Silence of the land

By Mike Barnett

I wonder about the silence of the land.

You have a good business plan. You know your costs to the penny. You work long hours. You figure your inputs for maximum profits. You love your job. You would not trade your way of life for no other.

Yet you let someone else shape opinions about what you do.

You invest wisely in the latest seed technology. You’re mum when food produced by genetically engineered plants is attacked.

You buy the best bull you can afford to improve your herd to produce bigger and better calves. You remain silent when animal activists slander your animal husbandry practices.

You improve your land and conserve your soil and judiciously use crop protectants to ensure clean water and safe food. Then you let someone else talk about what a bad job you are doing.

There’s something very wrong with this picture.

Would industrial agriculture, factory farms and animal welfare be consumer concerns if you had spoken up in the past about what you do?

Consumers are hungry for knowledge about food. They want to know how it is produced. They want to know that it is safe. They want to know who grows it. And they want to hear it from you.

It can be as easy as starting a Facebook page and sharing your experiences. It can be as involved as inviting a classroom to visit your farm or ranch. It can be as simple as looking a neighbor in the eye and telling them what you do.

Speak up. Be an advocate for agriculture. Continuing the silence of the land will be a game changer for farmers and ranchers–a change I guarantee won’t be good.


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.

4 Responses to “Silence of the land”

  1. Actually i disagree with you to a point. I think there are a lot us that spend a fair amount of time educating the general eaters out there, and are happy to do it. I also think there are a lot of informed eaters out there seeking the answers and the farmers they agree with production practices. And yes, there are some seriously misinformed vocal folks too. More food growing near more people-this is one step toward a solution. Thanks for the post and generating the discussion.

  2. YES. This is so right. I’ve been working in Washington with an outside group for almost a year now. Though Ag issues are not our top issues, I talk a lot about where I come from and have been saddened by the blatant disregard for and ignorance toward the American farmer/rancher that seems to be so prevalent among those who have never darkened the gate of a farm or a ranch. It’s YOU that the nation needs to hear from… not some bureaucrat or political pundit.

  3. Far be it from me to jump in this discussion without the advantage of the 5 second rule… but farming and ranching is one of the most honorable professions. Hard work, honesty, integrity, farming and ranching all go hand in hand.

    You are right, the consumers need to be on on the side of the ag producers. I like from the State of Texas. I also have found a blog at this young man shows a fine example of promoting agriculture. I don’t think Washington is the place to start, but, maybe the place to end.

  4. Mike Barnett says:

    Rhonda and GWright, most every farmer and rancher I meet is passionate about what they do. If they would spend a small portion of that passion talking about what they do, many of the myths and misconceptions about agriculture would disappear. Mike

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