Friday, August 28, 2009

Time Magazine is Wrong

This week, Time Magazine is running an article that is blatantly wrong about American agriculture. In the article "America's Food Crisis and How to Fix it". The author states that we are pollutants of the environment and that we are factory farms that are pushing government subsidized crops down the throats of our over medicated animals.

I think he is dead wrong. We in America, have the safest and most affordable food supply. We have so many regulations that when we do use pesticides and fertilizers we have to fill out paperwork. How many times has the average joe had to fill out paperwork to get a weed out of his yard with the weed killer he picked up at the Home Depot or local garden center. The regulations that American farmers and ranchers use in growing the food and fiber that the average joe eats and wears is by far more than any other country in the world. The American farmer can now feed 143 people and in 1940 it was only 19. In the last 40 years, the price that the farmers and ranchers have received has been declining. Just because a person pays $12.00 for steaks at the store does not mean that the rancher received $12.00. In fact farmers and ranchers make about 19 cents from every dollar spent on food. This means that farmers in the US need to be larger and more efficient to provide the public with the safe and affordable food or they will go out of business. We complain about our gas prices and being dependant on another country for our energy. Can you imagine what we would pay if we were dependant on another country for our food?

Today's agriculture isn't what it was even 20 years ago. You will find family farms and ranches that are large and incorporated- in essence they are the factory farms that people complain about. The way farmers and ranchers operate are economically viable to survive but they are also ethical, scientific and environmentally sound. Why would someone use a method that would be harmful to the land or animals that they are dependent on for their livelihoods. Farmers and Rancher for the most part live and work on and around their operations with their families. They feel an obligation to their heritage but also to their community and children's future.

I would encourage people to read the article and then respond to the author about his very slanted and artificial story about the American farmer or rancher. And possibly invite him to another country to visit their farms and ranchers to see how it is in reality.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A week in Southern Arizona

Each year I have about two weeks that are just extra crazy then my life goes back to just normal craziness. I just ended my two weeks. I drove over 2500 miles in two weeks and by the end I was tired of driving and felt like I really knew my songs on my IPOD. I also end up needing to get the truck washed. Usually it isn't as dirty as it was when I was done but normally I don't go through a mud puddle (or two).

I had my normal board meetings in Graham, Cochise and Greenlee Counties. Then I had two policy development meetings in Yuma and Pinal and I also had my first annual meeting (Pima) and just a regular event meeting back in Yuma. I love the policy development meetings because farmers and ranchers get together to discuss issue that are important to them and their respective industries. This year we had great discussion on immigration, health care, food safety and CDL requirements. Annual meetings are always fun because you get to visit with people who you only see once or twice a year.

I facebooked my entire two weeks and it was funny. I mentioned the checkpoint leaving Yuma and some of my friends from Oregon didn't realize that we have Border Patrol Checkpoints. They are really easy to roll through if you are legal citizens and are not packing drugs. I went through the one in Yuma twice in one week- once at night and then again two days later. So on my trip through during the day- I snapped a picture so my northern friends would know what those of us in Southern AZ deal with. Thankfully I don't have to go through this one daily like some of my friends have to.

I think my childhood prepared me for this job. See I am an only child and I spend a lot of time now by myself driving too and from meetings. So I am ok being by myself and enjoy my company. For example- I drove from Safford to Duncan last week for the Greenlee board meeting and only met 3 cars on the entire trip (two of them were once I reached the town. But Arizona is a beautiful state and the drive is always nice.

Drive from Safford Drive to Duncan