Several agriculture commodity groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“NCBA”), are joining forces this week in a “food fight” against mainstream media for attacking modern agriculture production. As noted in this blog, I strongly believe that U.S. agriculture should be viewed as part of the food security solution and Americans need to support the people who work hard to grow our food. Leading up to Thanksgiving, we all should “give thanks” to agriculture producers (both big and small scale) who work hard each day to grow cheap, safe, healthy and nutritious food. As an agriculture attorney, I am very pro-farmer and over the next week I will be taking time on this blog thanking some special farmers in my life.
If you already involved with social media, then I encourage you to get involved in this campaign. NCBA’s Young Producers’ Council (“YPC”) invites you to be a guest blogger on Cattle Call this week. I am an editor for the blog so if you would like to be a guest blogger this week, please email me your blog and any jpg’s of photographs that you would like posted to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also give thanks to a farmer this week on NCBA’s website here.
The official hashtag on twitter this week for the campaign is #thankafarmer (not to be confused with @thankafarmer, Kayla Lyon, who is the Director of Government Affairs for the Iowa Institute of Cooperatives). If you are on twitter, you can download the Thank a Farmer twibbon here.
I asked my tweeps what farmer they want to thank. Here are some of the responses that I received:
2. @EllenVictor would like to thank all the farmers who put milk and food on her table;
3. @DairyPrincess would like to thank Carrie Oliver (aka @OliverRanch), Chris Kerston (aka @ChaffinOrchards), Barbarosa Ranchers (aka @BarbarosaRnchrs), and Greg Massa (aka @MassaOrganics) for being great sustainable organic producers;
6. @TCunningham10 can’t fit all of her farmers to thank in 140 characters of less;
7. @KYFarmersMatter also has too many farmers to thank but wants to make a special shout-out to both large and small producers of all different walks of life;
8. @DLayPhoto would like to thank great pork producers who gives him tasty bacon;
9. @OhioHogFarmers also wants to thank all the hog farmers who “feed the world;”
10. @LazyBTrailers would like to give a big Midwestern thank-you to the farmers in Bristolville, Ohio;
14. @YoungWaCattle is thankful for all the families who feed our nation & world, specifically for her rancher father because he was progressive before his time with natural resource management conservation and animal welfare;
15. @JeenaBelil is thankful for the beautiful farms and wineries around North Fork, New York;
16. @FredAbramson is thankful to the farmers in Suffolk County, New York and the farmers who grow his “farm fresh food” in Manhattan;
18. @NateJTaylor wants to “thank all farmers for assuming risk and producing [his] food”– specifically Nate is thankful for Steve Faivre;
19. @DayAngus is thankful for her daughter, who is very passionate about the beef business and Angus cattle;
20. @LegalTypist is thankful for the (few) remaining farmers in Nassau County, New York;
21. @JesssTrout tweeted a big thanks to both her dad (a dairy farmer), her mother (a beef farmer who introduced her to Simmentals and AJSA) and her brother (a dairy farmer and “whatever-his-family-wants-to-grow farmer”);
22. @Farmerspice is thankful for her full set of grandparents who are involved in agriculture;
23. @Dallaslain is thankful for his father who “raises beef cattle and runs a livestock auction in Kearney, NE” because he taught him the value of hard work and a free market;
24. @animalag tweeted thanks to “every farmer (conventional or niche) working to provide quality food while following top animal welfare guidelines;” and
25. @boiler4life is thankful for her brother, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, and great-great grandpa for “putting food on the table for over 120 years!”
I think it’s easy to take our food and fiber system for granted– and it’s particularly easy for those that live in metropolitan areas to really forget about the people who toil the land and work with animals every day of the year. My favorite poem is “Animal Lovers” by Baxter Black, a Cowboy Poet. I love how he points out that livestock producers are the real animal lovers because they get-up early every morning (and sometimes the middle of the night), seven days a week, even on holidays to care for their animals.
Over the last few years, the media has become particularly harsh on farmers and ranchers criticizing their practices. I believe that conversation is a great way to foster improvement but that conversation must start in a place that is appreciative for the work and sacrifice that farmers make for all of us. As a reminder, the first agriculture book club will take place on December 9th at 8pm ET discussing books that criticize modern agriculture practices.
So what farmer do you want to thank this week?