Texas Farm Bureau: What would happen if farmers could choose who they feed?

By Mike Barnett
What would happen if farmers could choose who they feed? Would our society look at farmers differently?

Those questions were posed the other day on Facebook by Chris Chinn. An interesting challenge…and this young lady who raises hogs with her family in Missouri received some interesting responses.

So be honest. What’s the first thing that popped in your mind?

My first thought—like many who responded to Chris’s question—was the people I wouldn’t feed. You know, like the food crazies who 1) want to dictate what you eat; 2) find fault with every aspect of modern agriculture; 3) who want to legislate livestock agriculture out of business; 4) all of the above; 5) all of the above and more.

I pick No. 5. Just desserts, I say.

Only Chris has a much more charitable side.

“I would elect to not feed the activists who want to run agriculture out of the U.S by banning modern ag practices which protect our food supply and the environment…,” she wrote. “I would give their food to the hungry.”

A common thread ran longer.

“Funny that I thought of who I’d choose NOT to feed first…those wacky activists…and then I thought of all those innocent hungry people worldwide, second…I think I need to do some praying about that,” added one responder.

I need some spiritual guidance, too. There’s a lot of hunger, pain and suffering in the world. There are hungry people in our country. I should have thought of them first.

Then there’s the thought that we ransom appreciation.

“Maybe the unappreciative would understand the long hours, hard work and dedication we put into our operations/livelihoods,” wrote another Facebook responder.

I had fun fantasizing other possibilities.

• “Want to start a war? No food for you!”

• “Try knocking beef again, Oprah. We’ll put you on a diet!”

• “Hey newscaster: Want to eat? Call it H1N1!”

• “I’ll trade you a loaf of bread for a barrel of oil.”

Okay, back to reality.

The verity, I think, lies in the nature of those who make their living from the land. A fellow named Glenn Brunkow summed it up best.

“The truth of the matter is, as farmers and ranchers, we are too ethical to deprive another of food,” he wrote. “My guess is that even though now we say we may pick and choose, the reality is that we would treat everyone fairly. I just wish the activists had a hint of the ethics those of us in agriculture have.”

Thanks, Glenn, for that great response. And thanks, too, Chris, for asking questions that make us all think.


Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

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