You can still trust the supply of food
The Kansas City Star
In reviewing The Kansas City Star series “Beef’s Raw Edges,” I was disappointed in what seems to be an age-old exercise of taking an initial position of negativity against the beef industry, and then attempting to appear to show some semblance of balance by laboriously working back with a token note here or there that may refute the original premise.
It is clear that consumers want to know more about where their food comes from, and we welcome those questions, but it can be hard to sort out accurate information.
With few exceptions, for every time the article mentioned that the industry provided “sponsored” science, what was left out was that “science” given by the other side was from a group with a clear and well-known agenda against the agriculture industry.
This concerns me.
More importantly, what is a consumer to do?
There are some options.
First, we can begin with common sense.
The same beef produced by the farmers and ranchers and making its way to the grocery shelves is the same beef those farmers and ranchers feed their families.
There is not a mom or dad farmer who would put their own children at short-term or long-term risk, not to mention the pride each producer takes in providing food and fiber for a growing number of consumers who depend on what they do every day.
Farmers and ranchers also must preserve the integrity of what they do because in the vast majority of cases, they want to pass on the operation to the next generation.
As farmers and ranchers learn more about what consumers want to know, Kansas Farm Bureau has joined a wide-ranging group of organizations coming together to form the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
For the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to open the dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food — while being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for our animals, and maintaining strong businesses and communities.
For answers to some of the most asked questions, including antibiotic use and much more, please go to http://www.fooddialogues.com/foodsourcewww.fooddialogues.com/foodsource.
You will find a host of answers, and a way to ask more questions. Browse the site, find more about the questions you have, and listen to the experts from inside and outside the industry. Also, take time to look at the “food dialogues” conversations held around the country.
These are important conversations with people on all sides of an issue, with real questions and real answers.
You’ll find honest dialogue, and learn why many of the practices you read about in the newspaper story are in place, and why you can trust the food you eat.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper is also doing segments of “Anderson Live” on the food you eat. He recently sent a viewer to a farm in Kansas. You can see more at http://www.andersoncooper.com/page/usfrawww.andersoncooper.com/page/usfra .
Is any system perfect?
No, but farmers and ranchers on the front lines are learning everything possible to continually improve what they do, to honor their commitment to the consumer and be dedicated stewards of our land, water and animals.
Steve Baccus is president of the Kansas Farm Bureau. He lives in Manhattan.