and sustaining us through our own hard work and risk.

Agriculture is Vital to All of Us

Agriculture and its related industries are fundamental to all of us. Every year, every harvest, we do it a little bit better than the year before. We have cutting-edge technology in our equipment. There are exciting developments in science, which benefit all of us.

Our basic human needs continue to push us forward. We all want and need clean food and water. It is the people in agriculture that will make it happen.

To embrace the idea of a longer table means to connect with people in an honorable and trustworthy way.

The generosity of the human spirit can best be seen on the family farm.

How are the legs of your symbolic family table? Are they sturdy and strong?

As we enter the season of harvest:

Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, the other acts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of our civilization.” -Daniel Webster