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5 things ag is doing wrong (and how to correct them)

5 things ag is doing wrong (and how to correct them)

By Mike Barnett

When it comes to new machinery, new cropping methods or new herbicides and pesticides, farmers and ranchers are on top of their game.

No doubt that’s why American agriculture is the most progressive in the world.

Not so much, though, when it comes to communicating. We have work to do. Farmers and ranchers have talked about “educating” the public for all of my 30-year career in Farm Bureau.

Truth. The public doesn’t want to be “educated.” They want answers. To their concerns about food. How you grow it. And what you do to ensure their family’s safety.

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Profit is not a four-letter word

Profit is not a four-letter word

This blog was originally posted on Dec. 10, 2012. 

By Mike Barnett

Your profitability as a farmer or rancher ranks low on the list of concerns of those who consume your products. I call them customers.

I’ve noted this fact in a survey or two and was reminded of it the other day when a Facebook friend posted some tidbits he had read from an article in the excellent publication Livestock Weekly.

According to the article, consumers believe the priorities for those farmers and ranchers who genuinely try to make a living from agriculture should, from first to last, be:

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Let’s have an open dialogue

Let’s have an open dialogue

By Lee and Jennifer Brown

On a recent trip to SeaWorld in San Antonio, my family and I witnessed a display of protest against the company for its practices. Those protestors claimed SeaWorld used practices that are cruel to the animals they house.

But what about all of the animals they save? If they hadn’t been rescued by SeaWorld, they probably wouldn’t have survived in a wild habitat.

A couple of years ago on a Texas Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Fall Tour, we had the opportunity to take a “behind the scenes” tour of the San Antonio facility. We saw the tanks they use for rehabilitation and performance shows. It was pretty amazing.

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In agriculture, labels matter—until they don’t

In agriculture, labels matter—until they don’t

By Gene Hall

In my more cynical moments, I suspect that the great confusion and controversy surrounding agriculture today is on purpose.

In this mindset, I can easily conclude that those organizations that survive by demonizing modern agriculture manipulate the language and the labels to suit their own purposes. In this way, passions are inflamed. Money is raised. A public is misled. Calling you “Big Ag” could mean “Big Bucks” for me even though all I’ve contributed to the debate are a couple of politically charged words.

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Family farmer: Who decides?

Family farmer: Who decides?

By Suzie Wilde

I kiss a family farmer.

Some of the land he farms has been in his family for almost 100 years. He does all the work himself at this point in his farming career, except for harvest time when two or three other folks have to help. Often those are even all family members, including his town-dwelling wife, at times. (I can pack a pretty tight module, if I do say so myself.) But lately I have come to realize that many of those out there who are critics of farming think that the farmer I kiss should not be allowed to be called a family farmer. They think that he has too much land, too many tractors, a barn that is too big… They contend that he is “big ag” or “corporate farming.”

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