Category Archives: American Farm Bureau

Producers respond to Food, Inc.

I posted a while ago about the opening of Food, Inc, a documentary attacking the agriculture industry. There have been two great responses to the movie on the Farm Bureau blog.

In the first post, Chris Chinn states ” This movie is an assault on food production and agriculture. No matter the size of your farm or ranch, if you are a modern farmer, using science-based production methods, the messages of this movie are an affront to you staying in business. As a farmer, agriculture is my life calling, and I have dedicated my life to producing safe, nutritious and affordable food. Our farm operation revolves around my family, and we manage every aspect of our farm in a socially responsible manner so we can pass it down to our children. Animal agriculture is the backbone of my rural community and many other rural communities across this country. I understand that contemporary agriculture doesn’t look like it did in the past. But agriculture is like many other industries that have had to become more efficient to survive.” You can learn more about Chris and her family’s hog farm by watching her YouTube video below.

In the other post, Glenn Brunkow says Food, Inc is “a sensationalized, full-on attack of the farmers and ranchers who utilized modern technology to produce the most wholesome, abundant supply of food in the world. If you a member of the agriculture community I am asking you to share our story with your non-ag friends and associates. Education is the key to stemming this tide mis-informed, anti-ag messages.”

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Filed under Advocacy, American Farm Bureau, Animal Welfare, New Media

My Favorite Article

I recently went through all of my published works to update my curriculum vitae (which can be seen at cgoodcomm.com). I’m proud of all of my writing but one article in particular stuck out for me. While interning at the American Farm Bureau Federation last summer I had the opportunity to write an editorial column on the topic of my choice. I think that editorial titled “Farmer and Ranchers Care About Animal Welfare” sticks with me because it gets to the root of why I’ve chosen the career path I have. I believe that American farmers and ranchers care greatly about their livestock and should be able to continue caring for livestock without unnecessary regulation. Here’s a preview of that editorial:

Farmers and ranchers might not consider themselves animal welfare activists, but no one cares more about the treatment of animals. Who else gets up in the middle of the night to check if any new calves were born? Who else wakes up at daybreak every morning, 365 days a year, to feed their livestock before enjoying their own breakfast?

The dedication and animal husbandry that has always been associated with agriculture is outstanding. Ranchers care about their livestock not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s their way of life. Healthy animals are the most productive, so it makes economic sense for producers to hold their animals’ wellbeing as a top priority. But, there’s a lot more to it than that. While agriculture is a business, livestock producers don’t pick their career path to get rich quick. They also love the rural lifestyle, the land and the animals. Click here to continue reading.

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Learn About Your Food

American Farm Bureau has released a new, consumer-focused Web site targeted at those removed from the farm but interested in learning more about agriculture. Visit www.fb.org/yourag to meet a farmer, learn the facts or test your farm IQ. Enjoy!

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Farm Women Care – Women’s Communication Boot Camp

It’s been almost a week since I posted last. I was busy most of last week with Farm Bureau’s Women’s Communication Boot Camp. I met a great group of women and enjoyed the public speaking and media training opportunities.
The participants traveled across the country to the camp in D.C., where we learned about how to be advocates for agriculture. It was refreshing to see the energy and compassion of these farm women.
The camp started with each of us giving a three minute speech on an area affecting agriculture. One woman shared about her concerns about the death tax making it difficult or even impossible for farms to transfer between generations. Another talked about concerns with regulation of manure under Superfund laws. Many spoke of the importance of rural development. Each spoke passionately about issues facing the industry that they love.
Through training and practice, we all presented on our chosen topic again at the end of the bootcamp. It’s amazing what training, and the confidence that comes with it, can do to improve a performance! I hope that everyone involved will now go share what they learned with people in their home states and put it to use in presentations and media interviews.
If you’re someone who cares about agriculture – or another topic in your community – I encourage you to speak up. Contact media for interviews and speak to groups. Also, look into training that will help you feel more comfortable in those situations. I’d recommend agri-women apply for the Farm Bureau’s Communication Boot Camp next summer.

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Farmers and Ranchers Care about Animal Welfare

The following is a Focus on Agriculture column I wrote for the American Farm Bureau:

Farmers and ranchers might not consider themselves animal welfare activists, but no one cares more about the treatment of animals. Who else gets up in the middle of the night to check if any new calves were born? Who else wakes up at daybreak every morning, 365 days a year, to feed their livestock before enjoying their own breakfast?

The dedication and animal husbandry that has always been associated with agriculture is outstanding. Ranchers care about their livestock not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s their way of life. Healthy animals are the most productive, so it makes economic sense for producers to hold their animals’ wellbeing as a top priority. But, there’s a lot more to it than that. While agriculture is a business, livestock producers don’t pick their career path to get rich quick. They also love the rural lifestyle, the land and the animals.

Farmers and ranchers attend workshops, read literature and seek veterinary advice to ensure the wellbeing and comfort of their animals. Agricultural organizations work with producers to continually provide professional development in this area. For example, the National Milk Producers Federation, along with Dairy Management Inc. and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, recently provided dairy farms across the country with barn posters listing, in English and Spanish, the 10 top considerations when culling and transporting dairy animals.

Industry organizations work with scientists to develop these handling recommendations. The United Egg Producers boasts more than 80 percent voluntary participation in its UEP certified animal welfare program based on recommendations from an independent scientific advisory committee, which included representatives from the Agriculture Department, scientists and academics.

Similarly, any regulations regarding animal production should be based on peer-reviewed scientific research that evaluates economic feasibility. Unfortunately, groups that oppose modern livestock production practices are notorious for employing emotional appeals to push animal welfare-related bills. Often their ultimate goal isn’t evident when campaigning for these bills. Too often, people hear their stories but are not informed how proposed regulations would negatively affect farmers and ranchers.

By raising healthy animals, farmers and ranchers produce healthy food for American families and others around the world. Unnecessary regulation – based on emotion instead of science – makes food production less efficient, ultimately leading to higher food prices for consumers. Adding unnecessary costs to U.S. production also will increase the amount of food imported from other countries that often have an inferior record on food safety and animal well-being.

As consumers and voters, it’s important to distinguish the real-life accounts of farmers and ranchers, who take great care in providing for their livestock, from the emotional appeals of people not actively involved in animal care. Look for information provided by animal scientists and veterinarians. Most importantly, listen to producers’ stories. They’re the ones closest to the farm or ranch, and their daily care of their livestock and poultry proves animal welfare and providing safe, healthy food is always on their minds.

A Colorado native and graduate of Kansas State University, Chelsea Good is a public relations intern at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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Filed under Advocacy, American Farm Bureau, Animal Welfare