Transparency in Food

Today I should have been in Chicago attending the Food Dialogues discussion regarding transparency in food.  I wasn’t able to attend because we are still trying to plant beans on our farm and we have hay that is ready to be mowed.  We were also selling calves today so there was a lot going on at our farm. Kevin couldn’t handle it all alone so I stayed back to tend to my responsibilities on the farm.

I did manage to sneak away for about an hour (while Kevin was hauling calves to market) to listen to the Food Dialogues discussion on my cell phone.  I wasn’t able to hear it all but what I did hear was excellent.  (I plan to listen to the entire discussion later; you can listen too by clicking here.) I know two of the farmers who were on the panel, Will Gilmer & Bo Stone.  Will & Bo represent USFRA as two of the Faces of Farming & Ranching.  Will & Bo did a great job of respecting all methods of farming and explaining why they choose to farm using the methods they do.

One member of the audience pointed out that choice is a great thing when it comes to food, but we shouldn’t portray one method of farming as the right way or the only way when talking about choice.  This audience member said many times when he goes to a Farmer’s Market he hears farmers putting down other farmers to sell their product and this concerned and confused the audience member. He said if choice was a good thing, why were farmers putting down other farmers for their choices.  What a great question.  I have always said diversity in agriculture is a great thing and every farm and farm family is different and that is ok.  There is no wrong or right way to farm.

I did listen long enough to hear one panelist quoting an Australian study regarding hogs being fed GMO corn and stomach inflammation being increased in the hogs due to the GMO corn.   I was disappointed that the panelist didn’t disclose that this study is being questioned by numerous scientists and that the results weren’t conclusive.  It’s information like this that confuses and scares consumers.   This same study also found that the hogs fed the GMO corn were less likely to develop heart abnormalities or liver problems.

I can’t wait to listen to the beginning of the discussion because I tuned in late.  Bo Stone’s closing statement really hit home for me because it mirrored what is in my heart and Kevin’s heart when it comes to farming.  Bo said, “Farming isn’t what I do, it’s who I am.”  Well said Bo!  If you are curious about how food is produced, please take the time to watch this discussion online.  Maybe some of your questions will be answered.

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About Chris Chinn

My husband, Kevin, and I are 5th generation farmers. We live on our family hog farm in Missouri with our two children. Our dream is that our children will have the opportunity be the 6th generation of farmers in our family.
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6 Responses to Transparency in Food

  1. Great quote! Transparency all around would be good for the consumer. I’ll happily share what we do on our farm. Wish they would share where and how they get their scary information!

  2. Dianne Bettin says:

    Great Blog Chris! I agree and support choices in food for everyone but we shouldn’t require other people to follow our choices. As part of our Minnesota Ag and Rural Leadership Program I had an opportunity to listen to Dr. Brian Buhr and can relate to a quote of his that fits this situation. Dr. Buhr said that we have to be careful that “some people’s preferences don’t become everyone’s reality”. Not everyone wants to pay or can afford some people’s preferences!

  3. Nuttygrass says:

    Great post Chris…but I do believe that there are right and wrong ways to farm, I think that farmers do have the power to hurt the land and take advantage of what their role is here. But the point is that farmers by in large understand that, respect that, and definitely take their role as stewards of the land very seriously. Like Bo said, farming isn’t what we do, it’s who we are. I think that it’s important to make sure that consumers know that we understand that we have that much power and that we don’t take it for granted. No matter what kind of farmer you are, conventional or organic, your ways of producing food has changed dramatically over the decades. That’s because we are always learning, and always working towards doing what we do the best that we can, not just for ourselves, but for the land, environment, and all those people we feed. There is truly more than one way to skin a cat and if you farm with the goal of protecting the land while at the same time producing healthy food & fiber…I think we’re all on the right track! Hope all is going well at your place Chris 🙂

    • Chris Chinn says:

      Your right, if a farmer isn’t caring for the land that is wrong. I should have worded that differently. I just meant organic and conventional were both acceptable ways of farming. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

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