Shame on you agriculture!! That’s right, shame on you. Now, I’m not talking about all of us but a few of my brothers and sisters who are directly involved in production agriculture have lost sight of the big picture. They have failed to look past their own gate and see what every city, state and nation is going through right now and are only thinking about themselves. To a few, it’s all about me, me, me right now. We are currently dealing with the worst pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak and all that some in agriculture want to talk about is “Thank Me”, “Appreciate Me”, “I provide you with your food”, etc. Just stop!!
This is not a new concept. The “Thank a Farmer” campaign has been around for a number of years. Starting as a simple gesture to bridge the gap between production agriculture and a consumer who is now 3 generations removed from production agriculture on average, many in agriculture have felt abandoned as consumers tend to take for granted an abundant and safe food supply. The current situation is an example of why All Of Agriculture is important.
So, I’m going to say something to a few of you involved in agriculture right now that you don’t want to hear. You as an individual don’t matter!! It’s about an industry as a whole. You don’t feed anybody, we together feed approximately 155 individuals everyday. Don’t believe me? Think about this, if you went out of business today, would 155 people go hungry? No. A few producers, like myself, do sell directly to consumers and have a direct relationship with customers but most of production agriculture does not. Agriculture is wayyy more than just you and me. The Secretary of Agriculture, Mr Sonny Perdue nailed it in a recent video he released thanking all of agriculture. If you haven’t watched it, I urge you to watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=PTjMAfUmICc&feature=emb_logo
My farming and ranching friends, what about all of those grocery store workers right now who are working double shifts, putting themselves in direct contact with possibly becoming infected with this nasty virus and getting chewed out by every patron because they don’t have something on the shelves? What about the food inspectors who continue to inspect every item before it goes out the door to make sure it’s safe to eat while distributors are screaming we need it now, right now? What about the trucking companies who can’t get them loaded fast enough and drive night & day to get those perishable items to the shelves for every American? What about the food processors who’ve now added a triple shift to keep the bread ovens running non-stop and beg employees to work another shift to help feed America. What about the cafeteria workers at every hospital and nursing home who keep 3 meals a day headed out of the kitchen knowing they’re dealing with the most vulnerable patient population? What about all those waitresses, cooks and bartenders at every restaurant in America who now stay home, because they’ve been shut down and pray everyday that they’ll start back to work very soon. Production agriculture is just a very small piece of this industry that must work like a highly precise piece of equipment and you can’t have one without the other.
So when I see my fellow cattlemen talking about not selling livestock for 3 weeks to put a strain on the food supply, require buyers to pay more and make people have a better appreciation for what they do, angers me like no other. That’s just pure arrogance, selfishness and stupidity!! I’ve even seen some increase their prices just to make a quick buck. I say again, Shame On Us!! We’re better than this.
I grant that something needs to be done about the current price structure for agriculture but now is not the time. For an operation to be sustainable, it must also be profitable and the only way to keep small family operations around is to keep them profitable. Now is not the time to demand those changes though while putting our consumers in the middle of this backyard brawl my friends.
On the flip side, I’ve seen people helping neighbors. I’ve witnessed some in agriculture emptying their own freezers to donate to various non-profits and children organizations. I’ve seen nurses and health care workers stay at work for days on end so not to possibly infect their own families. I’ve seen families and neighborhoods become united and stronger. I’ve truly witnessed one of my 3 pillars of moral code in “service before self”. To all of you, I say Thank You.
These are difficult times for everyone right now, not just agriculture. So how about we all continue to work together for the greater good and not worry about who the hero is. I thank all of you, not just those braving the elements day and night to produce our food. To all the heroes out there right now, Thank You! Stay safe, wash your hands, pray and now more than ever make sure you tell someone I love you today. See you back on Thursday, my regularly scheduled day. MB