My family eats GMO’s.
Not exclusively or anything like that, but they are a part of our diet. We typically don’t buy organic, cage free, grass fed or locally grown unless locally grown happens to be in season or by chance if a young person is raising animals or produce as part of a school project or in an effort to pay for school, etc. Meat and Dairy are also essential parts of our everyday diet.
Let the pearl clutching commence.
Now, much of what I read about, listen to or watch in some form of media about production agriculture from main stream influencers and Hollywood types is inaccurate at best and slanderous at worst. In terms of what eating healthy really means and modern-day food production’s overall impact on our planet much of what is projected is a false narrative, ESPECIALLY when compared to other GHG’s (greenhouse gases) produced by humans. The fact of the matter is many of the folks communicating to the consumer about food and farming have an agenda. More often than not, an entity is paying them through some form of sponsorship for their outward agreement with that entity’s platform. These entities drive an agenda that promotes how they see the world should work and consequently how anything that doesn’t fit their narrative negatively impacts the planet.
I’m not asking you to change your food choices based on my opinion. No one is paying me to give you my advice or point of view. My family has a small agribusiness in the U.S. Midwest and yes, we are a tiny part of modern-day agriculture. That said, if everyone who reads this piece decided to only buy organic, locally grown, plant-based food for the rest of their lives, it wouldn’t impact my business directly because the scale is so minuscule, it’s immeasurable. Also, before the detractors say I’m trying to help out my industry as a whole, they first need to check my social media and understand I do as much to piss off people who agree with me as I do to support them and secondly I’m super competitive with my family’s little business and have zero interest in helping any competitor with their problems even if we do have the same ultimate goal.
Back to topic.
The perception that is portrayed to many families when making food choices is that somehow the family farm is dying and all of it has gone corporate. This simply isn’t true. Now, if your idea of a family farm is 2 kids waking up every morning at 4 a.m. to go milk 3 cows, “ma” ringing the dinner bell for lunch and supper time, while only dad does the mechanical labor in the fields, then yes the family farm as you believe it to be, doesn’t exist today. Moreover, it’s probably never existed in your lifetime. So put the children’s books down and let’s put our grownup pants on, shall we?
Farmers and Ranchers today are highly specialized experts at bringing their end product to market in the most efficient and productive manners possible. The regulations are too numerous to count, farm safety and animal welfare are a top priority, and producing a safe, clean, consumable product are the end result. What the detractors don’t like, in my humble opinion, is the spirit, self-reliance, will, and fortitude it takes to be willing to risk an entire family legacy and livelihood in an effort to make a living. And ultimately, they do not have the power over and can’t influence those individuals with their agenda.
When I talk to my kids about the food we choose to eat and why, it’s much like anything else I share with them. I am a conduit of information and guidance…
…also the short order cook in this instance…
…and in the end, I want them to be responsible enough to gather information, as unbiased and unfiltered as possible, to make their own decisions about what is right for them. If one of them chooses to be vegetarian or only buy organic, I want them to make those decisions on their own terms. I want my children to rationalize, reason and use logic to decide for themselves what is right for them and their future families.
Most importantly I want them to know I don’t have to agree with their decisions for me to give my love and approval. The hope would be that unconditional love and acceptance could spawn the confidence to not seek approval from others in a sense of needing to belong, so they don’t believe in or not believe in things just because they like or dislike the persons delivering the message.
So, make your food choices based on YOUR likes and dislikes. Be mindful to your own self. Know that regardless of what food choices you make, every effort is being made in every way to minimize environmental impact, continue to improve food safety, and ultimately deliver a product to your home that you can feel confident and good about.
Seriously though, GMO corn on the cob is spectacular with a 12oz ribeye and a tall glass of milk!
Conrad Smith is an Ag Retail Business Owner & Employee in Illinois with his family. He is a former farmer and the proud father of 2 children. Follow him on Twitter @SmithAgConrad.