Production Ag: Can We Work Together?

Here is the deal. I strongly disagree with bashing competing sectors of Agriculture Production for one’s benefit. I continually see this by people using labels of grain vs grass fed, big ag vs family farm, organic vs conventional. Many tend to use words like “inhumane” to scare people. Because of this constant bashing, consumers shiver at the mention of hormones, antibiotics, and grain-fed. Truth is we are all in the business of feeding people. We all work hard to fit different niche markets and this constant bickering is scaring consumers of food safety as a whole.

This video is a prime example of what I am talking about. Take note the how the words inhumane and hormones are used and how the journalist and person being interviewed describe the situation in a way that the audience will be scared into believing in their product.

This is where I need your help. How can we, food producers as a whole, work together to stop criticizing competing production methods and still work to fit our niche markets? The constant bashing and bickering of our competitors is not getting us far in the scheme of things. We are in the business of providing a safe food supply for a global market and we all can find our place in these markets.

So help me find a solution to this problem. How can we work together for the better of all food producers? How can we promote grass-fed beef without dishing conventional, grain-fed beef and stop the lies, distorted truth, and add accountability to our current production methods?

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6 Comments

  1. Why would she allow this story to run? Why would any beef producer be so selfish that they ruin the image of beef production as a whole to sell a few more pounds of her own, very expensive, beef? That just makes me sick. I guess she doesn’t understand that we are the minority, there are few of us and many who don’t understand animal agriculture. We are going to have enough trouble fighting this fight together we most certainly can’t do it alone, or as individual producers. The fact that she allowed that news channel to associate her operation and farm name with the video propaganda also in the clip just breaks my heart. What a selfish, and disconnected way of thinking about our industry. We have got to be in this together, each of us from the cowboy to the butcher working together to bring quality products to the consumer. I think maybe we forget that the consumer is our source of revenue, I am not sure that consumers are even going to buy her beef after seeing the way those Holstein cows were treated in the clip, just saying… she may have limited her own demand while trying to limit others. Karma.

  2. For starters, this video (the one in the background) is old and aired on every major news network across the US. Its also the reason for my regulation changes w/respect to USDA slaughtering & processing of beef.

    With that said, this is what happens when news media doesn’t know who to contact to get their local story. Cattle farmers should never be interviewed in respect to health, nutrition, or safety of beef products. This should be left to those who do this work as a profession and understand the safety aspects of beef slaughter & processing. IMO, this should be a multi hurdle interview with local meat extension specialists, local USDA inspected slaughterhouses, and perhaps local dieticians or nutritionists.

    I say local because this was a local news station looking for a local story that local folks could relate too. In short, this beef farmer obviously doesn’t know what she is talking about. She likely did not have evil intentions of bringing down and industry. She just doesn’t know any better.

    How to fix it? Make sure local media is aware of professional contacts mentioned above who live this profession on a daily basis and are better skilled & experienced to answer these questions.

    1. Well said Amy. What can we do to make sure local media utilize contacts for professionals in their area? Should we just send them a list? What can we do to better educate producers on how to handle media contacts and interviews? Any resources available? Producers shouldn’t shy away from all media relations because sometimes the local producer is who audiences will connect with best compared to industry professionals.

  3. To add to this conversation. I am a member of the Iowa Farm Bureau Speaker Corps. Not sure if other states have similar programs. The IFBF’s program helps farmers learn about how the media works and how to respond to agricultural media stories. It also encourages farmers to be proactive in contacting the media, so that when an issue such as this arises, they will know who to call. An ounce o prevention is worth a pound of cure!! I would encourage producers to turn to their state’s Farm Bureau for resources.

  4. She may not have been the best person to be doing this interview, but she also is not responsible for the way the interview was aired. This is a great demonstration of how the media can change the whole context of the interview with editing and adding background clips NOT associated with the interview. I’d bet this vet had a cow if she saw the finished “product.”

  5. I’m confused, how could both beef products be 10% fat then the next testing one has less fat… testing is highly suspect.

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