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Archive for August 22, 2009

Letter to Time Magazine on Bryan Walsh Food Article

The following was sent to the editor of Time Magazine at: letters@time.com

To Time Magazine,

The recent article by Bryan Walsh, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food,” August 20th, was a poor choice to serve as the cover article. Covers should be objective, factually based and lead to an educated and productive discussion to solve an issue or simply inform in an unbiased manner. Bryan Walsh’s article was none of these.

His attempt at journalism was obviously slanted, utilized biased science, and lacked truthful, well researched information. If he was attempting to mislead the public through misinformation and scare tactics, he was successful.

As it was written, it served no productive purpose in aiding in the growing and successful dialogue between family farmers and ranchers and the consumers, taking place in social media. Attempts by Walsh and others sharing his agenda and motives to paint American Agriculture with wide brush strokes of assumptions and accusations only hinder a productive outcome.

Family farmers and ranchers across the country encourage honest dialogue to educate the public and have them share in the process of solving challenges with an end objective being able to continue to provide the world with the safest and healthiest food supply.

I look forward to seeing another article by Mr. Walsh that points out, item by item, the misinformation that was printed and enlightens the public as to the facts and returns responsibility to the individual. If he needs help locating unbiased, real-life, real farm & ranch conditions and information, I would encourage him to contact one of the family farmers and ranchers from across the nation on this list: http://www.dataforag.com/followfarmer.a5w. We will tell it as it is, what works and what does not. We utilize science and modern technology every day to provide you with an affordable, safe and wholesome product. Our only motive is to keep the environment clean and healthy, enhance wildlife habitat, encourage conservation, provide for future generations and feed people.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey N. Fowle
Family Farmer & Rancher from CA

Categories: Agvocate, Media Responses

Time Article Gets It Wrong…..Again!

The recent Time article titled “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food” should have been called “More Mis-Information About American Agriculture,” by a one sided writer who was either too lazy to research his information or is another activist masquerading as a so-called journalist.

Here are 13 quick points to reflect on as they were inaccurate in the article at best.

Antibiotics are no longer fed as a mainstay of rations. Antibiotics are used to treat sick animals and maintain their health and welfare.

In 95% of cases, the farms and ranches were built before communities. Farm and ranch “aromas” are far from being “air pollution.” If you don’t like the smell, don’t build or move near a farm or ranch. Personally, when I smell a swine farm, dairy or beef feedlot, I am thankful that there is a business that is employing workers and feeding the world. Also, be forewarned, farms and ranches operate machinery at all hours of the day and night and might interupt your precious sleep.

Typical liberal journalism blaming agriculture for America’s obesity problem. Stop already! People are free to choose. People choose to eat what they do and choose to not exercise. Take personal responsibility for your own situation, stop passing the blame.

Farmers and ranchers apply the amount of fertilizer that will be utilized by the crop. Excess fertilizer application is not common practice. First it is not economically beneficial, and second, it is not environmentally friendly. Farmers and ranchers work very hard to manage the soil health so that future generations are able to utilize the land.

Modern technology and management practices implemented by American Agriculture have reduced erosion across the country. In fact, public policy that has removed livestock grazing from public lands has actually led to more catastrophic wildfires, leading to sterile ground and massive erosion events.

The attempt to link disease resistant bacteria in humans to antibiotic use in livestock is unfounded. No studies have directly linked this accusation.

Doug Gurian-Sherman’s quote is either out of context, or he shows that he needs to get back in the field. Modern farming techniques are more water and power efficient, reduce erosion, and are increasing the fertility. Farmers and ranchers are soil builders.

Back to fertilizer: Farmers and ranchers regularly test the soil for nutrient balance. It would be unethical to not replenish the soil with the necessary nutrients to maintain its health.

Government subsidies do need to be addressed. Once again, an example of government involvement resulting in inefficiency. However, those that are so adamantly against farm subsidies should also be just a strongly opposed to the current administrations involvement in banking, insurance, car companies and proposed health care program. Is it not ironic that Time / CNN support these other subsidies?

Saying that livestock production is “dependent” upon “cheap grain” is also inaccurate. Livestock production depends on affordable commodities. If consumers were willing and able to pay more for their food, producers could afford to pay more for commodities. It’s basic economics.

“It simply costs too much to be thin.” A grossly exaggerated statement at best. How much does it cost to get off your bottom side, put on a pair of shoes or boots and go for a run, bicycle ride or hike? How much does it cost to NOT buy junk food? Answer? NOTHING…..ITS FREE, HEALTHY and COMMON SENSE!!

News Flash to Robert Martin of the Pew Commission, antibiotics are not the “cornerstone” to production. They are not “widespread” or “overused.” Commonsense would indicate that humans need to stop over using antibiotics. It is ok to get sick once in while and recover WITHOUT the use of drugs. Your immune system will be stronger and you will be healthier.

“Sustainable” should NOT be confused with “Organic.” Sustainability encompasses many factors of production. Conventional and organic farms and ranches can be sustainable. Likewise, they can also both be unsustainable. Going “natural” or “organic” is not a magic bullet to instantly be “sustainable.”

Categories: Uncategorized
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