By Gary Truitt
Well, here we are again, National Agriculture day; or, as we celebrate it in Indiana, Agriculture Week. It is traditionally held at the beginning of spring to symbolize the start of the growing season; although spring weather seems to be boycotting the event this year. It is a day made much of by most in agriculture and mostly ignored by those outside of agriculture.
Those of us in the farm media will write and broadcast stories about how important agriculture is and about how productive and efficient farmers are. We will stress the efforts farmers make to protect the environment, and how technology and innovation are setting the stage for our ability to deal with climate change and still feed a growing world population. Media outside of agriculture will focus on how farmers are going out of business, killing themselves, and poisoning our land and water.
Social media channels will be filled with a plethora of false food facts and misconceptions. There will be posts about glyphosate in our Kool-Aid and breakfast cereal, antibiotics in our chicken, growth hormones in our milk, and GMOs in everything else. Legions of agvocates will debunk this bilge on-line; but, for the most part, their efforts will fall on deaf ears, because most people on-line, don’t really want to know the truth.
While Ag Day is supposed to be a time to honor and celebrate farming, too often it is a time when critics heap criticism on the people who produce their food and clothing. These mountebanks blame farmers for abusing animals, hogging local water supplies, and hiring illegal aliens. Farmers even get blamed for Daylight Saving Time. The Green New Deal, being espoused by the far left, is an example of how bashing agriculture has become chic. It is enough to make a self-respecting supporter of agriculture go into hiding for a week.
So, how did it come to this? How did we get to the point where the 2% of our society who feed and clothe the other 98% are vilified and reviled? The answer is easy — we just did too good of a job. We innovated and mechanized farming to the point where most people no longer have to grow their own food just simply say “Alexa, bring me food,” and it shows up at the house. If people today had to actually get their hands dirty and break a sweat to produce the food they eat, Agriculture Day would be a federal holiday and we would all get the day off. But since most people have no clue on how their food is produced or even where it comes from, they feel free to indulge in the fantasy that modern ag is bad, that organic is better, and that we can feed the world with community gardens and backyard chickens.
Let’s be honest. A significant portion of our society cannot even cook their own food, let alone grow it. Every day millions of Americans go to a big food retailer, take a box of frozen prepared food from a freezer case, go home, place it in microwave for a few minutes, and then consume it. They then pull out their phones and go onto social media, bash “big ag,” and advocate for eating local and organic.
So, on National Agriculture Day, to the men and woman who lay it all on the line to feed this world, I toast you with a glass of beer made with high fructose corn sweetener. To the overweight suburban moms and bunkum spigot activists who refuse to accept the facts about food production, I say stick your manicured hands in the ground and find out what it takes to coax your food out of the soil. The best way for these folks to celebrate Agriculture Day is to get a little first-hand experience with agriculture.