Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tired Of It

     Tired of it. Yes, I am tired of it. I am tired of hearing about it. I am tired of seeing it. I am tired of watching it. Yes, I am tired of it. It is in blogs, in news articles, on websites, and pushed on social media. It has been brought up for the past several years. I am tired of hearing about industrial farming!

Never get tired of views like this! 
     This term seems to be common among those who disagree with the modern day practices of farming and ranching or simply those who just don't have the knowledge of what the 21st century farm looks like. It is guaranteed that if you google anything related to farming or food production that this term will pop up in an article, blog, or youtube video. Even some journalists will use this term in their articles about farming or food production. Heck, even some food companies and restaurants will use this term just to promote their products as a "better and safer" way of eating. This term is used by those who have little KNOWLEDGE or refuse to ACKNOWLEDGE the progress that has been made in the agriculture industry.

     So what is industrial farming? According to those that have "experience" in modern day agriculture, you know those pundits and bloggers, it is an evilness that lurks in our nation's farm and ranch country. It is the cause of creating frankenstein crops and animals, polluting the atmosphere and land, corporations controlling the farmer, and simply an industry that has no morals or values. They claim this is what makes up the majority of farm and ranch country. This is what they want people to believe is happening in today's agriculture industry. I will admit that they have done a pretty good job of painting this picture and creating this image of industrial farming. Some should consider writing a fictional book because they have done such a good job of painting a false image of today's farm and labeling it industrial farming. But the key word to all this is fictional. The things they create and spread is so far from the truth that it belongs in a comic book. Some of these people that consider themselves "experts" in agriculture and food production really need to become experts in authoring fictional books.

     I will admit that today's farming isn't what it was like 30 years ago. Agriculture today has made tremendous progress in science and technology that it can feed more people than ever before. Not only are we feeding more people and providing fuel and fiber at the same time, we are also doing all of this with fewer resources because of the science and technology used. The claim that modern day agriculture is creating frankenstein crops and animals is false. We aren't breeding cows so they can have the same qualities as a pig and corn plants that produce ears that look like fish (sorry had to put some sarcasm in there). What we are doing is using science and technology to raise animals and plants that can survive today's environment as well as be more efficient with the resources that we share with everyone, such as air, water, and land. Today's farms and ranches are more environmentally friendly than they have ever been before thanks to science and technology. Equipment doesn't emit the clouds of smoke like they did several years ago. Plants, due to genetic modification and breeding, are using less water, fertilizer, and pesticides compared to several years ago. The corporations that are "supposedly" controlling the farmer is false. Instead, these agribusinesses are giving farmers more tools and options for their individual family farm to be successful. Also, 97% of the farms and ranches in the country are family-owned. It is also safe to say that some of the best morals and values can be found in farm and ranch country. These folks are the nicest and most welcoming people you will ever meet. In times of tragedy, everyone comes together. In times of celebration, everyone comes together. These folks want to do things the right way for the good of their family, friends, neighbors, and everyone else. Yes, today's modern agriculture industry is different compared to how it was back when our granddads farmed, it is better, more efficient, more reliable, and continues to provide an abundant and safe food supply thanks to all the advancements that have been made.

The cows summer home! 
      So in my opinion, this "industrial farming" picture that has been painted by many is only fictional. Farming isn't the same as what it was 30 years ago, it is better. It is actually pretty amazing to see how the farmer has evolved from a person holding a pitchfork to now a person holding a smartphone to accomplish their work. The things a farmer and rancher can accomplish now days with fewer resources is pretty amazing. Like any business, the goal is to be profitable and to be profitable one must be efficient with what they have. In order for farms and ranches to survive today's economy and environment, they must be run like a business. If farmers and ranchers can't use the tools available to them to be more efficient in what they do, then it will be harder to maintain a family business. So agriculture must continue to make progress and continue to find ways to be more efficient with fewer resources that we share with all.

   So yes, I am tired of hearing about industrial farming and how bad modern day agriculture has become. I am tired of seeing all this fiction that gets spread about an industry that I love and am fortunate to be a part of. I am tired of seeing modern day agriculture get beaten up when all it is trying to do is provide for your family, my family, and your friends families. I look forward to the day I don't have to be tired of hearing the industrial farming term no more!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Life Is Change... Growth Is Optional

     "Life is change, growth is optional" is a quote from someone unknown, but one that I think has a lot of relevance in our lives. There is no doubt that life is change, whether we like it or not. Some changes we can control if we choose to while other changes are out of our hands, but we can handle how we encounter those changes and most importantly, grow from them. 

     I will be the first to admit that I am not always a fan of change. Sometimes change can be a good thing while other times change can make things more challenging or less appealing. I will admit there are times that I wish I could just freeze things and leave it how it is. Yet, I know that isn't how life works and eventually things will be different whether I like it or not. I constantly remind myself that change is all part of the journey of life and that life would be boring if there wasn't any change. Like William Feather said, "One way to get the most out of life is to look upon life as an adventure". Part of that adventure in life is change and learning how to overcome the challenges and difficulties that come with those changes. I can say that this is true in farming as there always seems to be some type of challenge that could end up changing what we do or what we planned. The same is true in life, we may plan on something happening but then life decides to change those plans and put us on a different path. If you are like me, you probably had your life planned out and then had your plans altered. 

     So life is full of change, so what? It happens, but the most important piece to this is how we handle and grow from those changes. Unlike change, growth doesn't have to happen if you choose to not let it. We are the ones that decide how to handle the outcomes of changes. When changes happen and we don't like them, we can either be bitter and negative or we can choose to take the change head on and grow from the experience. Sometimes we may look at change as being a bad thing when it could actually be beneficial to us and our lives. It can make us grow as individuals by pushing us outside of our comfort zones and making us do things we thought we could never do. When we choose to grow from the changes life deals us, we become better employees, friends, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, boyfriends and girlfriends, as well as husbands and wives. Growth from change doesn't necessarily change who we are, but can change our priorities in life and refocus our energy into more important things such as our faiths, families, and friends. 

   Yes, life is full of change and it is often out of our hands. Yet, we get to choose how we handle the changes that life deals us. The only one who can decide whether or not to grow is yourself. You're the one that holds the reins to that decision and the only one that can make it happen. So when life changes, be the one to decide to grow from that change. Be the one that decides to grow into the better person. You're the one that holds to the key to opening the door to growth, so choose to turn it! 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11   

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Don't Expect Perfect

     Have you ever caught yourself saying "this is perfect"? You probably have, and I know I have said it more than a few times before too. It is a common word that we use when it seems like we find the right job, item, relationship, home, or even life. The dictionary describes perfect as " having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be". However, I have to say I greatly dislike this word perfect because is there really anything in this life that is perfect?

     In my bible study this morning we talked about Exodus 3:14 as God tells Moses to go to the people of Israel in Egypt. As we continued our discussion, we ended up talking about the need for God in our lives and how God would fit into our lives if everything was perfect. I then really started to process the thought of "perfect" and having that perfect life. However, I realized that there is no perfect person, perfect job, perfect relationship, OR  perfect life. There are good people, good jobs, good relationships, and good lives but none of that equals perfect. If everything was perfect, what would there be to strive for? If everything was perfect, where would God fit into our lives? In today's world we strive to be perfect and to have the perfect life, job, relationship, and etc. When things don't seem "right" or "perfect", we end up doubting what we have and the things/people God has placed in our life. We start to think that what we have isn't good enough anymore and decide to give up because it isn't perfect. We tend to forget that great things take time and that nothing will ever be perfect 100% of the time. There will be great moments and there will also be challenging times. Now, some people have that luck of having things fall into place all at once, but out of the 7 billion people in this world there are very few that have that kind of luck. Even when it may seem like they have that kind of luck, sometimes we don't realize the other challenges they might be facing in their life.

     So what do we do when things aren't "perfect" in our life? Well, first stop expecting things to be perfect and start looking at the good things in your life. Stop looking at other people's lives and then comparing yours to theirs. Take a look at what God has blessed you with in your life. Embrace the people and the things that God has put in it. When things don't seem to be going right, don't give up! Identify the areas that need to be fixed, rebuilt, or completely overhauled. Self evaluate yourself and where you want your life to go, but also use God and his guidance. I always find it unfortunate to see people who have the potential to do great things but give up. They give up because it's not "perfect" or they let fear and doubts creep in. Sometimes the greatest things come when we throw out the idea of "perfect" and cross the bridge over our fears and doubts. Sometimes it just takes faith and God.

     So this word perfect..... yea it's just a word. It doesn't have any true meaning because nothing is actually perfect in this world. So don't expect perfect in your life unless your are striving to have a perfect relationship with God. That is the only thing that can be perfect in this world because God is the true definition of perfect!

"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect" - Matthew 5:48