I have some thoughts to offer in response to Troy Marshall’s recent piece, “When It Comes To Nature And The Environment, We Need More Farmers.”

Officially we tell each other: “We don’t care what the 98% think. We are heirs of 19th-century rugged individualism and self-reliance, and we are true to our inner self on the frontier. Consumers are confused, not us. They have lost a true understanding of sustainability and reliance on 19th century nature. Mankind can’t be a negative influence on the environment, no matter how many we are. No matter how many cars we drive, plastic grocery bags we use, or kids we have. It is all pseudo-scientific bunk about climate change.”

 

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Needless to say, I thought your article on the 2% of us Americans involved in agriculture hit all the points of view of isolated cowmen in a changing world. Unfortunately, it is convoluted logic; and our choir, of whom I am a member, is singing off tune.

The 98% control what we do today if we want to sell them beef. They control our future, not our cowboy past. The days of millionaire old men wearing cowboy hats at the national cattlemen’s conventions are numbered. Consumers want accountability. They want to know where that steak came from, who raised it, and what medications the animal had. The more we stick to one-breed genetics, lowest cost of gain and the feedlot manure pits, the sooner we lose consumption numbers.

In the last paragraph, Marshall says this:

“Change isn’t inherently bad. If more people worked with nature every day, they would better appreciate her. They also would have a more intellectually solid footing to effect change in terms of managing food, energy and water more effectively.”

You are correct in that assertion. However, it should be aimed at us, the producers, and not the 98% who actually are our bosses today, and they don't wear cowboy hats!

 

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