Editorial from Sue McCrum, President of American Agri-Women – “A Force for Truth”
My email box was filling up. Comments were coming in. What was all the chatter about? Another attempt to influence what Americans think about agriculture – this time through a restaurant chain’s ad campaign. Here’s my view and it’s not an ad campaign. It comes from how I live my life every day. I’m part of a 5th generation potato and grain farm in Northern Maine. Our family farm dates back to 1886. And, I take it personally when misinformation misleads Americans about their food supply.
I am fortunate to have just spent the past 4 days in Washington, D.C., at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum. I represented American Agri-Women at the conference and met with others who know that 98% of the farms in the United States are family owned. My family and the generations before us have worked the same lands to help feed America and the world.
We go about our days, providing the most abundant, safe and affordable food this world has to offer. We do this with past knowledge and the use of proven sound scientific facts. When we rise in the morning to check on our crops and livestock, there is a sense of pride and excitement as that sun rises to greet us. We wave to our neighbors and those going by on the highway. We meet with those who work for us. We put our children on the bus, headed for school. Some of us wave goodbye as we head to off-farm jobs. We head down the road in winter and help plow snow out of a neighbor’s yard. We attend school board meetings and participate as members of the local town councils. We volunteer in Girl/Boy scouts, 4-H and any other program offered in our communities.
Our family-owned lands are shared with snowmobilers, hunters and fishermen during the different seasons of the year. And, yes, many a good citizen from our town comes to watch what we are doing on our farm throughout our different seasons. Our doors are wide open to visitors because we have pride in what we raise on our farm. We pay our taxes. We are good citizens.
Don’t be fooled by Hollywood productions or slick marketing campaigns that are aimed at an uninformed consumer. And, for us in agriculture, we need to guard against misinformation – attacks – that pit us against each other.
As Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has said, “Our value system here in the United States is fueled by farmers and ranchers with their good stewardship of rural lands which are passed on to the next generation.” We are the people who have fed the American people for generations. We have always been your “local food producers.”
America, you are SMARTER than an ad campaign! How fortunate that here in the U.S. we have an abundant and safe food supply. You are allowed to purchase whatever food you want. Let’s be grateful for that. I speak for thousands of women in agriculture and their families as I make this statement. “We live on our family farms. We eat what is grown here and drink the water.”
For real facts about agriculture and where your food comes from, I encourage you to visit Food Dialogues, http://www.fooddialogues.com/foodsource. And please join and my fellow American Agri-Women in being A Force for Truth about Agriculture, http://www.americanagriwomen.org.
Editor’s note: Well said, Sue. And the same goes for Canada. I particularly like her being a force FOR instead of AGAINST, remembering that other people’s truth may look different from our own. Our mission is to offer accurate information so consumers can make an informed decision – lead, not drive. Let’s put our energy onto the positive side.
Don’t forget to read the current issue of Agri Digest Online. Click beside the picture of the cover (above this blog if you are already on our website, at http://www.agridigest.com if you are on one of our social media sites).