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Opinion: The Freedom of Not Having to Farm

We take our kids to school. Go to work. Maybe stop by the grocery store on the way home. Pick up supper or a few things for the family.

It’s our routine, one we’ve settled into nicely. And it’s because we don’t have to think about our food.

Just like U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently said: “Every one of us that’s not a farmer is not a farmer because we have farmers.”

That’s a lot of “farmer” in one sentence. And the powerful statement makes sense.

There aren’t many farmers among us. Less than two percent, as a matter of fact. Even more telling, 85 percent of what’s grown in our country is produced by less than one-tenth of one percent of our population.

Vilsack is right. We delegate the responsibility of feeding our families to a small percentage of this country. It’s an incredible freedom that we often take for granted.

Something’s happening, though, in this current age of mistrust.

Some folks are a little unsure about the actual practices of farming. That’s because we’re two, three and sometimes four generations removed from the farm or ranch. And getting further away every day.

But they still trust the farmer. Surveys continue to point to that fact.

The efficiencies of U.S. agriculture have given us a luxury. We don’t have to grow our own food. Someone else can. And does so safely. That’s a freedom we all should cherish.

The challenge for farmers and ranchers is finding ways to communicate their story to those distanced from the farm. Transparency is a must. Consumers demand it. Farmers are eager to share it.

And trust will grow with those relationships. We must trust the practices and tools of agriculture. Farming methods may vary, but the result is the same: Safe, affordable and abundant food, fiber and fuel.

The freedom of not having to farm is remarkable.

Author: Gary Joiner – Texas Table Top

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