Yesterday, I overheard…hmmmm…over-read?…What would you call it if you caught a tweet that wasn’t directed TO you, but was about you? Well, anyway, that happened.
Someone claimed that a majority of farmers/ranchers involved in social media are “industrial ag.” (Particularly those that have ever participated in a Tuesday-night Twitter chat called #agchat.) I took offense to that. I’ve participated in several of these “chats,” where questions are asked and answered. No one claims to be an expert, no one claims to have all the answers, it’s just a discussion. The point is to connect the consumer to the producer. Sounds great, right?
Well, apparently someone off in cyber-world doesn’t want this conversation to take place. Perhaps it’s someone who enjoys causing trouble, or someone who profits from discontent. But when you accuse me and my friends of being something we’re not, you better back up your accusations with specific definitions, numbers, acres, parameters, etc.
I asked this particular person what “industrial ag” meant. And of course, received no response. Apparently throwing out terms and accusations is enough. Planting seeds of doubt seems to be the game, while we’re all busy planting real seeds…you know, the kind that feed the people who question our motives.
So, I’ve decided to delve into the definition of industrial ag, and see if I can come up with my own answers. I know quite a few people who have participated in the #agchat conversation on Twitter, and they have operations very similar to mine. So let’s get started:
Industrial – definition –
- having the nature of or characterized by industries
- of, connected with, or resulting from industries
- working in industries
- of or concerned with people working in industries
- for use by industries: said of products
- a stock, bond, etc. of an industrial corporation or enterprise: usually used in pl.
- Rare a person working in industry
- a form of dance music characterized by pulsating rhythms, fragmented vocal lines, and distorted electronic sounds including urban sound effects
OK, so the definition doesn’t tell me much. I mean, according to the definition, anyone involved in agriculture is industrial…because we’re involved in the industry. But I don’t think that’s the connotation that was shot for when the comment was made. So let’s look at the operation:
Perhaps our state-of-the-art, vintage methods of combining our crops make us industrial?
Or maybe it was the silver-spoon I was raised with?
Or maybe it’s our hired men…there are four of them, you know. They don’t get paid much, but their benefits are extraordinary!
Maybe it’s our specialized equipment we use?
Or the land we farm?
But I’m guessing it’s none of these things. I’m guessing that the reason people are casting doubts on our industry, and those of us doing what we can to protect and promote this way of life that we love, is that we’re cutting into their bottom line. Casting doubt on agriculture and spreading fear and lies about food, fuel and fiber is big business. And if we’re putting some of those questions and fears to rest, then we’re putting some people out of business.
I guess I might get a little cranky about that too.
If YOU have any questions about your food, fuel or fiber, feel free to ask! I’ll do what I can to answer, show you how we do it, explain why, whatever it may be. And if I can’t answer, I have friends across the world, involved in every aspect of agriculture, that are more than willing to do the same.
We have an industrial-sized love for agriculture…and we LOVE to share!