30 August 2009 - TIME Magazine, It's Time You Get Real on Facts!

Please, I need your help. Will someone call my doctor and have him quadruple my blood pressure medicine because I have just read the cover story in the current issue of Time Magazine, entitled "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food". If you are a livestock producer, I would guess this one will put you through the roof as well. It is a lengthy story, filled with mis-information and thoughts and ideas based on emotion, not science or fact.

The whole tone of the story written by Bryan Walsh is set in the first paragraph, and let me quote it as written.......

"Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packaged in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around".

That's the first paragraph and the story goes on for pages, telling you, if you are a rancher or farmer, what a terrible person you are, because you are out there trying to feed people in a hungry world. Mr. Walsh ignores the fact that food producers do more for conservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat than he and his New York City neighbors will do in their lifetime. He also ignores the fact that life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all-time high of 77.9 years. This is one more example of why American agriculture, especially the livestock industry, needs to be out there telling the true story of what it takes to put food on the table.

This is why we need programs like Ag In the Classroom, to counteract with science, the emotion and lack of facts in stories like this. TIME magazine entitled its story "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food". My response to Time...It's time you get real about the FACTS!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.