An open letter to consumers: 5 things farmers want you to know
Dear Texas Consumer,
As a farmer, I have a passion for growing things. I take enormous pride in providing your family the necessities of life—not only the food that nurtures them but the fiber that protects them from the sun, cold, wind and rain.
I wonder why many hold my profession in disregard. I see and hear it every day on the Internet, television and newspapers—industrial agriculture, factory farming, inhumane treatment of livestock—words that paint me as uncaring and unfeeling.
Maybe that’s my fault. I’d rather tend to my crops and livestock than talk. And when I do talk, I’ve lectured you about how what I do is based on science. I’ve had the attitude that because I’m a farmer and rancher, when it comes to food, I know best. I’ve told you that food is safe and affordable and abundant and that you should feel lucky you live in a country where farmers and ranchers are so productive and efficient.
I need to change my focus. I need to talk with you—instead of at you—because I have finally realized you have very real concerns about the food you provide your families. Because I grow that food, we need to have a conversation. I hope we get a chance to know each other. I’d like to share with you some things I feel passionate about…
- I am a family farmer. I am not some faceless company that grows your food with reckless disregard for anything but profit. My family has farmed the same land for generations. I hope my children and grandchildren choose this way of life as well.
- The environment is important. I cannot farm without the precious gifts of land and water. I must farm with care and caution and the practices I use must be sustainable—so the land will provide indefinitely and the water will be safe for my family and yours.
- Food is all about choices. Some consumers choose organic. Others prefer food that is locally grown. Most would rather buy their food off the grocery store shelves. That’s all okay. There is a farmer out there who is committed to ensuring your choice is fulfilled in a safe and responsible manner.
- Inhumane treatment of livestock is not an option. I assure you my livestock are humanely treated, are well fed and watered, and are looked after when sick. Proper care and nutrition—besides being the right thing to do—keep my livestock productive. My income—and your choices at the meat counter—depend on it.
- Farming is my job. I take my job seriously. A profitable farm ensures my children are well fed, clothed and enjoy the same opportunities as their friends in town.
I know you have a number of concerns about the food you eat. I want you to know that I share those concerns. I have a family, too.
Can we start a conversation?
A Texas farmer
Editor’s Note: Check out the top 5 concerns consumers have with farmers in Texas Farm Bureau’s other blog, Texas Agriculture Talks.