Monday, February 13, 2012


One day will forever remain historic in my high school as the "Little Debbie Massacre." What started as a simple game of Turkey Bingo in the cafeteria, soon resembled the Apocalypse. In an instant, students started tossing Twinkies, smashing Swiss-Cake Rolls, and catapulting Cosmic-brownies- all the while, a Zebra Cake zipped past my head and hit someone in the face, students starting climbing on tables, screaming in the halls and creating a giant riot. It was awesome.
Nonetheless, today I find that the idea of a food fight has been redefined.
While I constantly find myself annoyed or amused by the chatter of social media about agriculture, I haven't said too much.
Still I find myself questioning the overall message that we convey:
If it is our mission as agriculturalists to produce food, not only for ourselves but for the growing hungry population then...
Non-GMO vs. GMO
Caged vs. Free-Range
Grass fed vs. Corn fed
Antibiotics vs. Natural
No-till vs. Plow
...Vegetarians vs. "Normal" Meat-Eaters
This food fight between agriculturalists about- how, what and who is better is relentless!
* Why get upset with organic farming? They are also supporting the universal mission of providing a nutritious food supply, and helping alleviate hunger. Who knows whether or not it will be the end-all-solution to world hunger, but it is just another way of producing food.
* Why get upset at someone who doesn't like eating meat, or if there is a "vegetarian option"? They don't judge you because you don't like eating mushrooms, tomatoes or (heaven forbid)... peas. They support agriculture through their daily purchase of vegetables, fruits and soy foods.
* Why get upset with companies like Chipotle or McDonald's because of their decision to have cage-free/crate free animal products? They aren't eliminating or "bashing" agriculture! Why get so defensive about this topic, just because they disagree with the conventional way you farm. They are simply choosing a different farmer to supply their pork, eggs or chicken, which they agree with. Agriculture is changing, just as much as societal beliefs, as does fashion as does music. Its totally preferences.

A typical Facebook status, or link to such topics will conclude with a comment about : We must "EDUCATE" and inform "CONSUMERS" because "THEY" don't understand.
First of all, (last time I checked) we are ALL consumers. We all eat, so don't make this separation greater. Further more, it introduces an idea of "US vs. THEM." The mentality that people from a non agricultural background are uneducated and ignorant truly illustrates our own weakness. We are not perfect and we do not understand everything. Just because another person does not understand or view agriculture the same way you do doesn't make them stupid!
That person in class who prefers organic, or caged-free or rBST free-milk supports agriculture, just in a different way. They may not know what you know, and I bet they understand plenty of things you don't. Why make this a battle, competition or game of defense?
Agriculture is, and always has been an industry of collaboration to feed the world.
It's just silly. 


  1. Why are we pitting ourselves against each other?!?, duh. The problem is considering corporations to be farmers (they are not interested in the collective good of the agricultural community, the health of the land or other such non-sense), next thing you know corporations will be considered people, with the ability to give unlimited money to campaigns and influence elections the way they try to influence public perception of corporations to seem like they care about people or anything other than money, which is just silly.

  2. Hi Kirby,
    Great post and I really appreciated your views on the topic. My take on all of this is that we shouldn't pin one method against the other, but we most definitely should not support any organizations publicly bashing one way or means of production. If organizations such as Chipotle choose to purchase "free range" or "organic" products that is just fine but their commercial bashing modern agriculture was so inappropriate. I will stand up against anyone who uses misguided information to promote a personal profit and/or a personal view. This is where I draw the line.
    - Karin Schaefer

    1. When Oakhurst Dairy put a label on their milk that said simply "Our Farmers Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones", Monsanto SUED them! They seem to be against another means of production and allowing consumers to know about it. Do legall proceedings count as "public bashing"? If so you should follow through and stop supporting Monsanto.

  3. Kirby, This was a great perspective, however I think the argument here is what Karin said...misguided information. I grew up on a conventional farm myself, and I have no problem with Organics, I have no problem with vegetarians, and I have no problem with McDonalds and Chipotle changing their ways. I do however have a problem with organics saying putting chemicals on your food will kill you (and other aspects of conventional farming like genetically modified hybrids), I have a problem with vegetarians being vegetarians just because eating meat is "abusive" to animals, and I do have a problem with McDonlads and Chipotle saying that utilizing crates/cages for procuding our food is abusive and wrong. There is scientific evidence for both sides of advantages and disadvantages. Companies with a ton of money and big investment in the market such as HSUS, McDonalds or Chipotle basically say its wrong to produce conventionally, therefore the non-agricultural consumer is going to think that, when it's completely false. Companies like those mentioned are swaying people to think that way by using the emotional side of the aspect, and not scientific data. So I feel its a miscommunication of information, not necessarily "fighting" going on.