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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Food choices: Have we made it into an argument?

Yes, I would have to agree that in the effort to set the story straight, some tend to make an argument over the safety of our food supply. These people may have the right mindset that they want to defend their method of production, but there are all too many people out there looking to pick a fight over the issues. An aticle in the LA Times, "The Facts About Food and Farming", takes a fair look at the way we are approaching these topics, and how we discuss them with others.

The author presents 12 ground rules that we should pay attention to in our discussions. Here is the first:
* Agriculture is a business. Farming without a financial motive is gardening. I use that line a lot when I'm giving talks, and it always gets a laugh. But it's deadly serious. Not only do farmers have expenses to meet just like any other business, but they also need to be rewarded when they do good work. Any plan that places further demands on farmers without an offsetting profit incentive is doomed to fail.

After reading the article, I hope you take a few of the "ground rules" into consideration with your future conversations about our food production and supply.

Being a student at Oklahoma State, where the largest college on campus happens to be Ag and the largest department is Animal Science, doesn't specifically mean that everyone has a clear view of agriculture. I often have conversations over lunch with friends that have questions about food. I often get a weird look when I tell them that I choose not to eat products marketed as "organic" or "natural". This include the restaurant chain Chipotle and the organic/natural options on campus. I don't have a problem with organic/natural products, but just as I tell them, I believe in the safety of conventional production practices and choose to support them. If you want to choose organic/natural products, I'm not going to stop you, but please do not do it from a fear of safety of conventional production practices.

This is an example of where I have a discussion about production practices with friends, in a civil manner. Do you have conversations with others about conventional vs organic/natural, quality vs quantity, or vegan/vegetarian options vs conventional? Tell me about your experiences.

(Sorry if this is not written the best, I am still on some pain meds from having my wisdom teeth out, but felt it important to share these thought.) Have a Great day!