Food production is a “hot topic” in our society, and it seems that everyone has an opinion on how this should be done. Parents are educating themselves before making purchasing decisions for their family; college students are advocating for transparency in their campus dining halls; and, in many cases, health professionals are dispensing food recommendations more than medicine. Everyone is talking about food…yet no one understands the struggle to supply safe, healthy, affordable products better than our American farmers and ranchers. Sadly, in our quest to engage in these food conversations, agriculture has divided ourselves…it’s hard for anyone to distinguish to “The Good Guys” from “The Bad Guys” anymore.
In a typical conversation, The Bad Guys would almost always include words like corporate farms, “big ag”, GMO, antibiotics and pesticides. In contrast, The Good Guys would be local, sustainable, clean, humane, family farms. HSUS, PETA, and Mercy for Animals are used interchangeably…and always in The Bad Guys group while ag commodity organizations, Farm Bureau, and state “experts” are considered credible “Good Guys” in most conversations.
While I understand the need for these defining sides, there are a growing number of producers – like my own family – who don’t fit neatly into either one of these categories. To many people, we are “The Bad Guys” who have befriended leadership within HSUS and are partnering with other producers to bring local production to big markets. However, these very same characteristics endear us as “The Good Guys” to others. We wake up each day knowing there are people actively praying for our demise and who are strategically placing barriers in our path…hoping that our businesses will fail. In contrast, we also start each day knowing there are loyal supporters who have listened to our heart and understand our mission…cheering us on through every obstacle. Thankfully, those supporting words of encouragement and silent moments of prayers drown out the negativity and empower our family to continue this journey…one in which is truly focused on bringing The Good Guys and The Bad Guys into one accord.