I have been reading a lot of agriculture themed blogs and opinion articles this weekend in between trips to Sioux Falls. Some have been quite disturbing in their polarizing views of agriculture as a whole. Basically, their way of farming or their choice of food to purchase is the only “right” way. Really?
I understand the desire to support our methods. After all, shouldn’t we all be proud of what we produce? But why the need to put down or demonize someone else’s methods?
Yes, we are organic farmers. We grow corn, soybeans, barley, wheat, oats, and field peas. The corn gets used for many things, and a good majority of the rest is raised for seed. What doesn’t get used as seed is made into livestock feed. This method of farming works well for us, and we love what we do.
That said, we have many friends and family that raise their crops in a “conventional” or “modern” way. That works for them, and they are just as proud of what they grow as we are. They, too, love what they do. We do not put them down because of their farming methods, and they do not put us down.
Why is it, then, that many who consider themselves mouthpieces for agriculture cannot have the same tolerances? Why must they always pit one group against another? It is troubling to me, really.
We are blessed to live at a time, and in a country, where we have many excellent choices when it comes to food. If someone chooses to buy produce from a farmer’s market, they can. If they prefer to buy their produce from the grocery store, they can. Organic, non-organic, natural, grass-fed, free-range, barn raised, corn fed, whatever you prefer. It is available for you to choose.
I look at it this way. My two sisters and I grew up learning how to cook from our mom and the same Home Economics instructors. We were taught how to make the same things, using the same methods. As we all have established our own homes, we all specialize in different courses. My oldest sister is an excellent bread baker. We request that she brings bread items along whenever we have a family gathering. Middle sister is very creative, and finds the best salad and vegetable recipes. She is pretty fearless when it comes to trying different food pairings. We always request side dishes from her. Mom is the expert pie baker. I don’t think I have ever seen her measure the ingredients for her pie crust – and it turns out perfect every time. Her lemon meringue pie is awesome! I like to bake cookies and make lefse, especially for Christmas. I have my favorites, and take requests from family members before we all get together for the Holidays. All of us like to prepare the main meat course, whether it is a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, or shredded pork barbecues for summer gatherings. When you put all of our talents together, we have a complete meal.
To me, agriculture is the same way. We each have a way of farming that suits us. When we put all of the things we raise together, we have a complete agriculture “meal”.
I think it is time we stop drawing lines, and celebrate the differences we all bring to the table.
Almost time to stock up ingredients for my most requested cookie: