Written by Ann Marie Murphy –
Aaron Avner
Aaron Avner, farmer. September 24, 2015

Perusing my Facebook feed, I came across this gem of a story. I tried to verify the truth of it and was unable to do so, but the morale of the story was one that resonated . In part, it resonated because it resembles the work that the people in the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, and OSU, do every day: they work with communities to help people and industry prosper. Because when we do this work, we all have a better lives.

So if you’ll indulge me by reading on, this is the story of Aaron Avner, a farmer.

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year, he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.

So is with our lives…Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.


Call it power of collectivity…
Call it a principle of success…
Call it a law of life.


The fact is, none of us truly wins, until we all win!

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