You may have noticed,
or maybe you didn't, it doesn't really matter either way, but lately I've been filling up your timeline with a plethora of articles and links to what I deem to be important and valuable information regarding the job that I do.
I'm in the business of agriculture.
And that's the thing. The business of agriculture. I know some of you might imagine me strolling through a field of wheat. Under the noon day sun, arms and fingers outstretched as the golden heads of grain dance playfully off my fingertips. It's a romantic notion. But more often than not, the reason that I'm there wandering through my grain field, whether it be wheat, barley, oats, or canola, is to ensure that I'm growing the healthiest crop that I can with the tools that agricultural technology provides me with.
Now, I have never professed to be a smart fellow. When I graduated from high school, 30-some years ago, it was with solidly average marks, which I struggled to maintain. Because of this, I tended to gravitate towards the trades courses that my school offered and that is most likely what made my high school years even bearable. And while I never in a million years intended to be a farmer, it's now the job I've spent my lifetime doing.
Like my father, and his father before him.
So, I do what I do with multiple generations worth of trial and error type knowledge, and when my father passed away and I was thrust into more of a decision making role, it wasn't like I was starting from scratch. While it was daunting, I still had a wealth of hundreds of combined years of agricultural expertize I could call upon, through a network of rural neighbors and family friends.
The reason I'm laying this out there is because recently, I've taken more of an interest in defending the thing I do for a living. I feed the WORLD, damnit! At least in some small part, I like to think that. However, there are people who would call into question the practices that I use.
I use fertilizer.
I spray my crops to protect them from weeds and disease.
I use genetically modified seeds.
And I vaccinate my cattle.
I do these things, not because I'm evil and my only interest is to purchase a new tractor or something. Rather, it's because I've done the research and made the decision, based on all the available information, that it's the safest and most productive use of the land and livestock that I've been charged with caring for.
I want your family to benefit from the very best product that I can produce. Perhaps there are those who can do this without the tools that I mentioned earlier, but in all honesty, I can't. I can't, and still provide for my family, while maintaining an acceptable standard of living. Basically, the same thing you're trying to achieve. There are things I've tried, and abandoned because I didn't like what it did to my land. Years ago, we used hormones for cattle, but I don't do that anymore, because while it's scientifically safe, it's just not something I practice. However, I'm still going to give a sick calf medicine because I won't see it suffer in sickness, and in turn, pass an unhealthy animal on to you. It's my job to do the best that I can do. And I try to live by that.
Yet, there are those who dispute the practices I use.
I've spent a considerable amount of time recently, trying to decide the role I need to play in defending my profession. I think there's a lot of us in this field thinking the same thing. And while it is most definitely my fight, I think it's a fight, better fought by those in the business of agriculture, who have the benefit of multiple years of schooling on multiple levels. Those who have the ammunition and the knowledge to wield it against people that would dare to say I'm producing a product without the very best of intentions in mind.
That being said, it doesn't mean that I can't do my part as well. I can share the knowledge of people much smarter than me, with you. So hopefully, when you're faced with a choice somewhere down the road, the decision you make will be one balanced by both sides of the debate.
Perhaps, I can use my miniscule presence here, trying to come up with goofy stories, to occasionally remind you that when the slings and arrows are being hurled, there are still those of us, on the ground as it were, trying to make a living the best way we know how.
But, what do I know?
............after all, I'm just a farmer.