My thoughts on GMOs, fertilizer, organic foods, antibiotic use, and other controversial ag topics.

Now I don’t claim to be a expert on any of these topics, but I know enough to have an opinion. Growing up I’m sure we all heard ‘eat what’s on the table, or don’t eat at all’ maybe you even tell your kids that now. Well that’s what I’m telling you. Eat what’s on the table, or don’t eat at all. Farmers are doing their best, using the latest technology, to feed everyone, everywhere. You may go to the grocery store and buy your food, even bring it home and cook it, but I hate to burst your pretty little organic, vegan, antibiotic-free, GMO-hating bubble – WE grow it and without US you would not have food. Period.

If you want GMO-free, organic corn from a no-till field, have at it! Nobody’s stopping you. Go out and buy your OWN equipment and land. If you feel you can do better, do it yourself. I don’t know if you know it, but land and tractors cost a little more than your Prius. We don’t need to change the way we’ve done things for years to accommodate to you. Worry about yourself and the food you eat, not what the rest of the world is eating. Plenty of people are completely happy eating the food we provide. There are regulations in order to make sure the crops are nutritionally safe. GMOs, fertilizers, antibiotics are used because they need to be in order to provide enough food and are used in a safe manner. So if you’re not happy with what we’re working hard to put on your plate, grow it yourself. We’re not forcing you to eat what we grow. Yes, you have the right to your own opinion and to eat what you want. But you also have the right to grow your own food.

So you’re the consumer, you should have a say in what food is grown to feed you? True. But when the food is completely safe and nutritional, you don’t have a right to force your opinions and beliefs onto everyone else. You can eat organic food, be vegan or Paleo, or GMO-free, I don’t care that’s your choice. There are plenty of those options available. So take what you can get, and be happy!

It has to do with a lot more than food also. Corn and soybeans are used for so much more than human food, and farmers have to fill that demand too. There are many uses you might not even know about. For instance, corn is used in: penicillin, ethanol, starch, whiskey, oil, glue, plastic, batteries, diapers, matches, textiles, dyes, crayons, drywall, varnish, spark plugs, toothpaste, aspirin, tires, livestock feed, and so much more. Soybeans are used for biodiesel, ink, lubricants, crayons, foam, animal feed, adhesives, carpet, upholstery, varnish, lacquer, oil, flooring tiles, cleaners, and again so much more. GMOs and fertilizer help farmers to get the most of their crop, so they are able to provide the most that they can each year.

Livestock and antibiotic use is another hot topic. Just like humans do when they are sick, farmers treat sick animals with antibiotics. Without antibiotics animals would die from illness and spread it to the other ones around them. There are regulations on the use of antibiotics for livestock. Livestock cannot be sent for slaughter for a certain time period after they have received an antibiotic, once the time period has passed they are back to normal and healthy to consume.

And don’t get me started on anti-factory farming activists. 96% of farms are owned and operated by families. Factory farming is family farming.  ‘Factory farms’ is just a big scary word that activists like PETA have made up to make farmers look bad in the media. Most farmers don’t abuse their livestock, they take care of them, respect them, and treat them humanely. Occasionally, there are cases of abuse. And those people are worthless scum. I get that. But let me put this in perspective for you: There are some awful, worthless parents that abuse there children. But that doesn’t mean all parents abuse their children and we don’t treat all parents like they abuse their children. So why act like all farmers abuse there livestock?

For some people the problem is more about the equipment then the crops themselves. They are worried about emissions, diesel exhaust, our carbon footprint, erosion, and the ozone. I get that these are legitimate concerns, but farm equipment is not the only things that pollutes the air and many people besides farmers are far more detrimental to the environment. Erosion over the years has been greatly improved. Tractors, semis, and diesel trucks have emission equipment on them, they have been greatly restricted and produce much less emissions to harm the environment. Farmers use much less fertilizers these days, and the formula is safer. All other chemical are in their current safest form and scientist are constantly working to make them safer.

I think everyone needs to remember farmers are doing their best. We aren’t out to get you, we aren’t trying to harm you, we’re just trying to provide you with food (and many other things).

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Daylight Savings Time: The World Catered to Farmers.

This is a video of Pete Holmes comedic act that aired on November 4th.

The idea of daylight savings time was first introduced by Benjamin Franklin in 1784. As you know electricity wasn’t exactly widespread, so this was an idea to not waste daylight and get the most out of the hours that were light. Therefore the clocks would need to be set back/forth depending on the season. Sure, these days farmers probably get the most of this extra hour, because you know it takes all 6 of us longer than 20 minutes to get our daily work done. And all for that darn wheat, because it’s not important AT ALL. I love being portrayed as a uneducated, slow, hillbilly, don’t you? And damn straight we control the food. He’s a novel idea; only eat what you grow & take care of. Thanks. 8 hour work days for farmers? LOL, no. I’ll take my rural paradise over your city life ANY DAY.

And seriously, who is the writer for this show? Barely anything they said was factual. They should probably be fired, for incompetency.

I know this is a comedy and it’s just for fun. But it’s not funny, it’s not right. And even though it angered me, it more so made me sad. This is how people portray farmers. This is what they’re teaching their children; to not appreciate and to mock the very people that feed them and fuel their vehicles.

We’re not gonna take it, anymore!

Yay for Twisted Sister references. But anywho back to bigger, more important things. By this point many of you have probably heard about Panera Bread’s EZ Chicken campaign. I decided to join in on the controversy. They are blatantly calling farmers that use antibiotics lazy. I found this so outrageous, farmers aren’t lazy. Far from it. ‘Farmer’ and ‘lazy’ shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence. There are guidelines in place to ensure consumer safety. There is a certain amount of time from when an animal receives a antibiotic to when they can be sold for production. Antibiotic use doesn’t decrease the quality, taste, texture, safety, or nutritional value of the meat. The FDA, USDA, etc. governs over farmers and farms ensuring food safety and antibiotic use is acceptable.

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As a nurse I can see the apprehension in prophylactic-use and overuse of antibiotics. Prophylactic is prevention, using antibiotics to prevent disease rather than cure it. Overuse and prophylactic use can lead to an increase in resistant strands of a bacteria.

In recent years doctors have really cut back on the amount of antibiotics they prescribe. They want to make sure your illness can be treated by an antibiotic so they aren’t prescribing unnecessary medication. Previously antibiotics were given out much more freely and this caused a more prevalent increase in resistant strains of bacteria such as MRSA and VRE. In order to decide if antibiotics are necessary the doctor does an assessment, labs, and/or diagnostic tests to determine if the illness is caused by a virus or a bacteria. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics and will generally just have to run their course (certain types or severe cases can be treated with antivirals). Antibiotics are used when a person (or animal) has contracted a bacteria.

But this isn’t even what Panera Bread is concerned with. Panera is concerned with Panera making money. They are broadcasting completely false, irrelevant information. They are calling farmers lazy because they are being cautious and taking care of their livestock. The worst part is how hypocritical they are. If they themselves or say their child get sick I can guarantee you that they go to the doctor and if the doctor prescribes an antibiotic you can bet they are going to take it. In reality I’m sure this was just supposed to be another market campaign meant to gain more customers because of their “better tasting, antibiotic free” chicken. But they chose the wrong people to mess with.

We’re not going to tolerate being publicly bashed for supporting and feeding America.

Shame on you Panera Bread.