Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Food Day – Celebration of Food or Assault on Modern Agriculture?

Yesterday was national Food Day. I read several blogs, tweets and Facebook posts from farmers sharing their thoughts. Comments ranged from every day is Food Day on the farm to posts about being proud to produce quality products that feed the world. Some wrote about how today’s modern farming practices allow us to produce more food using less land and natural resources or why it’s important to sustain the productivity of the land. Some explained the reasons they love their animals, being farmers and living in rural America. All great stories to tell.

Jack and Lad talk while a cow licks her newborn twins
I also saw articles associated with Food Day promoting a plant-based diet and “reforming” the modern food system. Statements on the Food Day website revealed an anti-agriculture agenda claiming farmers are growing unhealthy food which is causing a variety of health problems, treat their animals and workers inhumanely and are polluting the environment. It seems to me the sponsors would like Americans to believe “big ag” and so-called “factory farms” are the enemy and the solution is “reforming” all farms that are not “small or mid-size”.  

Are we all celebrating the same Food Day?

I think we can agree on some basic ideas; we all want safe & healthy food, sustainable farms, to alleviate hunger, protect land and animals, and support fair working conditions.  

Jack and Garrett love visiting the calves
It’s important to remember 98% of U.S. farms are owned by individuals and families. These are family farms of all shapes, sizes and production methods. We should celebrate the diversity of U.S. agriculture by embracing all types of farms that employ a variety of farming practices, including conventional and organic. Not tearing down one production method and putting another on a pedestal. The diversity we enjoy gives consumers a multitude of choices in the grocery store. That’s a good thing.

What I ask of you as a consumer is to use common sense. Have a mind of our own. Don’t allow groups to make you feel guilty for purchasing products you enjoy that are a part of your family’s healthy diet. When I read or hear something, I seek the motivation of the person or group behind the message. Many groups aim to stir up controversy to further their agenda. Their true goals are often hidden behind neatly packaged sound bites.

It’s important to have conversations about food and farming. Here are some great resources to find information and dialogue about food:
Lad driving a hayride tour of our farm - visitors can see where milk is produced
Here are links to blogs I’ve written in the past that pertain to topics featured on the Food Day website: 
My wish is to see farms and farmers embraced and supported today as they were in the past. The same values of caring for land and animals still exist, but the look of the family farm and the production methods have changed for the better.

At the end of the day, you must make your own choices and take responsibility for them. Join me in celebrating the variety of food choices we are so fortunate to enjoy in our nation.

3 comments:

  1. You keep claiming that dairy and meat is part of a healthy diet, but with all due respect, I don't think a degree in Agricultue Business qualifies you to make any such claims. That discussion should be left to physicians and clinical researchers. What you are doing on this blog is no different from what you claim the supposedly anti-agriculture groups are doing.

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  2. I believe the dialogue about food and nutrition should be engaged in by food producers, dietitians, nutrition experts, physicians, chefs, the food service industry, government officials, mothers and anyone who has an interest in a healthy diet. We should all have the right to research the facts and come to our own conclusions regarding what we want to eat and feed our family.

    I am confident to point out there are many positive nutritional attributes of dairy products. Research supports disease prevention and health promotion from vitamin D, calcium, protein, probiotics, whey and the overall package of nutrients that milk provides. The 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 3 servings of dairy daily and increasing our vitamin D intake. Experts, including numerous physicians, dietitians, government officials and others, consistently recommended Americans consume three servings of dairy each day as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. In fact, chocolate milk is the official beverage of the Ohio High School Athletic Association because nutrient-rich chocolate milk provides the energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to support strong bones and bodies. Milk and meat are part of a healthy diet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice Blog ! Thank you for your very nice articles. If you want to learn more about modern farming then visit my farming blog. I look forward to visiting your site in the future!
    Thanks!!!!!!!
    Methods of Modern Farming

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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