Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Farmers and Ranchers: Our own worst enemy

Dear leaders of the farming and ranching community along with “Agvocates”,

Monday was a good day. Rice harvest finished up and I decided to fulfill my civic duty as a pillar of the agriculture community and took part in a discussion at Chico State titled “The Future of the Farm”. The topic to be debated was “Can meat and dairy be produced “sustainably” to feed the planet?” If you’re asking yourself, “He went to a discussion most likely filled with Obama votes, Birkenstocks, a lack of general hygiene and folks who have never seen a farm other than Michael Pollan’s utopia of what the food system should look like?!?” Yes, I did, but being this is the first one of these I have attend in some time I made sure I had the natural Xanax of two beers and a shot in me to refrain from any Tourette moments I am prone to when participating in something I am passionate about (Did not want to disappoint ya’ll). The two person panel chosen to debate the topic consisted of David Simon, a lawyer from Southern California who is the general council of a healthcare company and is the author of the book “Meatonomics”. These credentials obviously makes him a foremost expert on farming, ranching and production agriculture. Megan Brown, cattle rancher and world renowned agriculture and food blogger occupied the chair next to Mr. Simon. This debate played out like most when you pit two ideological views against each other. Mr. Simon started the discussion in textbook fashion with pictures of animal cruelty at “factory farms” and facts taking out of content and blaming subsidies and “corporate farms” with what is wrong with agriculture before comparing the chicken and beef industry to the tobacco industry and then ending with all meats should be taxed as if it was a pack of cigarettes. Once again this guy is an expert on agriculture. Ms. Brown’s rebuttal was informative and was presented in a way that even the people who don’t agree with the consumption of meat products were able to be bipartisan towards a view not of their own. One statement Megan made that stood out among all others to me was; “We are our own worst enemy” when it came to describing the lack of communication the agriculture industry has with the public. I’ll get back to this statement in a moment. What concerned me with this discussion was not only the lack of attendance by members of the agricultural community but also by the lack of participation by the so called “leaders” of my industry. Faculty, students, local Ag organizations, etc. were presented with the opportunity to be a part of the discussion yet according to the mediator declined. If this is true, I’m not only dissatisfied by the institution that I proudly call my alma mater, it reiterates the previous mentioned fact that agriculture is its own worst enemy. As my blog has progressed and I look to ways to increase my reach to others, “experts” concerning social media have told me that I need to stick with one genera when it comes to my topics of discussion, meaning that I write about the trials and tribulation of farming. While I truly enjoy covering this topic both in print and pictures it does not help the bigger cause of getting our message out to others. The agricultural industry will never progress if it continues to preach to its own concerning topics of importance to the rest of society. Agriculture needs more people like Megan Brown who tackle issues that our out of our comfort zone and less cowboy hats and dirty boots sitting in the coffee shop solving the world’s problems one cup at a time….

PS. Happy hump day peeps and please forgive me for the harvest sabbatical. Have a great one and remember….A burrito is just a sleeping bag for some tasty meat.

#Beefjar #agvocates #Davidsimon #chicostateag #empireliving


  1. I wholeheartedly agree!
    It's so hard to get out of our comfort zone, but every single conversation has the potential to change minds...and lives.