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This year we commemorate the festivity of San Isidro when 400 years have passed since his canonization. In all this time there has been everything, good and bad harvests, in which farmers and ranchers They have not stopped working from sunrise to sunset, facing difficulties and overcoming, time and time again, to frost and hail, to plagues, droughts and floods, always with hope, always with the confidence that San Isidro watches over them, always with the illusion of being able to thank him on May 15 for all his protection.

After two years in which the pandemic has prevented the celebration from being carried out as the Saint deserves, this four hundredth anniversary may be a good time to take advantage of it and reflect on the great challenges that the countryside has ahead as the engine of the future of the rural world. Challenges associated with the availability of water and modern irrigation, innovation, digitization, or internationalization, like any other business sector, but also challenges that in this area go beyond those faced by the rest of the productive sectors due to the essential of this sector for our survival.

The Saint managed to ensure that a ration, his ration, was sufficient and even left over after sharing it with the beggars who were not allowed access to the great lunch mentioned in his biography. the pandemic has allowed us to remember that episode, because farmers and ranchers also did the miracle ensuring in such a complicated situation that we did not lack food during confinement, which should lead us to value their dedication and their work to guarantee something as extremely essential as feeding humanity and, based on this, urgently address the challenges that secure their future.

San Isidro was an orphan, began working in the fields at the age of 10, tilling land, cultivating crops and harvesting. The situation that today’s young people have is very different: more and more educated and more professional young people are choosing this noble profession, but at the moment the problem is that they no longer do it in sufficient numbers to ensure the replacement generational This is perhaps the main of the challenges that lie ahead, they are the present and the future, but if action is not taken now, the problem of abandoning the activity will be irremediable.

For this reason, a change of mentality is urgently needed that derives in the well-deserved recognition of farmers and ranchers as the great business men and women that they are. It is urgent to dignify the profession and ensure investments and measures that give profitability and make this job attractive. It is urgent to develop a culture of effective union between agricultural entrepreneurs that helps in joint marketing. It is urgent to value and promote change to take advantage of the fundamental role of farmers and ranchers, also in the conservation of the environment, banishing once and for all the unjustified accusations loaded with demagoguery. It is urgent to address all these challenges and transmit a positive image of agriculture and livestock, a positive image of life in our towns, even knowing that if the economic changes are complex, the cultural ones are even more so.

Photo: Carving of San Isidro Labrador, angel and oxen, from the Church of San Juan Bautista de Amaya.  (Wikipedia)

In this cultural and image change is one of the most important keys to reorient the reality of the moment in which many young people choose to go to the big cities and very few stay or they return to develop their project of life in the town.

It is evident that to date we have not been able to transmit the value of the land, the quality of life in rural areas, the pride of belonging. We have not been able to form that culture of roots, that change of image that, in some way, must come hand in hand with the recognition that those who work in the countryside in rural areas deserve and do not have today. San Isidro can ensure this, but we who truly believe in the possibilities and opportunities of that 84% of the rural territory that Spain has, are the ones who must act, recognize problems and meet challenges without delayrequiring public officials to apply the measures to achieve it as soon as possible.

It is good on a day like today to keep in mind who we are, not to lose sight of our roots, be proud of our traditions, count them, defend them and celebrate them with San Isidro, to move forward in the right direction. Whoever does not value the past lacks solid pillars on which to build the future.

This year we commemorate the festivity of San Isidro when 400 years have passed since his canonization. In all this time there has been everything, good and bad harvests, in which farmers and ranchers They have not stopped working from sunrise to sunset, facing difficulties and overcoming, time and time again, to frost and hail, to plagues, droughts and floods, always with hope, always with the confidence that San Isidro watches over them, always with the illusion of being able to thank him on May 15 for all his protection.

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