As I write this, it’s snowing outside my window. The flags on the flagpole are stiff in the wind pointing northwest, and I am thinking of those who are working in the cold despite it. Livestock farmers are breaking ice every day so their animals have water, and dropping hay and feed for them to eat. Many of Missouri’s farmers are also gearing up for something special.

For decades, Missouri Farm Bureau (MFB) members have made conscious efforts to reach out to consumers to share information about what they do and why. Since 2010, these efforts have culminated during an official MFB Thank a Farmer week celebration in February. This year that week is February 7-13.

During Thank a Farmer week, county Farm Bureaus across the state organize events to connect with consumers of every age. From grocery store giveaways to social media promotions to visits to elementary classrooms, they reach out to educate and promote what they do. Last year, Wright County Farm Bureau was recognized nationally by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) for its Thank a Farmer week activities. It was among 28 counties from across the country honored at the AFBF Annual Meeting in early January.

This year, as we do each year, MFB members will also come together to give back through donations of food and gift cards to Missouri Ronald McDonald House charities in Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City and Springfield. February is a time of year when their food pantries are running low. Farm Bureau leaders will deliver these gifts to help families that are focused on helping a sick child get better.

In addition, MFB’s Foundation for Agriculture has partnered with the Missouri Press Foundation in 2016 to create a special newspaper tabloid publication: “Agriculture is Everywhere!” It will be available to newspapers statewide to deliver to their subscribers and local schools through the Newspapers in Education program. County Farm Bureau leaders will be taking them into classrooms when they visit, as well.

We all need farmers every day, three times a day, and as we go about living, we should acknowledge them and remember to thank them for all they do that impacts our lives at the table and beyond.