Monday, July 19, 2010

But I'm not touching you!!!

Anyone else out there have a little brother/sister that used to play that game? They'd hold their finger half an inch from your face and keep repeating "I'm not touching you!" At some point, the story always ended the same; you'd get sick of it, and smack them upside the head, sending them screaming to mom and, at least in my parents house, giving yourself a date with the wooden spoon right across the backside for hitting your brother. Seems we could have moved past this, doesn't it? I thought so to...until today.

So, let me bring you up to speed, in case you've missed all the high-school drama that goes on in my little online world. A few months back, a group of farmers & ranchers from across the US came together and formed a new group, known as The AgChat Foundation. Now, the purpose of the foundation (I'm not on it, I'm just surmising here) is to educate and empower "AgVocates", farmers and ranchers who talk about modern agriculture with folks and help answer questions and dispel myths. Anyways, this group is putting together a workshop of sorts next month to teach people how to be better AgVocates. And surprise, surprise, it's filled mostly (from what I can surmise) with people who come from what I would call "mainstream" agriculture; Conventional farmers for some of you.

So apparently, there are those who are upset because they are being "excluded" from the party, in their mind at least, due to their views on modern ag. Now, I highly doubt they are, (again, I'm not part of the selection. 10,000 foot view here) and from what interaction I've had with members of the Foundation they WELCOME all types of farmers and ranchers to join them in productive dialogue about agriculture. Remember that word, productive.

Now, here's where my beef begins. I'm beginning to feel like the big brother who has a younger one trying to push my buttons. Am I open to a conversation about issues like sustainability (whatever that is), organics, pesticide usage, and land preservation? Sure I am. As Dale Carnegie says, "Let's examine the facts". No problem. But when you come out of the gate swinging and ask me how I sleep at night knowing I am ruining the environment, I get a little defensive.

So here's the point. A group that I will, quite honestly, call "fringe agriculture" wants to drag us back to 40 acres and a mule. They attack me and my way of life in blogs, on YouTube, in the media, and in the movies. But as soon as my group, modern ag, steps up and swings back, they go crying to mommy about how they can't come into the tree house.

Time to grow up folks. We will all have a differnt opinion, and that is what makes America great. But, start respecting mine, before demanding I respect yours.


  1. The AgChat Foundation did not delineate between what "type of farmer" applied. From what I understand farmers who applied were accepted. And I've seen a few blog posts by people who say they are small-scale farmers or use alternative methods. More farmers speaking up is all good. Here are two posts I knew how to find quickly. You may find them interesting, I sure did.

  2. Thanks for the post, JP. You and I both know what and whom I'm speaking of.