Made in America

by Katie on January 14, 2012

Brandon and I both spent a lot of time on a tractor during the holidays, including some part of each of the following:  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. (And I’m not complaining. It just goes along with what we do, and I like what we do.)

Of course, during that week, every country radio station we can get in tune in the tractor cab (four, just so you know) was playing some sort of 2011 countdown. Lots of those countdowns include little intros/bios/synopses about the artist and/or song they’re about to play.

I typically jump all around on the radio stations, between the four country ones mentioned, to talk radio, to a couple of Christian stations, especially when the music ones, even briefly, stop playing music and start talking. During one such occurrence, however, I actually listened to what the countdown man was saying about Toby Keith’s “Made in America” song.

Now, since neither of us are big Toby Keith people, or Nashville country people for that matter, I was probably the last person on earth to learn all the background behind that song. But listening to it in my tractor, I was really convicted by it all.

A few days later, I was talking to Brandon about it (even he had heard about it long ago, which further proves my “last person on earth” claim), and he agreed it was high time for us to start working on “putting our money where our mouth is,” so to speak.

Just in case I wasn’t, in fact, the absolute last person on earth to hear about some of the inspiration behind that song, it basically all started because Toby Keith was looking for a domestic supplier for his promotional baseball hats…and couldn’t really find one. After that, he placed a significant investment in an Oklahoma blue jean factory in attempt to keep them in business. They soon found though, that even if they operated as a nonprofit, they couldn’t compete with foreign producers.

Crazy.

I was blown away.

I mean, I knew American-made was becoming increasingly difficult to come by, but I really had no idea it was to this point.

I should have, considering what we do. I know the wheat we grow is shipped overseas for someone else to turn it in to pasta. I know that many hay growers (not us really, although we did sell a little this way a while back) in our area export their alfalfa – in fact, it’s a pretty hefty percent of our local market. [Thankfully, most of ours is still shipped to Texas, which, granted, is a country all its own too, but not in the same respect we’re talking here.] I know that our cotton is traded on the world market and shipped to foreign textile mills. So I guess I really shouldn’t have been that surprised. But I was.

So, moral of the story, we were pretty convicted about making a true effort in searching for the “made in America” tag. Hopefully my bargain-hunting tendencies won’t hold me back too much.

In Brandon’s words, “The old Katie never would have been up for this.”

Not in principle, of course. Just in shelling out the actual dough.

But I guess it doesn’t do much good for your values and ideals to only be in your head…

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