The title of Philip E. Bradshaw’s book, “Your Food—My Adventure: One Farmer’s Journey to Feed the World,” quickly draws one’s interest.
This Griggsville, Illinois, grain and livestock producer touches on a lifetime commitment to improve the livelihood of producers while maintaining a mission about the importance of feeding the world and staying profitable.
Bradshaw articulates in his book about how his personal experiences and professional relationships built a foundation to help producers and how being a participant in the process was the best way to achieve success. His success was not based on privilege—his roots in farming came from hard work and being frugal. His early years were based on several years of having off-the-farm income and watching all expenses, and when opportunity knocked he and his wife, Linda, were able to start a farming operation. Philip Bradshaw’s life story explains how farming has changed so much in his 55 years of day-to-day production.
Establishing that base in the story helps build a foundation many High Plains readers can embrace. Yet, Bradshaw also touches about the importance of giving back. He draws on experiences that opened with a trip to Mexico as a college student. His attention to detail and observations from that trip drive home a point about his belief at a young age in helping people to have protein in their diet.
He noted that American producers work to feed the world and that has to be promoted. He discusses the details of being on the ground floor of establishing pork and soybean promotion programs that included his belief in the necessity that producers have to share in the responsibility of educating, researching and promoting their product.
Bradshaw notes that in many cases, producers see the benefits but he acknowledges it is not easy to get farmers on the same page.
It is refreshing to read about his commitment to build relationships and that the focus was not on his own personal gain but to agriculture in its entirety.
It has been often written that producers who were born before 1950 witnessed more changes in all facets of production agriculture than in any generation. It does not come without consequences, such as having a tight focus on finances, developing markets and investing in technology.
Farmers and ranchers are great stewards of the environment and leaders in entrepreneurship. Bradshaw correctly notes that as each generation gets further away from direct production, it will take farmers to take the lead in educating consumers about the importance of protein and proper nutrition in their diets.
His belief is that despite the challenges, as long as producers are willing to draw on their own experiences and participate they will have a seat at the global table. His insight over many years remains spot on, which makes Bradshaw’s book a fascinating read.
Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.