I enjoyed reading Michele Payn-Knoper’s book “No More Food Fights!” from both the Farm Side and Food Side on the subway this past month. Michele does a nice job shaping both sides of the grocery isle in hopes of making peace on the subject near and dear to our hearts – food. I recommend getting your own copy. It’s a quick read and reasonably priced.
I recently stated the following in this interview :
What do you feel are the biggest issues facing animal agriculture today?
I have concerns right now with how segmented the industry is becoming. It feels like the industry is divided into Big Ag vs. Small Ag, Organic vs. Non-organic, the Show Industry vs. Commercial Livestock Production. We need all kinds of agriculture to feed a growing world population. We all need to be on Team Agriculture – whether you grow produce on a rooftop in Brooklyn, sell homemade jellies and vegetables at your local farmers’ market, produce nationally competitive show heifers, or run a feedlot in Kansas.
How can people address those issues on a daily basis?
We need to stop criticizing one another and realize that we each play a valuable role in the industry.
What new opportunities do you see for young people interested in the livestock business?
Two-thirds of the earth’s land mass is not farmable. Ruminant species like cattle, goats and sheep can graze fescue on these lands and convert it to human energy. I believe that the livestock industry has a key role in food security efforts around the globe.
Over the last few months, not a week has gone by where I didn’t hear a consumer bashing Big Ag or the agriculture community bashing another segment of the industry. It’s all around us. Food has become divisive, and it shouldn’t be. If we all really believe that the goal is global food security, then let’s all work together for a global food system to reach that goal. I dislike listening to agriculture producers complain about organic agriculture as much as I dislike listening to people paint Monsanto as all things evil.
We all need to spend more time listening to one another within the agriculture community. A wise man once said that “[w]e have two ears and one tongue so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
If the agriculture industry is pitted against one another, we all lose. We are all on Team Agriculture. And that’s my $0.02.
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