This little girl...

This little girl was raised by a farming family. A family that was dedicated to feeding the world. A family that never stopped working (or stressing about the weather). She grew up watching her dad, grandpa, and uncle farm almost 365 days of the year. They woke up in the middle of the night to check on their cows/sheep/chickens, put in long hours in the combine, spent countless hours fixing fence and repairing machinery, paid for appropriate treatment when their animals were sick — but never really complained. They’ve been through hardships but they always kept going. When the drought hit, they cut out the luxuries to make sure they could afford feed. When the borders closed because of BSE and cattle were worthless, they stuck it out even though they were losing money. But, she always knew where her food came from because thats how she was raised. This little girl seemed to complain because weekends were never relaxing like other kids and always involved working on the farm.

This little girl was me.

It’s amazing how your perspective changes as you age and how you develop a better understanding of why things were the way they were.

Fast forward 22 years, and I have a such an appreciation for how I was raised and just how lucky I was to be able to see my food go farm to table. This is not the norm in this day and age. I believe we need to continue to work towards educating society about where their food comes from at an early age.

Over the past few decades farming has changed drastically. Red barns, old farmhouses, and pasture grazed animals paint a picture that represents a much simpler time.

Now, farming has been transformed into a modern business that employs millions and produces products that are based on consumer demand. On one hand, the modernization of agriculture has had many positive effects as it has increased the efficiency of producing products and minimized multiple farm related risks. We have also seen significant costs with this modernization - it has changed the way a portion of society believes animals should be raised, contributes to groundwater contamination, decreases numbers of family farms, etc.

As consumers, we demand food that is cheap, safe, and tastes good, and I believe producers have done an outstanding job producing these products. However, as an industry we need to do a better job addressing societies questions and providing accurate information on why animals are raised a certain way. We need to emphasize animal welfare as a key component to successful, sustainable agriculture.

This is not only in the hands of farmers but consumers need to keep an open mind to understand agricultural practices too. As consumers, we need to do our research (and, please, not on Facebook). Read up on the guidelines for ‘organic’ farms; be able to explain what ‘gluten’ is; understand why ‘GMOs’ crops are made; distinguish the difference between ‘free run’, ‘cage-free’, and/or ‘enriched caged’ egg layer productions; explore the research behind ‘grass fed’ vs ‘grain fed’ beef; etc.

As farmers, we want you to ask questions! We are happy to answer.

#Agcanada #agriculture #agricultureUSA #feedtheworld

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