Holidays are over, and food was a special part of them. We should commend those who grow food for us, or raise it. We need to remember farmers and their commitment to feeding us, rather than dumping on them. Some people believe farmers are getting too big and “corporate,” based on what anti-livestock and anti-technology activists say. But that’s not true. Mechanization and technology does keeping reaching new heights, but that’s to take some of the load off farmers.
Researchers at the University of Guelph and elsewhere are helping create affordable technology to help keep production costs and food prices in check. It’s part of a drive toward precision farming, where little on the farm is left to chance or waste. For livestock, this includes breeding top animals with the best genetics for immunity, resulting in less veterinary care. For crops, researchers are finding ways to add traits that make plants more robust. Technology has always been an integral part of agriculture, and consumers need to hear more about farming from farmers.
Despite farmers’ significance to society, they are not as powerful a lobby group as they once were. That was underlined recently when activists won what’s become an unfortunate battleground involving pollinators and pesticides. Farmers need to control their own agendas, and need to speak out. One group I don’t have to convince to speak out is my agricultural communications students. They wrote a series of articles for farms.com over the holidays; check them out on the company’s website, or here, on my course syllabus.