Putting the Food Fight in Perspective

You do not have the right to make other people’s food choices for them.

Okay, so your answer to that was probably “duh”, but I’m serious.

If your tummy is full on a regular basis; i.e. you don’t worry about having food to eat or feed to your children, because you can’t afford it or it simply doesn’t exist… then you need to shut your mouth.
Let me explain.

We, as Americans, live in a world where food is viewed as a choice.
You can choose to eat too much on a regular basis and weigh 100 pounds more than is healthy.
You can choose not to eat on a regular basis and be 100 pounds underweight.

“I don’t feel like cooking, let’s go out to dinner.”
“Okay, where should we eat?”

This is an everyday conversation that involves choices. Instead of being forced to make do with what’s in the cabinet, or to simply warm up the Pizza Rolls in the freezer, we often make the choice to spend more than a product is worth for the sake of convenience simply because we can. We have that as a choice.

I did the same thing today. I realized as I locked the back door that I’d forgotten to grab the little frozen meal I’d intended to bring as a lunch. This was not something I remembered as I pulled into the parking lot at work, or even as I got to the end of the dirt road. I was literally still standing on my doorstep. But did I walk back inside and grab my lunch out of the freezer? No. I decided I’d run to Taco Johns or something at lunch instead.
I made a choice.
Granted, that choice had a lot to do with the fact that I ate that same little frozen meal three times last week and it’s nice to step out of the office at break rather than sit at my desk to eat.
But even then… #firstworldproblems, much?

So here’s my point; you, as a consumer, have every option thinkable out there in regards to what you can choose to put in your bodies. In a country where minimum wage is $7.25 and government assistance is readily available, the average American spends about 6% of their annual income on food. Food here is cheap, and so if you want to pay a higher price for food you deem a higher quality, then you have the capacity and freedom to do so.

But you can stop cramming your so-called healthy rhetoric down other people’s throats.

You do not have the right to make other people’s food choices for them.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know? The more noise you make, the more your opinion is considered. In most instances, that is not a bad thing.
However, in the case of issues such as Genetically Modified crops, animal welfare and the organic vs. conventional debate, where both sides have merit and no solution is a one size fits all, it’s become a yelling match.

As agriculturalists, our livelihood depends on having a market for our products. We can’t gouge prices based on our inputs or market demand. We’re at the mercy of the public. So when false information begins to circle about our practices and who we are, we get understandably upset.

We don’t want to force anyone to buy our food if they don’t want it.
I think this goes for any producer, whether they plant GMOs or raise certified organic crops.

You, as a consumer, seem to have a different idea.
Whether you’re being intentionally malicious or are just sadly misinformed, your yelling influences the decisions of others.

In America, food is cheap, and food is plentiful. So much so, that most of what we produce is exported.
I’d have to vote that this a good thing.

However, whatever yelling you do that influences the status of food here in America, directly affects the status of food elsewhere.

Have you ever been hungry? Like really, really hungry? Like maybe you haven’t eaten in three days and it’s not because you’re sick and can’t keep anything down? No? Then shut up.

You buy your tofu and I’ll buy my steak. The fact that my steak may have, at some point in its previous life, been given an antibiotic or an implant, does not affect you. The fact that it might have been fed BT corn does not affect you. 

You do not have the right to make other people’s food choices for them.

**I had hesitated to post this until I saw this piece.
Then I realized I had a valid point.
We take a lot of things for granted, and a little perspective can help.

Thanks for listening.


Etymology in Agriculture

I’ve always been a word junkie. My mother read to me in utero and I told stories from the moment I could talk. I’ll never forget the day my mom showed me how to make letters, which she explained would eventually form words and then sentences and paragraphs. Clearly, I took that possibility and ran with it.  


Childhood Memories: Growing Up

I literally wore out my VHS copy.
I'm always seeing this kind of junk on facebook:

“Like” If you were a 90’s kid!

“Remember this fad when we were kids? Go 90’s!”

“Our childhood was so much better than yours.”

“We (90's kids) had obnoxious toys and got over not having an ipod.”


Food Safety and Preaching to the Choir

Sometimes I do my best not to “rock the boat”. Sometimes I capsize it. This might be one of the latter times.


Throwback Thursday

This morning the entomology lab met with the PREC’s new director, Jack Whittier. He just wanted to get to know us and give the faculty and staff the opportunity to express any concerns they might have about administrative issues. As I introduced myself, we had the usual laugh, as he had already met my mother and instantly saw the resemblance.


Nebraska: The Good Life

As I mentioned previously, my conversations with my friend from Chicagoland seem to provide plentiful inspiration for blogging. Today, her question was “Why are Nebraskans so friendly?” Not that this behavior is bad, obviously, but it begged the question; why are we so friendly?


Prince Charming

I wrote a really angry blog today, and then I read this HuffPost article that put me in a much better mood.


Childhood Memories: Chicken Chasing

A batch of eggs from
Mom's chickens!
My conversations with my friend from Chicagoland always provide interesting inspirations for blogging. Her perspective is so different!
Today, I had a flashback to my childhood.
I needed to run an errand at lunch, and I asked my friend if she’d like to tag along for kicks and giggles. She said she did, and so off we went. A young girl had a lemonade stand set up on the corner along our way, and we both commented on how that was neat of her to attempt entrepreneurship at such a young age, but also that unless you’ve got a really hopping market (like being the only concession stand at an event of some kind) that she was probably barely (if even) breaking even. 


Idealist? Maybe...

Earlier this week I posted a link to National Geographic article on Feeding 9 Billion People.
There were bits and pieces I thought were overly idealistic and therefore not practical, but the author, Jonathan Foley, in his 5-step plan, made a few good points
Step 1: Freeze agriculture’s footprint
Step 2: Grow more on farms we’ve got
Step 3: Use resources more efficiently
Step 4: Shift Diets
Step 5: Reduce Waste


Cowgirls & Fashion

It’s Monday. Monday is not a day for controversial topics. So today I will discuss something funny – my Midwestern rear-end and my struggles to outfit it.


Recalls Are A Good Thing!

It didn’t take me much web surfing today to find a topic for today’s blog.
A Jackson, Missouri Beef company is recalling over 4,000 pounds of product that may contain traces of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), or mad cow disease.
Yeesh, that kinda makes you panic, huh?
Well don’t.


Bucket Theory

Recently I wrote an article on subtherapeutic antibiotic use in cattle. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to write.


Animal Abuse is Not Okay

If you pay attention to the news at all (I don’t, it’s depressing) you may have seen something about the company Chilliwack Cattle Sales, located in Canada, and was filmed abusing their dairy cows. I was a little hesitant to jump into the middle of this battle, since dairy isn’t my area of expertise, but there are a few points I’d like to make. If you haven’t seen the video yet, I’ve posted it here.


Good Clean Dirt

Ad photography by Paul Mobley.
Copyright Alltech,
printed by Beef Magazine
I was flipping through an issue of Beef magazine the other day and saw this advertisement for Alltech feeds. I was sitting next to my friend from Chicagoland (she calls it that, not me) and I showed it to her, thinking that this little dude in his Wranglers and his tiny Carhartt was pretty stinking cute.
Her response was to laugh, “Wow. Do they really start them that young?”