Listen to this while you read…

Farmers are in a boxing match right now. It’s becoming more of an us vs them atmosphere all the time.

In one corner, you have an organic farmer. In the other corner, you have a conventional farmer.

They meet in the middle, the ref gives the usual preliminary instructions, then the bell sounds.

Uppercut: Monsanto is evil

Left hook: Organic foods are no better than conventional. You don’t know the science.

The fight goes on until someone ends up on the canvas.  Half of the crowd goes home elated that “they” won. The other half goes home feeling dejected.

So, who exactly is in this audience? Farmers, consumers, HSUS, PeTA, Sierra Club? Who is on the floor betting against this fight? Who is the bookie? The Environmental Working Group?

At the end of the day, who really won the match of farmer vs farmer?  While one farmer may have ended up on the canvas, did the other one really go home unscathed? I don’t think so. The real winner in the fight is the anti-agriculture groups who are raking in big bucks, and profiting from our unwillingness to join the same team.

We have been so busy lately fighting one another that we haven’t noticed the anti’s quietly taking bets on who is going to survive.  We really need to be on the same team here. Farmer vs Anti Ag should be the fight we are training for.

We all bring different things to the team. When you are training for a competition, you need cross training to enable your body to function at a higher level. When you are sparring to prepare for a bout, you need different sparring partners who throw different combinations of punches to keep you from getting too comfortable in your ways. In agriculture, the cross training is attending sessions about the newest research that will help you manage your farm to its highest potential. The sparring partners are the conversations we have with each other, and with those who use different methods. These interactions help to keep us on our toes, while at the same time hone our skills so we can be in the best shape possible. We can, and should, learn from each other.

At the end of the match, all farmers want agriculture to be the one standing with its arm raised in victory.

Author: Carolyn Olson

I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. In 1988, I married my best friend, and moved to the farm. Jonathan and I have three daughters, and will soon have a son-in-law! I love life on the farm, and wouldn't trade it for anything!

0 thoughts on “Versus”

      1. I think your thoughts are very thoughtful and capture the current situation. Thank you! I too believe we spend way too much time beating eachother up. To me, its about choices. Organic farmers offer choice for some consumers and in turn gain a differnt business model for their family goals and philosophies.

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