If most of you have not figured out by now, I live and breath American agriculture. But it was not always so. I used to be one of those people who thought that organic was the way to go, that GMO’s were bad, and that farms in America were “factory farms”. Then I was blessed to marry a sixth generation farmer. My husband’s family have lived and worked the same land for over 150 years. And by loving him, meeting farmers, and opening my mind – I have learned that you cannot believe everything you see on TV or read on the internet.
Here are a few things I have learned the hard way. For as long as human beings have been growing crops, we have been genetically modifying them. Just look at what we call a carrot verses what a carrot used to be. Ask anyone who had taken basic genetics about Mendel and his Pea crosses. The fact is we need to modify foods to make them grow in different environments, grow disease resistant, etc. So, as a physician, with friends in the GMO business – no I am not afraid of GMO crops at all. Matter of fact, I realize that to feed our growing population we need GMO crops with genetics like drought resistance, roundup resistance, and insect resistance.
As to my organic kick, my husband patiently waited for me to grow up about this too. If you can afford organically for your family and that is your choice, great, but I don’t think you should feel bad if you choose traditional agriculture products. American agriculture produces the safest food supply on the planet.
Now, to the factory farm myth. Less than 2% of American Family’s farm today, and the average American is 4-5 generations removed from the family farm. Over 95% of all farms in America are family owned operations. So, having traveled in many states, meeting many different producers, I have yet to meet a “factory farmer”. I have met many men and women dedicated to their land and animals. Raising food and grain that the eat themselves and feed their children.
It’s easy to sell fear and that is what a lot of people and groups love to do in this country. People like HSUS and PETA would like you to think that all farmers and ranchers keep their animals in terrible conditions. But the truth is far from that. Yes, there are bad apples in every job, but there are so many good men and women in agriculture trying desperately to keep their traditions and dreams alive.
So, I have done a complete 180 in my thoughts and spend my time talking, blogging, emailing legislators, tweeting about agriculture to engage/educate/and open a conversation with people who are the person I used to be. I want desperately to preserve this way of life.
I know there are those who will disagree but let’s talk, let me explain my views, and you can share yours for only thru discourse can we understand each other.
But without the American Farmer there is no food for our tables.