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YOUR OPINION: Praise farmers, don't criticize

YOUR OPINION: Praise farmers, don't criticize

January 18th, 2011 by Kristie Scheulen, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Referring to the letter by Carleen Pietzmeyer, the other lady from Loose Creek.

As a farmer I (and probably every other farmer who read your piece) should be insulted at your inference that rural Missouri has been taken over by agribusiness.

Rural Missouri, in fact most of Missouri, is involved in the business of agriculture, hence the term agribusiness. It is not a derogatory term.

As a farmer if I did not treat my farming enterprise as a business I would go broke. If all farmers did the same not only would we go broke but you would starve.

That being said, I do take offense to your accusations that agribusiness or farmers do not care about their animals, the environment or the consumer. You really should do your homework.

Farmers are the first stewards of the land. Conservation programs have been growing since the 1950s. Then there were set aside acres and the Federal Land Bank program, precursors to today's CRP. NRCS has numerous programs to help both livestock and grain farmers employ conservation practices in their operations and still be able to generate profits. The large operations actually do have more resources and do an excellent job of caring for our land. Can industry and urban development say the same?

As livestock farmers we know that if we do not take good care of our animals they will not produce for us. Animals do not need to be coddled to be well taken care of nor do they need to be in a strike environment which actually retards their immune system.

As for consumers, farmers have always given the consumer just what they want - cheap abundant food, leaner meats, more variety - the list could go on, and yet I have never heard a customer ask any farmer if they wanted anything.

What most farmers want is a little respect and appreciation. As consumers, you really have no idea what it takes for the farmer to produce the food on your table.

Carleen, even the voters in the big cities are beholden to agribusiness from the trucks who deliver produce, the grocer, the restaurants and the products that keep their lawns green all are a part of agribusiness.

The farmer of today is most likely a college graduate. He's no dummy. He is hard working and deserves a thank you every chance you get.

Sounds like this area needs a little educating on the history, science and practices of agriculture. I can give it to you 400 words at time, but I guarantee most of you would not appreciate the effort.