Friday, April 13, 2012

need a friend not a defense attorney

I have been outraged this week at the shocking new trend where the agriculture media  who I thought were fellow agriculturalist throw us under the bus.  I feel like these agriculturalists are defending the beef industry as if we are doing something wrong.  These agriculture media types saying things like you should not only listen to what the consumer wants, but quickly make changes to conform.  Their message seem to be that beef eaters know more than beef producers about raising a quality product.  As many farmers/ranchers across this country are making big decisions and spending money trying to decide what to breed their cows to this spring. They also are predicting a market 14 months in the future and thinking what might change the market by then.

I have so much faith in the beef industry I quit my job this year to be a little part of it.  Do I think it is perfect? Not yet.  But I think the professionals involved in the beef industry live by this: “When you know better you do better.” ― Maya Angelou  We have great science, that learn and discover things all the time, allowing us to evolve.

But, what I find disturbing are people saying things like maybe the consumers have a point about lean finally textured beef (pink slime).  A fellow beef producer actually said " you know we didn't tell them".  Yeah that is true we didn't.  My first thought is what did you want to tell them we are trying to get the extra beef off the bone and grind it up into hamburger so that we have less waste, or to have more product, or save money.  My second thought is should we have labeled the package with LFTB or 100% Beef.  I am disturbed at producers talking as if we need a defense attorney.  I am proud of the product Jake and I raise and will stand behind it everyday.  I hope we continue to improve and learn, but for now we are doing the best we know how, with the information we have.

For the people signing up for a defense, my only question is what are you going to do when consumers start saying:

1.   I didn't know ground round came from the "back end" of the animal.

2.  You didn't tell me these animals have to die before we can eat them.

3. We didn't know these animals had "waste" and you spread it on fields.  We don't like that.

None of those things are disclosed on the label either.

Education is the only answer and we need the media especially the Agriculture Media's help.  In addition, I believe Agriculture Education in high school is more important then ever before.

I don't know what else the general public will be astonished by in the meat production industry.  I will tell you that if I worked outside of Agriculture in an urban area and did not have the opportunity for an Agriculture Education class at my local high school I may feel a little out of the loop also.  The answer is not letting people that are uneducated and shocked to make major changes to our food supply.  I do know that we have a safe food supply and although I don't purchase beef at the grocery store (because we butcher our own) I would buy with confidence.  I will say that when a calf we raised is butchered for our family it is not a special calf.  We treat the calf we send to Moyer or Tyson for your family the same way we treat the calf I feed my family.

If you want to know more about beef production here are a few sights.

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