Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hunger is the Real Danger

I should know better than to watch the "popular" media or see even the smallest of portions of one of "those" talk shows because quite often what I see makes me very angry and upset. Too often those programs bring out the latest and "greatest" experts who want to tell us how to be healthier. Their idea of healthy often includes bashing our agricultural infrastructure.

Yes, I said agricultural infrastructure. Much like the system of roads, canals, ports and airports we all depend on for transportation, we have a tremendous network of farms and ranches who fuel our nation. These farms and ranches are operated by dedicated, hard-working men and women, who spend their entire lifetimes producing the food and fiber we all depend on.

That is why I have such a hard time and get so annoyed when I hear so called "experts" talk about all the health issues caused by modern agriculture. The first and foremost food issue that kills more every year, worldwide is hunger, not heart disease or cancer, but hunger. That is the very issue farmers and ranchers are trying to take care of.

We utilize the latest advancements in science to produce the maximum amount of food on dwindling acres. As urban encroachment eats more acres of farm ground and range land we must do more with less. The world's population is growing at a rate higher than our current increases in food production. I am confident that advances in technology will help us overcome that gap. However, there are those who sit in judgement proclaiming the necessary scientific advancements as bad, with no scientific data to back up their claims.

Folks, the health problems most of us suffer from are not because of the farmer or rancher, they are because of our lifestyle choices. We eat far too much and exercise far too little and that has nothing to do with farmers, ranchers, or any of the businesses who support us. Those choices start and end at us. I agree that we eat too much fast food and too many processed and packaged foods, but again, that is not the farmer's fault.

Instead of being thankful that we can overeat and smart enough not to, we blame modern agriculture. The truth is that our modern advancements have allowed us to produce more with less and have significantly reduced our impact on the environment. The American farmer and rancher should be applauded for the food they produce and the lives they save.

As for the safety of that food, I feed my family the same food you feed yours. I would never produce any food that was not healthy or wholesome. Like many of you, I do not make good nutritional choices, but that has nothing to do with the food I produce. The bottom line is that we need every advance science can come up with, because hunger is a far greater concern and we are doing all we can to take care of that problem.

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