Recently I attended the American Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. While we were there, Atlanta had one of it’s biggest snow storms on the record books. The interstates, airports and all public transportation shut down. The Governor declared a state of emergency and warned all residents to stay at home. The entire city shut down, except for the hotels that were housing all the farmers, ranchers and aggies who were there to enjoy the convention.
The city started to shut down on Sunday evening due to the snow. On Monday, we noticed there were limited options available for food but we were fortunate to find two meals that day. By Tuesday, food was getting scarce. Vending machines were empty, gift shops were out of drinks and snacks. Very few restaurants were able to serve customers because their food delivery trucks were not able to deliver their food orders. Some hotels were on the verge of running out of food, and a few did I was told. One of my fellow Missouri farmers enjoyed a lunch of a cookie and soda on Tuesday because that was his only option.
What a wake up call. We quickly saw what would happen if farmers and ranchers in the USA decided to call it quits and closed down their farms. We take for granted that when we walk into a store there will be food on the shelf. If we become dependent on a foreign country to supply America with food we could find ourselves in a much worse situation than we were in for a few days in Atlanta.
For instance, what if we were to rely upon a country for our food supply and they have a severe drought, or a natural disaster. Do you think they will worry about feeding their people first or the citizens of the United States?
Being snowed in at Atlanta drove home the reality for me that America’s farmers and ranchers play an important role in our nation’s food security. Burdensome regulations, like those being imposed by EPA, are driving agriculture to foreign countries each day. Farmers & Ranchers are the original environmentalists, it’s in our best interest to protect our farms & ranches so we can pass them onto the next generation. Sometimes, common sense needs to play a role in decision making. The ice storm in Atlanta was a perfect example of what could happen to our nation if we don’t protect agriculture. I only wish the members of Congress and the EPA administration could have been in those hotels with us to experience first hand how fast food can disappear in an emergency.