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Ag is Really a Small World

It’s been way too long since I’ve written, so I feel I must send a big apology your way. Life at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association has been busy, busy, busy – for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes I feel if I had more time in the day, I could write more. Sadly, though, I have just 24 hours like the rest of you, so I have to make do.

I am writing this from 30,000 feet up – on a plane headed to Washington D.C. for the National Turkey Federation Leadership Conference. Minnesota has plenty of representation from our farmers and turkey companies, and we’re going to hit up Capitol Hill this week with a full slate of appointments with our congressional leaders to talk about GMO labeling, avian influenza, immigration, proposed changes to the organic rule for poultry/livestock production, and more.

In other words, it’s going to be a whirlwind.

What’s fun is that representatives from Minnesota’s corn and soybean organizations as well as Minnesota Farm Bureau will be in D.C., as well. That’s just the way the schedule worked, but it’s amazing how small a town like D.C. can feel when we run into Minnesota farmers and agribusinesses everywhere we go.

As I look out my plane window, I see a lot of farmland with small to medium-size towns and cities scattered throughout. It’s hard to believe, sometimes, that there can be so much animosity toward U.S. farmers and our food industry when I see such beautiful land filled with a variety of crops. Our food supply is the most abundant and safest in the world – and I know so many hardworking farmers who strive to make a living for their families each and every day.

The truth is, too often that animosity comes from within. Small farmers denigrating big farmers and vice versa. Organic and conventional farmers not getting along. Crop farmers seeking one thing and livestock and poultry farmers seeking another.

A trip to D.C., however, can put some of this into perspective. Surely we all want many of the same things. Surely we can work together on many initiatives for the betterment of the U.S. food supply and our farmers. A fair food labeling system based on sound science. Immigration policies that keep our nation safe but allow for food companies to find the workers they need. An animal disease prevention plan that keeps our animals safe and healthy. Production methods that are reasonable and don’t put animals at needless risk for either their health or general well-being. Policies that provide consumer choice for food products.

The devil is always in the details, though. I understand that.

Still, I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of gal. Sometimes, I wonder if the rest of the world is the opposite, and certainly we see so much division in many aspects of our lives these days. I remain hopeful and committed, though, to working together on behalf of our farmers and all of agriculture.

Won’t you join me?

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