I often feel like the messenger of bad news as I'm constantly blogging about the activities of animal rights activists, the articles written about dodgy food studies, or the latest documentary that aims to make ranchers look like the bad guys. Without a doubt, these headlines can get to be a little overwhelming, especially if you're like me and want to take immediate action against these issues. However, to end this week's blog entries, I thought I would focus on the positive and fill you in on a few small victories for agriculture.
Kudos to Ag in the Classroom! Earlier this week, 212 fourth graders spent a day learning about agriculture at the Davison County 4-H Grounds in my hometown. Ag in the Classroom's main goal is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies. Individuals representing farm organizations, agribusiness, education and government carry out the program in each state, according to the states’ needs and interests. The event in Mitchell taught students about hogs, cattle, horses, dairy cattle, honeybees, electricity, farm safety and topsoil conservation. Even though we live in a farming community, for many of these students, this was their first exposure to food production.
Cheers to SDSU's Little International this weekend! Little "I" is the largest two-day livestock exposition ran completely by students, for students. I'm a member of the executive team hosting the event, and I'm excited to see the participants in the livestock shows and judging competitions. This year's theme is all about building the future of the agriculture industry, and I'm proud to be surrounded by some of the best and brightest future leaders in food production.
My praise goes to Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel's television show, Dirty Jobs. In this video, Rowe explains his experiences of castrating lambs using HSUS's advice vs. the practice of a sheep farmer. As he realizes that farmers use certain management practices with the health of the animal in mind, he begins to wonder if maybe PETA and HSUS have it all wrong. He theorizes about this country's war against work, and he gives praise to hard workers that do the jobs others couldn't dream of doing. If you have 20 minutes to spare, I encourage you to sit down and watch this video. (Trust me, it's worth the 20 minutes!) I found it incredibly interesting and thought provoking. Check it out!
Finally, I'm thankful for friends and colleagues like all of you. It seems so long ago that I typed my first blog entry on the BEEF Daily Blog, and we have come so far together. I have been privileged to meet so many of you in the last couple of months, and I have learned so much from our conversations and debates. This forum at BEEF Magazine is a valuable tool to stay connected. Thanks for being a part of it!