Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why aren't all the farmers sick?

I suffered through Food, Inc again yesterday.  (Thank you PBS for adding credence to their lies and exaggerations.)

People who don’t know any better watch that show and think everything they put in their mouths is going to make them sick. That’s what the makers want them to believe as they push their eat local, eat natural, anything from a big farm is bad agenda.

I would challenge them to go back to the source of our food—us. People like you and me who grow our nation’s food supply. If our food supply is so dangerous, you and I are living at ground zero.

So why aren’t all of the farmers and ranchers sick?

The scare tactics used by activists like the Food Inc producers use tactics like:
• Pesticides and herbicides are ruining our health
• Adding hormones causes man boobs
• Meat eaters will all get colon cancer
• We breed e coli on our farms and ranches

Of course, I know that you can do harm to yourself and others if you don’t use ag chemicals correctly. I will never forget the day when I was five years old and accidentally breathed in a bunch of ammonia at my grandpa’s fertilizer plant. It made me very sick. I realize there are a lot of people with serious health issues because of misuse of chemicals.

But if they are that toxic and residues are, as the activists say, so prominent in our food supply, why aren’t we all sick? I don’t know any farmers with a 3rd eye or who have become radioactive after being in the field. Not scientific-I know. And I’m not trying to make light of the danger, but if chemicals were so bad we would all be sick.

Now regarding the meat issues.

Farmers and Rancher eat more meat than the average city person. We all have a freezer full of it that came right off our place. We’ve never had a vegetarian meal at my house.

I haven’t seen too many farm boys looking like farm girls. I have a lot more city friends who are fighting cancer than farm friends who are. And most of the farmers I know seem to have fine reproductive health.

Can you get heart disease? Sure. Everything is best in moderation, but they’ve missed the memo that the research doesn’t support their assertion.

They don’t want to learn about e coli being everywhere in the environment.

They show the pictures of cattle standing in mud and talk about what a breeding ground it is for the pathogen. And they show mud and manure on the animal too. Like we’re licking that in every bite of ground beef.

The only time I’ve seen cattle standing in mud like they show was after a 10 inch rain. And you know what? We were standing in it too. Mud happens.

They say confined feeding and the way we feed corn makes it worse. They never talk about how to cook or wash food to reduce the risk. The farmer carries 100% of the blame for ecoli. And they never talk about strides made to detect and control it.

If it’s as easy to get sick from e coli as they say it is. Everyone with cattle should be in the hospital.

But again, you and I are around the stuff all the time. We probably have immunity from breathing tiny amounts of e coli in when walking through the barn.

So I’m sure nobody would study instances of e coli in farmers vs. the general population. It wouldn’t be scientific since we have something going for us that they don’t.

But there’s nothing scientific about the scare tactics they use anyway.

So farmers and ranchers defy the activists and stay healthy.


  1. Local, heritage, grass & other forms of selection/management are choices. They're not for everyone. Not everyone drives a sports car and not everyone has need for a one ton dually. Choices! One could make a case that sports cars are dangerous and kill you - and it's true. Especially when driving 90 miles an hour.

    Decisions on food shouldn't be made on fear. Personally I don't want a customer choosing on fear. Choices. Research, form opinions, decide & choose. No fear no blame.

  2. Third generation conventional farmer from Oklahoma here. There may be not be a fourth generation because my lil fellas swim in circles for some unknown reason. Now it may not have anything to do with the chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, dewormers, fungicides, etc. But hey the labels say they're safe...

  3. Good post--you're right, it's easy to watch Food Inc. and get caught up in the spin. I live in suburban KS and can't help but wonder how sanitary my neighborhood would be if we all raised our own cows and chickens. I certainly couldn't do as good of job as a real farmer! Keep up the good work!