Guest blog by: Gene Gregory, President United Egg Producers
I know that many in agriculture have similar thoughts on the attacks upon our businesses and modern agriculture but sometimes I just can’t take anymore of it. Here are some of my thoughts:
I’m 70 years old and grew up on a farm where everything was organic and I sure don’t want to go back to those conditions. We killed our own animals and processed the meat right on the farm. How is that for food safety?
We had a few chickens and didn’t even think of refrigerating our eggs. When they were older we ringed their necks and had them for Sunday dinner. How is that for food safety? Do any of you remember the smoke houses or how we preserved our meat with salt? We milked a few cows and used a cream separator for raw milk to drink and the cream for churning butter. How is that for food safety?
In the 1930s we basically produced only enough to feed our family – now we must produce to feed hundreds of families and yet we are unappreciated.
It is reported that there are 5 million fewer farmers than in the 1930s. Why did the farmer leave the farm? Because he could make more money with far less risk by taking a job in town. He didn’t get driven out by larger farmers – he was driven out because it would not support his family. Farmers had to get bigger if they wanted to fill the market place. As the Wal-Mart’s and McDonalds of the world grew so did their suppliers.
Lower cost of food. Hey we are willing to charge more if you want. This is the marvel of all of agriculture. We use all kinds of means to produce an abundance of affordable, safe food.
Obesity. So we blame it on modern farming and not people’s personal lifestyle of habits. There was a day we did manual labor and didn’t worry about getting fat. Kids played ball, jumped rope and all kinds of exercise. Today they sit in front of a computer playing games and I suppose that is why our fingers don’t get bigger.
In 1960 we spent 18% on food and 5% on health care and now we spend 9% on food and 17% on health care. WOW – Has anybody compared the increased salaries of doctors, etc from 1960 till today? Has anybody compared the costs to spend one night in a hospital to 1960? Maybe doctors and hospitals should have found ways to be more efficient – or maybe they should charge less when the weather is bad or when there is an abundance of sick people. Blaming farmers for increased health care costs – how can it be?
Antibiotic and hormone free. In the egg industry we only use limited antibiotics and only when absolutely necessary and never any hormones and yet we are vilified and tainted as if we are actually using these things.
Like a Monday morning quarterback, it is always easier to tell someone else how to run their business than run your own.
When I think of the dollars farmers are spending to meet government regulations or to meet customer expectations and the programs we have implemented to improve animal welfare, food safety and environment and yet are publicly attacked, it simply throws all these consumer benefits down the drain.
Bottom line – unfortunately many readers of these articles and books that misrepresent modern farming really believe that we are abusing animals, destroying the environment and producing unsafe food. Gets frustrating – doesn’t it.
Until the Next Blog
Posted by FFC on November 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Economics,Education and public awareness,Food safety,Misconceptions,Speaking out
Tags :: agriculture, Consumers, Farmers, food, food safety
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