I've had it.
I'm fed up.
I am sick and tired.
And if you don't like it - find something else to eat. What am I talking about? The recent attacks on production agriculture. From Food, Inc., The Omnivore's Dilemma, and most recently the Time Magazine Article about "the high price of cheap food". After hearing Anne Burkholder's (a feedlot manager/owner from Cozad, NE) story I've reached my limit. I'm so tired of agriculture telling their story and then the mass media failing to not relay that same story. But twisting what they have been told into their version of the truth.
I love the fact that Bryan Walsh of Time Magazine spent hours interviewing people involved in production agriculture to only use one quote. And a quote that was misrepresented at that. I'd love for Bryan Walsh to come out to our farm. Let's talk. Let me take you on a tour of our facilities as well as my listeners farms. Talk to them. Sit down at their dinner table and have a real conversation about the farmer's struggles, their love of an industry, how technologies are improving to produce more with less, etc. (Should I continue to list how farmers are continuing to better the world?) But why don't you tell their real story? The story they love to tell. How about the story of how two percent of the worlds population feeds the remaining ninety-eight percent. Not to mention they do it on less ground, fighting things they have no control over - like weather. No one is perfect - nor do we expect them to be. People make mistakes - there is the occasional "bad seed". But, farmers are a master of their trade. Let them do their job to the best of their ability.
My favorite part of Walsh's article? He refers to Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser as investigative journalist who are "awakening a sleeping public to the uncomfortable realities of how we eat". I wouldn't call that awakening - I'd call that instilling fear into a society that is becoming further and further removed from the farm and has no grasp nor desire to learn the realities that go along with farming and how their food gets from the field to the fork.
I'll admit - I didn't want to see Food, Inc. I knew I'd get all out of sorts not only watching the movie but from the comments that would undoubtedly come from the peanut gallery. That's why I refused to drive to Chicago to see it. I figured if it came to Peoria - I'd go see it. It did. I kept up my end of the bargain. To my surprise I wasn't as "upset" as I thought I would be. I was more in shock of what I saw. I spent the majority of my time shaking my head in disbelief. I had to pry my eyes from the back of my head from several parts. I actually laughed out loud at a few things. It wasn't a heartless laugh... It was a more "wtf" kind of chuckle. Well, except when the chicken farmer pulled up to the farm and says "smells like money" when he gets a whiff of the stench of the manure. That statement brought back memories of my childhood - when I'd complain that we lived downwind from the farm "Meghan, That's the Smell of Money" my dad would say. (If only that was the case today).
My point of all of this? I love seeing Agriculture standing up for themselves. There is no rolling with the punches anymore. We're moving into a time where we have to be heard. Thank you to people like Anne Burkholder, Blake Hurst who wrote The Omnivore's Delusion, The National Cattleman's Beef Association, The American Farm Bureau Federation, all of those involved in all aspects of agriculture using tools like social media to educate the consumers.
Say what you have to say loudly.
Say it proudly.