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Getting Real About the High Cost of Food

a_wfood_2_0831.jpg If you haven't read the corresponding TIME article that goes with today's headline, Getting Real About the High Cost of Food, then you are in for a real headache. TIME Magazine decided to give its two cents on our nation's food supply, blaming farmers and ranchers for sins such as: environmental destruction, obesity, antibiotic resistance and animal abuse. The author of said article, Bryan Walsh, did grant that America's farmers and ranchers can efficiently and affordably feed our growing world; however, he didn't seem too worried about the millions of people that go hungry every night. Quite frankly, this article is full of outright lies about the agriculture industry, and after you read it, I'm certain you will agree.

The article opens like this: "Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009."

It's been said that the only people that complain about their food are the ones with full bellies, and I think that is definitely the case of many of our nation's consumers, including this journalist. I encourage you to read this article and work to correct the false statements presented. To counter this attempt to spread misinformation about the beef industry, cattle producers should urge the public to find information refuting these types of claims at websites such as or BeefIt'sWhat' As an industry, we can't stand by while urban journalists tell our story for us. The Beef Checkoff Program has already worked hard to balance out this article. Check out what they have been up to, here.

BEEF Daily Quick Fact: One cowhide can produce enough leather to make 20 footballs or 18 soccer balls or 18 volleyballs or 12 basketballs.