Maintaining Choices

When it comes to our food supply there is little more personal decision than choosing the food that you put on your table. It’s something that most farmers take seriously to produce a clean, safe, healthy product. There are others who seek their place in the country to grow their own food, perhaps in a much different manner than larger professional farmers and ranchers do. There are things you can do with 5-6 pigs or cows that simply don’t work for time or other reasons with several hundred.

To make a living farmers and ranchers must deal with volume. A farmer ships 400 pigs to market and that’s his payday – there won’t be a weekly check like many Americans get from their job. If hogs are bring 55cents/pound and you’re shipping 250 pound hogs – how long can you live on $687.50? Yet people expect farmers to.

On the other hand for another farmer five hogs might bring more than that direct marketed because of extra time. That’s a choice – a management decision. For another person raising their own meat, putting 2 in the freezer and selling the other 3 they’re happy to cover expenses and have a little extra. All of these are different decisions with different goals and expectations. None are “wrong”!

Many are too quick to cut off those who seem to disagree – they assume that choice supports “big ag” by whatever definition that is. (No one’s taken a stab at it!) Some want choices but only when people choose what THEY see as the best choice. They get downright insulting if someone says diluted isn’t enough to claim there’s no (whatever) in a product. And on the other hand there’s those who want consumers to choose but insult when they choose the cheapest they can afford because it’s processed. Most food IS processed! You can process it at home or pay to have it processed for you but be it cut, precooked,etc it is processed. 

Sometimes communication is difficult. And without it maintaining choices is hard because there isn’t a chance to get the information needed to make a choice. Here’s to farmers, consumers, ranchers, homesteaders, those with a dozen hens and those who are only familiar with cattle as a burger on their plate…here’s to choices!

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