Over the years of writing this column and airing a commentary on Brownfield Ag News Radio Network, I have received many kind notes from readers and listeners. I have also received as many notes from those who disagree or are offended by my opinions. I am amazed by the number of people who accuse me of kowtowing to multinational corporations or “big ag.”
There are a few readers and listeners who would side with anti-agriculture groups such as PETA before “giving in” to corporate agriculture. I’m not exactly sure what “giving in” to corporate agriculture means, but I do know that PETA wants you to be a vegetarian. Call me crazy, but it makes no sense to me why a farmer who raises meat animals would hitch his or her wagon to a group whose goal is to keep people from eating the meat from the livestock said farmer is raising.
One reader accused me of being closed minded. Another said he eats rather well when with his vegetarian friends. (Great, so do I!) Yet another said she’d rather side with the animal rights groups than those big corporate farms that are “stinking” up the countryside.
Let me set the record straight here. I am not asking you to “give in” to corporate anything. I’m asking you to stop and think for one minute. I am sorry that your friends, your neighbors, your father, uncle, grandparents and father-in-law had to sell their farms. I wish all children today could grow up like I did with two parents working at home on the farm raising hogs, cattle, corn, soybeans, wheat, milo and hay. I am sorry, but that is not a reality for many family farms today.
Chances are your friends, neighbors, father, uncle, grandparents and father-in-law worked hard, loved the land and their livestock and took good care of their equipment. Chances are they were smart, business savvy and maybe even pillars in their community.
Maybe “corporate agriculture” is at the root of their decline, but how is teaming up with people who believe it is wrong to own livestock or harvest beef, pork or goat meat from a meat animal going to have any positive outcome whatsoever?
One reader wrote to me, “We should maybe examine who our ‘friends’ in agriculture really are.” (He was suggesting that corporate agriculture is not a friend to the “small” farmer.)
Is corporate agriculture unfair competition? Are mega-farms running small, family farmers growing number 2 yellow corn and soybeans out of business? Has contract finishing of hogs and turkeys changed the face of animal agriculture in America?
It does not matter how you answer those questions. The bottom line is that anti-agriculture groups are working against you. They are working against corporate agriculture. They are working against 4-H and FFA, Farmers Union and Farm Bureau. They are working against Brownfield Network and Illinois AgriNews and American Corn Growers and National Corn Growers and meat-eating Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Libertarians and Green Party candidates.
Wake up, people.