- Our farmers are great at what they do. They provide safe, high quality products for your tables and that’s more than a full time job. With this being said though some farmers are actively agvocating on social media or even by speaking with consumers many are so focused on their job that they don’t have time. They keep their head down and work hard so you and I can be fed and clothed and have access to modern conveniences everyday that many don’t realize. We get to tell consumers about what an awesome job they’re doing. This is why we have a job.
- Only two percent of Americans farm which means that while the other ninety eight percent (myself included) may have some understanding of what it means to be agriculturalists they lack experience and practical knowledge that really can seem inaccessible if they don’t know someone who is informed or involved in production agriculture. This is why we have a job.
- With a predicted population of 9 billion by 2050 and land prices at a premium as well as increased urban growth farmers and ranchers must increase yield to accommodate feeding the world. How much food is that? Oh, it’s no big deal. Actually food security is a big issue today and we aren’t even at 9 billion yet and people still go hungry around the world. There’s an increased interest in where consumer’s food comes from due to the foodie movement. As there should be. It’s important the agriculture industry continues to provide products that were raised and grown ethically. How will farmers accommodate the growing demand? Probably through advancements in biotechnology, (we’re still figuring that out.) As more food has to be produced agriculture will have to advance and to explain these new technologies and methods to consumers there will have to be someone. This is why we have a job.
I’d like to leave you with a story. The photos are from lab on a separate day we spent grading beef carcasses rather than hogs but this gives you an idea of what’s typical. In my Animal Science 100 lab two weeks ago we were learning how hog carcasses are evaluated. Our classroom is adjacent to the meat processing lab. Not only do we have the opportunity to enter the cool room with protective gear on and experience evaluating carcasses firsthand but there is also a track system which allows carcasses to be brought into the classroom. There were three carcasses from three different breeds of hogs (a Yorkshire, a Hampshire and a Spot) and the instructor was teasing us asking which breed we thought each carcass belonged too. Of course it’s difficult to evaluate breed without coloring (A Spot has spots of pigmented color and a Hampshire pig has a belt with a lack of pigmentation) and after some processing has occurred as there is no pigment remaining. Seeing that there was no way to evaluate which breed either hog was we reported that there was no way to tell. The instructor joked and asked us why when we had seen them resting in the pens earlier that week we couldn’t evaluate which animal was which.
A girl in my class just about had a coronary. That’s right. Right there in my Animal Science lab her eyes almost popped out of her head swelling to the size of saucers, she became flushed and she raised her voice asking “What?” as her jaw nearly hit the floor. The instructor informed her that yes part of consuming meat was processing the animal. It really bothered her, she even got teary. I introduced the topic of the Humane Slaughter Act to lessen the blow just a bit because for someone who isn’t familiar with this sort of thing I can understand how shocking it might be. Suddenly the girl who was excitedly taking pictures to share on Instagram or somewhere else slumped down in her seat and cradled her head in her hands. She was really bummed out. I felt bad, but this is just another reason why yes, we have a job. We have to have to have a conversation about where and how the products the American public consume come from.
I hope I’ve left you with a sense of the mission I feel we all share as agvocates whether that is exclusively our job or we just do it on the side because we love it as well as a measure of assurance to those considering this field that you are sorely needed.
Thanks for reading!