Where’s agriculture’s passion?

By Mike Barnett

It always puzzles me why farmers and ranchers don’t get more incensed about those people who viciously attack what they do. I’m talking the anti-GMO crowd, animal rights activists—those few with loud voices who grab the headlines in newspapers and the internet—who passionately deride modern agriculture as evil and misguided and are finding a growing audience. Where’s agriculture’s passion?

I wonder if it’s because farmers and ranchers think this unpleasant noise is beyond their control. Do you feel like it’s an undercurrent like the weather…it’s either going to rain or not so there’s nothing you can really do about it? Or markets? Prices go up and down and all you can do is anticipate and hope things work out better next year. Are you conditioned to not respond because you feel you can’t change things?

Or is it more of an issue of why worry, it doesn’t affect me…it’s happening somewhere else, not outside my farm gate.

One recent incident gives me hope that farmers and ranchers will find the power of their voice. Remember the proposed child labor rules from the Department of Labor (DOL)? That proposal lit a fire under agriculture. Comments poured into DOL. You actively blogged about it, wrote letters to the editor and flooded Facebook and the internet.

It kicked agriculture out of its lethargy. You may have felt this issue was out of your control, but you attacked anyway. You saw it happening somewhere else but realized how it would affect your farm or ranch.

What’s more personal than reaching out to your customers with the truth about what you do?

The other side is waging a very effective battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. Too often their diatribes are met by silence from our community.

It’s within our power to change the course of this unruly food debate. Discover your voice. Speak with passion. Together, agriculture advocates can accomplish anything.

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 “Where’s agriculture’s passion?”

  1. It’s hard to have passion without the moral high ground. Ethical certainty is what fuels the energy needed to advocate, debate and rebut. In developed worlds, the necessity and justification for violence and killing has to be irrefutable. My guess is that even animal ag knows in their conscience that these “good reasons” for a river of bloodshed – Simply don’t exist.

  2. Mike,

    Could not agree more. I wrote my book “Demystifying Food from Farm to Fork” in an attempt to demonstrate that farming is essential to feeding the world and if tinkered with by “armchair agriculturalists” the consequences may not be pretty.

    You may want to check my blog for my interview with Henny Penny by the Chicken Whisperer. It is a light heareted effort to make the point that free range may not be as much on the minds of laying hens as some might suspect.

    Maurice Hladik

  3. Go Farmers and Ranchers! Let your voices be heard! We, the feed store owners, will assist if you pass the information on to us.

  4. Go Farmers and Ranchers! Let your voices be heard. We, the feed store owners, will support you if you let us know what is happening.

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