Yesterday, I blogged about flying from my sweet spot in rural South Dakota to the Big Apple, and today, I’m going to write about when a New York City girl visited a cattle ranch in Kansas. Rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe, through the support of the U.S. Farmer and Rancher Alliance (USFRA), opened up her home and ranch to a consumer from the big city, who asked some tough questions about the beef business. Her answers were featured on the daytime television show, Anderson Live, last week.
In case you missed the segment, you can watch it here.
Of the segment, Lyons-Blythe writes on her blog, “Recently, I had the opportunity to host a young lady from New York City on my ranch to answer her questions about how beef is raised. I jumped at the chance to directly connect with a member of the audience I try to reach. This all came about through a partnership that the USFRA has with the Anderson Live talk show. The show offers viewers the opportunity to submit questions about how food is raised and a winner is selected. That viewer, along with a camera crew, is taken to a farm or ranch where they have the opportunity to ask their questions face-to-face and see firsthand how their food is raised.
“The recent viewer winner was Rebecca from New York City who wanted to know about the safety of beef in the grocery store and how and why antibiotics and hormones are used to raise beef. She arrived at my ranch on a cold, early winter morning and we talked about how the day would be organized and what she was going to be able to see on my Kansas ranch. When we stepped out of the pickup truck, with the cameras running, Rebecca started off right away! Answering questions involves listening as much as talking.
Lyons-Blythe recapped that Rebecca asked questions such as:
"Do you use antibiotics on your ranch?"
"How and why do you use hormones?"
"What do your cattle eat?"
"What kind of beef do you feed your family?"
"What should I look for in the grocery store meat case?"
Lyons-Blythe added, “Wow! She didn't pull any punches! But, what a great opportunity to talk with her about the safety of beef in the grocery store. We talked about how we do use antibiotics occasionally to treat bacterial infections in cattle, but it does not make sense to feed it every day. I was able to explain about the hormone implants that are used in cattle in a feedyard. A tiny pellet the size of a grain of wheat (just larger than a grain of rice) is put under the skin in the ear of the animal that releases a low level of hormones to promote growth, thus making more meat/animal. There are hormones in everything that lives, including animals, plants, humans...everything. The increased amount of hormones through the implanted pellet is literally miniscule -- way less than many other everyday foods.”
This is an outstanding example of "agvocacy" in action, where rural folks are making an effort to reach out to their urban counterparts. A big thank you to USFRA, Lyons-Blythe and Anderson Cooper for making this happen.
What did you think of this segment? How can we get more airtime on mainstream media?