Texas Farm BureauBy Mike Barnett

I call it the great divide in agriculture.

I’m speaking of the differences in the many methods of farming and ranching and how each method has been pitted against the other.

For example, grass fed versus grain fed beef.  It’s been ugly over the years as the merits have been debated on why one is better than the other.

Or look at the ongoing feud between organic and traditional agriculture, and/or “local” versus “industrial” agriculture. My blogging partner Gene Hall and I have been labeled as organiphobes by various individuals because of some of the posts we’ve written. We’re by no means anti-organic. Many Texas Farm Bureau members are organic farmers and we applaud their industry. Mostly we’re defending attacks against what I fondly and repeatedly call the modern miracle of agriculture.

And the attacks are many. Much of the uproar comes from outside of our industry, by those who have the Michael Pollan view of food. I’m talking of those who maintain traditional agriculture is evil and killing our environment. It’s nice to advocate what you believe. I begrudge no one for that. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with them or them with me.

What bothers me is when agriculture producers attack each other. It’s okay to promote the benefits of your way of farming. It goes too far, however, when one segment of agriculture promotes itself by deriding another. The stones being thrown within agriculture do our industry no good.

Many people are inspired by the food they eat. There are many who get incensed if you don’t eat the way they think you should. Many farmers and ranchers are inspired by the methods they use to grow food. Many farmers and ranchers are quick to tell the world their brethren are doing it wrong.

That persnickety insistence that only “my way is right” has to stop. We’re in the business of growing food, fiber and fuel. We’re in the business of putting seed in the ground to nurture to harvest. We’re in the business of animal husbandry for the end result of food on the plate.

There are plenty of people in this world who have a lot of different ideas about how they should eat. That spells opportunity for all of us to meet those needs using the methods that suit us best. And make money doing it. There’s enough agitation from outside agriculture to keep us all busy. It’s time for the sniping and backbiting within to end.

Fight the good fight, my farmer and rancher friends. Just not with each other.

Visit the Texas Farm Bureau website at www.txfb.org.
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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.
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One Response to “Farmers, fight the good fight…just not with each other!”

  1. Good story. Year after year, agriculture rises to meet the daily challenges of farming. And year after year these same farmers provide the world with safe, affordable, wholesome food. In many cases stubbornness alone is preventing us from developing a consensus on topics and then moving on to the next issue.
    Our industry would have greater success against our true antagonists if the crop farmer could get along with the animal producer and the organic farmer could speak with the conventional producer. We are all in agriculture. This is not meant to promote a Utopian society but rather a commitment to listen to one another.

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