22 November 2009 - Thanks for Your Interesting Thoughts

I think I could take four or five weeks to share all of the thoughts you sent to me after I asked you to offer your ideas on how agriculture should tell its story. There are a few more I want to share with you this week and I thank all of you again for taking the time to let me hear your ideas.

Rex in Indiana wrote to say "I just graduated from high school this summer. I was lucky enough to be born and raised on a farm and around agriculture. My fellow classmates don't have any idea about agriculture and they should be taught. I know that's what agriculture classes that co-exist with FFA are for but my school doesn't have any of those things. The few of us that are involved in agriculture had to go to another school for those classes. Agriculture should be mandatory for all school kids, if it's at least just one semester in middle or high school, because then the kids would actually gain from the class."

Ron wrote to tell me "We need to fight fire with fire and get the truth out. All the print ads in the media will not help. We need live people telling the truth on TV. My vote would be for Peyton Manning or Brett Favre. It's about the only thing left they don't already endorse. There must be a reason so many companies use them."

Sandy in Ohio wrote "Should we relate the evolution of the confinement aspect of hogs and chickens to our urban folk to help them understand why we have moved them into crates or cages? Urban folks would be appalled to see a sow eat her piglets as fast as she gave birth to them. How would they feel if they watched chickens as they peck one of their own to death then move on to the next lowest in the pecking order. As for a spokesman, wouldn't it be nice to find a dynamic young person as a match for the spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States. He is very good."

Finally, I like this one for its humor but I don't think it will work. From Gerald in Illinois "The Animal Rights people never give up so the rest of the 50 states should, to quote W.C. Fields... ‘Take the bull by the tail and face the situation.' It occurs to me that if we use their logic, that livestock abuse happens and therefore we must ban livestock production, then it seems equally logical that the same logic should be applied to human beings. Since children are abused, we must stop producing children."

Many of you offered similar ideas...get involved with urban civic clubs and urban churches, encourage agribusiness corporations to spend advertising dollars that explain farming and ranching ( ADM and Monsanto are doing that and plan to increase the dollars), establish county and state agricultural speakers bureaus to get real producers in front of urban consumers, and increase financial support for Ag in the Classroom programs. These are all great ideas; just remember they take time, money and commitment on the part of all of us, and right now PETA and HSUS seem to have more of all three of those ingredients than we do.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your ideas and again, providing me with your thoughts on Samuelson Sez.